World Cancer Day is led by Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) organization and is observed on 4th February each year. The event was initiated to raise awareness globally regarding cancer and encourage individuals to take preventive measures to ensure a cancer-free future. Various organizations along with governments of respective countries have been taking initiative to spread awareness and provide free treatment for cancer patients. Cancer is the second leading cause of deaths globally. This is alarming, especially in an era when advanced treatments are available for various other chronic diseases and viruses, and new and emerging technologies and solutions have been making headlines around the globe with regard to success rates and outcomes of treatments and vaccines.
World Cancer Day theme for 2021 is, ‘I Am and I Will’, and one of the many mottos read, ‘Together, all Our Actions Matter’. The objective of this slogan is to inspire everyone to commit and act in accordance to stay cancer-free. The goal rests on the belief that through positive actions and by uniting on a global level the number of deaths from cancer can be reduced by one-third by 2030. ‘Global Uniting Initiative’ means individuals across the globe are called upon to fight against cancer by taking preventive steps and measures towards detection, early diagnosis, and treatment.
Well, not all seems bleak for cancer patients and potential patients in future. New approaches to harness the immune system in the global fight against cancer are gaining ground steadily and the cancer beast may just become another curable disease. The advent of personalized vaccines has provided a major boost to research and is serving to bridge various gaps currently. Gene editing and cell therapy as well as micro biome are also treatments that are bright sparks in the war against cancer and the way the disease is treated going ahead.
However, 2020 may have been a bad year for most across the globe, and also for the many cancer patients due to limitations with regard to access to much needed care and treatment and the lockdown and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While much came to a standstill though, scientists were working on a new cancer vaccine, which is currently ready for human trial. The vaccine has shown successful outcome in preclinical studies, and is expected to be used to treat a variety of blood cancers and malignancies, and is a major breakthrough for cancer vaccinations.
The scientists are also hopeful that the vaccine could be used to treat blood cancers, such as myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and pediatric leukemias, plus solid malignancies including breast, lung, renal, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers, and glioblastoma. The new vaccine comprises human antibodies fused with tumor-specific protein, capacity of the vaccine to target human cells while activating the memory of the tumor cells is being investigated. According to the scientists, the prototype vaccine targets key tumor cells required for initiation of tumor-specific immune responses, which maximizes potential effectiveness of treatment, while minimizing potential side effects. Going ahead, more such research and study, and development of treatments and subsequent clinical trials can be expected, and as increasingly advanced technologies continue to emerge in the medical field, cancer tops the list with a major bounty to be had in the event of a cure being found.