The first tongue cancer treatment to be developed using genetic engineering is a revolutionary treatment that could revolutionise the treatment of the disease.
Scientists from Imperial College London have developed a novel treatment that is able to kill the cancerous cells in the tongue that cause the disease and remove the toxic coating that surrounds them.
They hope the new therapy could save hundreds of thousands of lives around the world every year by reducing the risk of tongue cancer in as many as 2.2 million people.
Professor Andrew Trewin, the director of the National Institute for Health Research, said the treatment could offer a hope for millions of people suffering from tongue cancer.
“This is a fantastic achievement.
It shows the power of genetics and engineering and the fact that we have been able to develop a novel cancer treatment that has a novel approach to tackling it,” he said.”
I think it’s a fantastic development for the NHS and for the wider public and this is a really important development.”
Dr Trewins team had developed a method of destroying the cancer cells that form the protective coating that protects the tongue from damage by bacteria and viruses.
The new treatment uses a cocktail of chemicals to attack the cells in a way that destroys the protective cells.
This creates a space for the cancer to spread.
The scientists used the technique to treat an aggressive form of the cancer called glioblastoma multiforme, which is usually found in people over 50.
“In the early stages of the infection, when you are in a lot of pain and swelling, you might have some inflammation, but it’s usually less serious than other forms of cancer,” said Dr Trewint.
“We used the drug to suppress the inflammatory response to stop the spread of the tumour.”
But in the long-term it’s very difficult to stop that metastasis.
“If we could get rid of that, then you could see a reduction in the overall risk of dying.”
Trewins new treatment is the first time that the genetic engineering technique has been used to treat a disease.
The research is published in the journal Nature.