Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Science, Technology
& Innovation

Issue 108: Leveraging technology for tomorrow’s cancer treatment

108
Every week, HEADlines brings you the latest news, stories and commentaries in education and healthcare. This week, get insights on the latest developments in healthcare. image Leveraging technology for tomorrow’s cancer treatment by Dr. Lim Chwee Ming, Otorhinolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Singapore General Hospital Cancer research is key to mitigating the sufferings caused by cancer and also to providing potential cures for some patients. Several advances have been accomplished to that end, especially with the developments of cancer immunotherapy strategy which have galvanised its role as the fourth pillar of cancer treatment (beyond surgery, radiation and chemotherapy). At the same time, technological advances have enabled clinicians to dive deep into cancer cell biology at the single cell level, and deepened our understanding of the cancer cell, cancer microenvironment, and cancer-host interactions. Worldwide, approximately 15% of all cancers are related to viruses, with examples such as the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), human papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV). In theory, some of these cancers may be preventable through vaccination. As a proof of concept, the adoption of pre-adolescent HPV vaccination programmes among females has resulted in a dramatic reduction of HPV related cervical cancers. This pre-exposure protection against cancer-causing strains of HPVs has also reduced the incidence of genital warts and pre-cancerous lesions of the genital tract. Comparatively, there is currently no vaccination against the EBV which is another important cause of nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC), lymphoepithelial cancer and some gastric cancers. Beyond prevention of cancers through vaccination, virally associated cancers can be monitored or screened for early cancer development or relapse through detection of viral genetic fragments in plasma, termed liquid biopsy. This technology is epitomised by highly sensitive assays that are capable of detecting minute fragments of circulating EBV in plasma. These assays are currently being utilised in both screening and surveillance of EBV-driven NPC with the overarching goal being to detect early cancer before they cause symptoms. This early detection of cancer will lead to timely treatments so as to improve clinical outcomes. Furthermore, these liquid biopsy assays have been shown to precede clinically detectable cancer, and further developments are in progress to further increase the sensitivity of these assays. *The above is an excerpt from an article published in THINK 9 (“Tomorrow’s Technology Today”, Pg. 56), a publication of The HEAD Foundation. Read full article Healthcare in the Spotlight The Guardian: Microplastics found in human blood for first time The discovery shows the particles can travel around the body and may lodge in organs. The Atlantic: America is about to test how long ‘normal’ can hold Whenever it arrives, the next surge could put the country’s tolerance for disease and death in full relief. BBC News: COVID: Why are so many people catching it again? With Omicron taking over, rates of reinfection have been about 10 times higher this year compared with rates seen earlier in the pandemic. The Straits Times: What are long COVID-19 symptoms and when should you seek help More patients are seeking help for long COVID symptoms such as persistent cough, running nose, feeling faint, palpitations, and chest pain. This was not observed in previous infection waves. Medical News Today: More people may be hospitalized with low sodium levels due to climate change A new study found that the risk of severe hyponatremia appears to increase dramatically above certain temperature thresholds, and the elderly are at greatest risk. CNN Health: Excessive napping could be a sign of dementia, study finds Elderly adults who napped at least once a day or more than an hour a day were 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who did not nap daily or napped less than an hour a day. The Guardian: US poised to release 2.4 billion genetically modified male mosquitoes to battle deadly diseases The project targets to reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito by engineering male mosquitoes to only produce male offsprings. World Health Organisation: WHO establishes the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India The new centre will focus on creating a body of reliable evidence and data to support the use of traditional medicine practices and products. Photo credit: Bundo Kim on Unsplash Healthbytes Medical Myths: All about stroke Source: Medical News Today Stroke is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 11% of deaths in 2019. Learn more about the three major types of stroke and dispel any misunderstandings about this disease.

About

Leaders and changemakers of today face unique and complex challenges. The HEAD Foundation Digest features insights and opinions from those in the know addressing a wide range of pertinent issues that factor in a society’s development. 

Informed opinions can inspire healthy discussions and open up our imagination to new possibilities. Interested in contributing? Write to us at info@headfoundation

Stay updated on our latest announcements on events and publications

About

Leaders and changemakers of today face unique and complex challenges. The HEAD Foundation Digest features insights and opinions from those in the know addressing a wide range of pertinent issues that factor in a society’s development. 

Informed opinions can inspire healthy discussions and open up our imagination to new possibilities. Interested in contributing? Write to us at info@headfoundation

Stay updated on our latest announcements on events and publications

Join our mailing list

Stay updated on all the latest news and events

Join our mailing list

Stay updated on all the latest news and events