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Researchers at University of Tokyo have demonstrated promising new cancer treatment, they are using artificial DNA to target and kill cancer cells
- The Indian government will provide cervical cancer vaccines for girls aged between 9 and 14 years through schools.
- Researchers have recently designed a test that can distinguish between an HPV infection that will resolve itself.
- Raman spectroscopy, a scanning technique, is used to check for changes in the molecular makeup of cervical cells taken during a Pap smear test.
It is possible that cervical cancer could be the first cancer ever in the world to be eliminated, only if 90 per cent of girls are vaccinated, 70 per cent of women are screened and 90 per cent of women with cervical disease receive treatment on time.
Prevention of cervical cancer
For the prevention of cervical cancer, the Indian government will provide cervical cancer vaccines for girls aged between 9 and 14 years through schools. In fact, India’s first indigenously developed Human Papillomavirus (HPV) CERVAVAC vaccine is expected to be available by April 2023.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has granted market authorisation to the Serum Institute of India (SII) to manufacture the indigenous HPV vaccine, which will be a game changer. Besides, the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunization (NTAGI) has also recommended the introduction of the HPV Vaccine in the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) with a one-time catch-up for 9-14-year-old adolescent girls. This will be followed with a routine introduction at 9 years.
Again, pretty much like the COVID-19 vaccine, for registration, recording and reporting of vaccination numbers, the U-WIN App would be used. The available vaccine is intended to produce immunity to HPV types that cause about 90 per cent of cervical cancers.
Researchers have recently designed a test that can distinguish between an HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infection that will resolve itself and one which will become chronic and possibly lead to cancer. Raman spectroscopy, a scanning technique, is used to check for changes in the molecular makeup of cervical cells taken during a Pap smear test. In a multi-centre clinical trial with women at risk for cervical disease, the technology was able to detect cervical cancer up to two years earlier than conventional modalities, the published report reveals. Meanwhile, the commercial devices utilising these technologies are undergoing tests for US FDA approval.
Treatment for cervical cancer
At the University of Tokyo, researchers have demonstrated a promising new cancer treatment, wherein they are using artificial DNA to target and kill cancer cells. The completely new method has proved effective in lab tests against human cervical cancer. The team created a pair of chemically synthesised cancer-killing DNA, which connected to microRNA (miRNA) molecules when injected into cancer cells. Once connected to the miRNA, they joined together to form longer chains of DNA which triggered an immune response. The method that not only killed the abnormal cancer cells but also prevented further growth of cancerous tissue, is different from the conventional anticancer drug treatments. It is hoped to bring about a new era of drug development.
Role of artificial intelligence in cervical cancer
AI performs well in both computing and image analyses thereby helping clinicians in decision-making, reducing the workload of doctors and also the rate of misdiagnosis. In cervical cancer, AI has shown great promise in accurately diagnosing pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix both by means of digital colposcope-guided biopsies as well as automatic cell analysis of cervical smear tests. AI can automatically recognize CT & MRI images, extract features, learn classification, and process data using complex algorithms.
In the field of Radiation Oncology, AI is used for auto-segmentation – the process of contouring targets and organs at risk on CT planning images. A process that used to take a couple of hours can now be completed in a span of a few minutes. Adaptive Radiation Therapy which means changing the radiation treatment plan based on daily changes in patient anatomy due to gas in the bowels or urinary bladder filling or tumour movement is another area where AI is intensively helping cut down time spent in treating a patient. AI can help Radiation Oncologists devote more time to the patient by reducing the time spent on routine tasks.
(The author of the article is Dr T Sujit, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, American Oncology Institute, Coimbatore)
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