HOW TECH REVOLUTIONIZING CANCER RESEARCH AND CARE
Cancer is a condition when a few of the body’s cells grow out of control and spread to other bodily regions. Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body.1
Cancerous tumors can move to remote regions of the body to generate new tumors. They can also invade surrounding tissues.1
Technology has fundamentally changed how we approach cancer research and care, resulting in important improvements in our knowledge of and ability to treat the illness. Technology is transforming the field of cancer research and care in ways that were previously unthinkable, from using big data and machine learning to create more effective medicines to developing cutting-edge instruments for early diagnosis.2,3
Thanks to a variety of technological advancements that have resulted in advancements in the ways we identify, visualize, comprehend, and treat cancer, what previously appeared unattainable in the field of cancer research is now a reality. Exploring and employing these technologies further may pave the way for accelerating the fight against this illness.2
- Artificial Intelligence in Cancer2,3
The imitation of human intellect by computers is referred to as AI.
AI entails teaching a machine to think, act, and learn. Large volumes of data may be easily analyzed with this technique, which is very useful in scientific studies. Creating digital twins of people also makes it possible to test out various treatment strategies on them without endangering the real patients. To customize patients’ radiation dosages, it is also utilized to evaluate imaging data and electronic health information. Even population-based cancer data is being swiftly analyzed with AI to calculate the likelihood of certain cancers. And these are simply the tip of the iceberg in terms of how AI may genuinely change the way cancer treatment is provided.
Applications of emerging AI in Oncology4
- Improving cancer screening and diagnosis
- Aiding the genomic characterization of tumors
- Accelerating drug discovery
- Improving cancer surveillance
- CRISPR revolutionizing gene editing2,5
Cancer is caused by changes in the DNA, hence removing cancer would require modifying the DNA. Scientists have been looking for a simple technique to reverse these alterations by modifying DNA since they have learned that the mutations in DNA cause cancer. Despite the fact that a number of gene editing techniques have been created over the years, none have actually matched the criteria for a rapid, simple, and affordable technology.5
CRISPR technology, which functions like a pair of scissors that can accurately remove, insert, or edit particular sections of DNA within cells, makes it feasible to change the genetic makeup of people. CRISPR is viewed by scientists as a game-changer for a number of reasons. It is entirely customizable, to start. It is more accurate than existing DNA-editing techniques and can essentially modify any DNA segment within the 3 billion letters of the human genome.2
Telehealth refers to the use of online information and communication tools to manage your health care and receive medical treatments from a distance. Computers and mobile gadgets like tablets and smartphones are examples of technologies. You might utilize this technology at home. Or, in remote places, a nurse or other healthcare provider might offer telehealth services out of a clinic or mobile van. The use of technology by your healthcare practitioner to enhance or support healthcare services is known as telehealth.6
Robotics is another way that technology is altering cancer treatment. Robotics technology is being employed in the treatment of cancer to enhance the accuracy and precision of surgical procedures, lowering the risk of complications and enhancing patient outcomes. Robots, for instance, are helping to provide radiation therapy, enabling more accurate targeting of cancer cells and lowering the chance of harm to healthy tissue. Additionally, minimally invasive surgical treatments, which are less intrusive, less painful for patients, and have a quicker recovery time, are carried out using robot technology.
Creating high-resolution images of the behavior of molecules to assist and guide cancer treatment
Cryo-EM is a method for examining the structures of biological objects, including cancer cells and their constituent elements. Cryo-EM has emerged as an essential tool in cancer research, and its use is projected to continue to expand as the method improves and becomes more generally available.
It aids in the understanding of the functioning of cancer and the development of novel cancer therapies. Cryo-EM is helpful because it provides extremely precise images of the structures it examines, enabling researchers to understand how molecules interact. Cryo-EM is a valuable tool for cancer research overall, and its application is anticipated to grow in the future.
- Infinium Assay2
The Infinium Assay is a test that aids in the examination of alterations in cancer cell DNA and gene expression. It can identify alterations in the way genes function and are regulated. Researchers can use this knowledge to better understand how cancer functions and create new therapies. A test is a useful tool for cancer researchers since it is quick, effective, and affordable.
Last but not least, technology is altering how we communicate about and obtain information about cancer. Patients and their families may now easily access a variety of information on cancer on the Internet, including details about therapies, support groups, and clinical trials. This has made it simpler for patients to choose their care in an educated manner and to get the support they need through what can be a trying and isolated experience. Additionally, social media websites and online discussion boards give patients a means to interact with people who are going through comparable situations, enabling them to exchange knowledge, offer support, and create communities.10
In conclusion, technology is fundamentally changing the way that cancer research and treatment are conducted. Technology is assisting in improving the lives of cancer patients and advancing the fight against this disease in a number of ways, including by using big data and machine learning to better understand the disease and develop more effective treatments as well as by enhancing early detection and patient care through cutting-edge tools and telemedicine. We may anticipate even more developments in the future with continuing research and development in this field, bringing us closer to a day when cancer is no longer a fatal disease but a curable and managed illness.
- What is cancer, Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/what-is-cancer last accessed on 4th February 2023.
- The Tech Revolutionizing Cancer Research and Care, available at: https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/nca50/stories/technologies-and-innovations last accessed on 4th February 2023.
- Hunter B, Hindocha S, Lee RW. The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Early Cancer Diagnosis. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Mar 16;14(6):1524
- Artificial Intelligence- opportunities in Cancer Research, Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/research/areas/diagnosis/artificial-intelligence Last accessed on 4th February 2023.
- How CRISPR Is Changing Cancer Research and Treatment, Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2020/crispr-cancer-research-treatment Last accessed on 4th February 2023.
- Telehealth: Technology meets health care available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/telehealth/art-20044878 last accessed on 4th February 2023.
- Telemedicine in cancer care, available at: https://ascopubs.org/doi/10.1200/EDBK_200141last accessed on 4th February 2023.
- Mohammadzadeh N, Safdari R. Robotic surgery in cancer care: opportunities and challenges. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(3):1081-3
- Cryo-Electron Microscopy in Cancer Research available at: https://www.thermofisher.com/blog/atomic-resolution/cryo-electron-microscopy-in-cancer-research/#:~:text=Scientists%20now%20use%20cryo%2DEM,to%20the%20fight%20against%20cancer. Last accessed on 4th February 2023.
- Clauser SB, Wagner EH, Aiello Bowles EJ, Tuzzio L, Greene SM. Improving modern cancer care through information technology. Am J Prev Med. 2011 May;40(5 Suppl 2):S198-207.