Scientists have been trying to find a cure for cancer for years now, but since each type of cancer will probably need its own cure, finding these cures could take a long time. Colon cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers, and it seems like every week or so we are hearing about a new strain or mutation that scientists have discovered. Researchers are working very hard to pinpoint the causes of colon cancer, and what we can do to protect ourselves from it. They also look at different preventative measures that we can take to keep colon cancer at bay.
You may be wondering why, when there are vaccines available to protect us from all kinds of other harmful ailments and diseases, there is still no needle to protect us from cancer. Well, researchers have been wondering about the same thing, and a recent study that took place at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia showed that we may be very close to a colon cancer vaccine!
There are many other cancer vaccine studies happening right now, but none have come as close as this one, and no other research has revealed that what we have been looking for may have been inside the human body all along! (Oh, the irony of it …) Apparently, our intestines produce a protein called guanylyl cyclase C, or GCC, and this protein could be all that we need to lead us to a vaccine that will protect us from colon cancer. Researchers are ever hopeful that they will be able to turn this discovery into a successful vaccine for human beings, because colon cancer affects 1.2 million people every year, and kills about 130,000 patients per year. It is the second deadliest cancer in America right now, and researchers are trying their best to stop the death rate from rising.
Scientists created a vaccine out of the GCC protein and injected it into a half of a group of mice. They then injected the whole group of mice with colon cancer cells and waited to see the results, which were encouraging. The mice that had been injected with the vaccine only had about 3 cancerous tumors altogether, while the other half of the group that had not received the vaccine averaged about 30 tumors.
The vaccine is still in the research phase, and it will take a while yet to see if it will even be successful in humans. It may help many different colon cancer patients, but it will mainly be used for patients with tumors that originate and metastasize from mucosa.
In the meantime, while you are waiting for this vaccine to pass all of the requirements, you can take action to protect yourself from colon cancer by eating lots of fruits and vegetables every day, exercising and cutting back on red meats. If you are at risk of colon cancer, don’t try to avoid your scheduled colonoscopies, these procedures save lives.