A Ray of Hope for Cancer Patients

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Radiation therapy is vital for almost all the cancer patients but more than half of the cancer patients have tumors that are resistant to such therapy. The cause of resistance is the low oxygen level in the blood but researchers in San Francisco are developing a protein that can carry additional oxygen to the tumors and can be helpful in radiation therapy.

Tumors create hypoxic regions in the body and reduce the blood supply to those regions due to less oxygen. As a result, more cells are formed and they spread the cancer by travelling to various parts of the body.

The Startup named Omniox was given $3million fund from the National Research Institute (NCI) and is working in collaboration with NCI to form proteins that can be helpful in radiation therapy. The experiment will be performed on animals with cancer to see if proteins provide any positive results.

The research has been going on for more than 50 years to find a way to supply more oxygen to tumors and hypoxic regions. Patients have been forced to inhale more oxygen prior to therapy but it did not produce any positive results. This is the reason why hypoxic regions are difficult to treat and survive the therapy and form again once the treatment is finished.

The proteins that were previously used were based on hemoglobin. The experiment was not fruitful as globin protein reacted with nitric oxide present in the blood and protein was destroyed before it could reach the tumor. The new proteins are not based on hemoglobin and researches are positive that they can reach the hypoxic regions with oxygen and will be helpful in the radiation therapy of cancer patients.

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