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Łódź. A Pole in an international team working on a groundbreaking method of lung cancer treatment

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A new method of treating malignant lung tumors is being tested, thanks to which inoperable tumors can be removed. – The method needs tests, but we are on the right track – says Dr. Michał Seweryn from the University of Lodz. He is a member of an international team that can help in the fight against cancer, which kills the most people in Poland every year.

Lung cancer is one of the most cunning and effective killers. Every year in Poland, about 20,000 patients die because of them. – The problem is that lung cancer does not show any symptoms for a long time. When they appear, the patient is often in such a bad condition that they do not qualify for life-saving surgery. This needs to be changed – emphasizes Dr. Michał Seweryn, head of the Center for Analysis, Modeling and Computational Sciences at the University of Lodz. A member of an international team that is working on a new way to fight lung cancer.

READ: Poles die most often of this cancer. Both women and men.

Know your enemy

Scientists from 13 research centers in USA, under the direction of the Ohio State University, have been studying the method of high-dimensional flow cytometry in the search for molecular markers for several years. Behind this complicated name is an attempt to x-ray the cancer in order to learn as much as possible about it – and thus learn its weaknesses. All this to attack it as effectively and non-invasively as possible with precisely selected drugs.

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How is it done? Dr. Seweryn says that the cells taken from the patient are passed through a laser that scans the proteins on the cell surface and collects information about their properties. So far, this solution has been used in the diagnosis of people with leukemia and cancers of the lymphatic system.

– The assumption is to hit the cancer with such force that the previously inoperable cancer would be operable again. So that it can be surgically removed without risk to the patient – says Dr. Michał Seweryn.

The effects are promising. So far, of the 181 patients who have undergone this treatment with the test antibody, 94 percent have survived the first year, 85 two years and 80 three years after surgery. And in the group identified using molecular biomarkers, these figures are even more optimistic – 97, 93 and 93 percent, respectively.

– Tests that will unequivocally determine whether a given drug is effective are still in progress. For now, however, we can see that we are going in the right direction – says the scientist from Lodz.

Whom the body protects and who does not

But how did it happen that the Lodz resident is part of a team that mostly consists of American specialists? Dr. Seweryn worked at Ohio State University for three years. He returned to the country, but left many friends overseas who were asked to deal with a problem that hinders effective cancer treatment.

– Tumors are sometimes perceived by our immune system as part of our body. This is because tumors can produce factors that suppress the immune response. This leads to a situation where a doctor who hits a tumor with drugs must take into account that the body will try to defend the attacked cells – says Dr. Seweryn.

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The Pole was asked by his friends from Ohio to develop a method that would allow to quickly determine which patient with lung cancer has an immune system that cannot be fooled by cancer.

– We wanted to be able to indicate which patient would be more susceptible to therapy – says the Polish scientist.

He fulfilled the entrusted task very effectively: – We tracked over a dozen markers that allow us to determine whether the patient will respond well to the new method of treatment. Fortunately, the vast majority of patients qualify. Only about every fifth patient has such a set of markers that has a negative prognosis for the future – says the scientist.

Malignant neoplasms are the second cause of death in Poland. Although lung cancer is not the most common malignant tumor in both women and men, it is responsible for the largest number of deaths in both groups. In the case of women, in 2020 it accounted for 17.6 percent. all deaths caused by cancer. For men, the percentage was even higher, at 26.1%.

According to the data of the National Cancer Registry, over 160,000 cancers are diagnosed annually in Poland. new cases of malignant tumors and about 100,000 deaths. Over a million Poles live with cancer diagnosed in the previous 15 years. Malignant neoplasms are the second cause of death in Poland, after cardiovascular diseases.

SEE: Time is priceless for them, and they have to wait weeks for a diagnosis.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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