Can Oral Cancer Be Treated By Deleting Proteins?

Can Oral Cancer Be Treated By Deleting Proteins? Oral cancers have always been a serious threat with an intimidatingly high mortality rate.  However, groundbreaking new treatments may be able to do something once thought unthinkable – permanently remove the proteins that lead to cancer.  So what does the latest research suggest?  And what could the future hold?  Read on to find out.

 

How Head And Neck Cancers Often Start In The Mouth

 Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of head and mouth cancer, and it comes with a survival rate of only about 66%.  Like most cancers, early detection is the key to proper treatment.  Dental practitioners can play a key role in identifying this insidious disease in its early stages, but only if they know what to look for.  It often appears first as a small red bump or a white patch on the inside of the mouth1.

These relatively innocuous symptoms are easy to ignore for patients.  And because not everyone is getting the proper dental care they should be getting, they often go unnoticed until it is too late.  Because these lesions are often discovered only after they have become cancerous, scientists have devoted themselves to finding new forms of treatment.  Their most recent findings should provide hope for the future.

 

New Developments In Cancer Treatment

 Scientists have found one specific protein, lysine-specific demethylase 1, seems to play a role in encouraging the spread of cancer1.  By identifying and isolating this dangerous enzyme, doctors believe they can specifically target it for removal through procedures such as chemotherapy.  It is common knowledge that this procedure is extremely invasive and comes with significant side effects.  However, its benefits could be worth the risk.  While the damage of OSCC can never fully be undone, with proper treatment, risk can be significantly minimized.

 

The Role Of Gene Therapy In Future Treatments

 There is hope that emerging gene therapy technology will provide a much less intrusive method of cancer treatment.  One much discussed development is called ‘Gene Deletion.’  A deletion changes a DNA sequence by removing at least one element of a gene2.  If the protein responsible for spreading cancer from the mouth to the head and neck could be deleted, we would likely see a much higher survival rate.

 

Conclusion

 While there is much progress yet to be made in gene deletion therapy, early findings are positive.  Dental professionals should continue to be vigilant in their attempts to detect possible cancer causing lesions in their patients.  They should also be sure to educate their patients on how regular dental checkups can detect potential issues while they are still treatable.

 

 

References:

 

1:  ScienceDaily. (2022, April 25). Could blocking or deleting a protein help prevent common oral cancers? ScienceDaily. from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/04/220425212101.htm

 

2:  U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). What kinds of gene variants are possible?: Medlineplus Genetics. MedlinePlus. from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/mutationsanddisorders/possiblemutations/

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Post title: Can Oral Cancer Be Treated By Deleting Proteins?

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