What You Need to Know about Recent Discoveries in Cancer Treatment
Find out about the new discoveries coming from cancer research laboratories, including updated recommendations to help identify cancer in its early stages.
But first, we should address the effect of the Covid pandemic on cancer research and the Life Sciences sector in general.
As you might expect, Covid has been a disruptive force over the past year, with many cancer research personnel having to adjust to working from home and many labs requiring updates to their facilities, including improving their ventilation systems, installing transparent barriers between lab stations, etc.
Cancer clinicians have also bemoaned the fact that during the height of the pandemic, many patients avoided coming into healthcare facilities at all – a troubling development for those who could have benefited from early cancer detection screening – when clinical treatment is easiest, and outcomes are most promising.
As a result, it's widely believed we'll see a significant uptick in cancer detection in the coming months as people return to healthcare facilities for regular screenings.
Many ongoing cancer drug trials were also disrupted by the pandemic as patients hesitated to sign up or elected to withdraw out of concerns over the Covid virus.
On the other hand, there have been some rare positive developments in the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry due to the Covid pandemic:
- One notable development is that the US did not experience any widespread influenza outbreak during the past "flu season," presumably due to increased personal hygiene, including frequent handwashing as well as widespread mask wearing during the pandemic.
- Thanks to the rapid development and early success of Covid vaccines, there is renewed interest in life science research (including disease research and prevention) by the public, government officials, tech companies, investors, and the media.
- The FDA and other drug regulators around the world have given provisional approval for RNA-based vaccines from BioNTech and Moderna, validating an approach championed by the once overlooked researcher Kati Kariko. This approval of RNA-based vaccines could greatly speed up the acceptance of other RNA-based therapies that pharma companies have in development, including so-called "cancer vaccines," which we investigate below.
Could The Success Of Covid Vaccines Point The Way To New Funding Models For Disease Research?
The widely viewed success of "Operation Warp Speed" – the government initiative to provide massive funding to private companies seeking to develop a workable Covid vaccine as fast as possible (while shielding them from potential product liability) – has demonstrated that increased government funding support can deliver results.