More cancer

I’ll be damned if I can find anything more than press releases about a new way to treat cancer, so that will have to do. Interestingly, one of the points being touted by various blogs and commentators is that this is a cure for cancer. It is not. It is a treatment.

Oscar’s recovery was extraordinary enough, but his case was unusual for another reason. Oscar is a Bichon Frise, who scientists reporting in Salt Lake City, Utah at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on March 23 call “the Miracle Dog.” Joseph A. Bauer, Ph.D., and colleagues described promising results with a drug called nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl) in battling cancer in Oscar and three other canines without any negative side effects. While it gives profound hope to dog owners, NO-Cbl also points to a powerful new cancer treatment for humans — one that infiltrates cancer cells like a biological Trojan horse.

This is an ever-increasing technique in science that extends beyond just cancer treatment. It has been used to attack bacteria, HIV, and various genetic diseases (the latter of which naturally extends itself to cancer treatments). For this particular study, a drug known as nitrosylcobalamin (or NO-Cbl for those of us who hate those long drug names) was introduced into a dog with cancer. Attached to the nitric oxide (NO) in the drug is B12. B12 is needed for cell growth and replication. Get rid of it and you have problems. Since cancer cells apparently love 2nd grade math so much, they divide and multiply like crazy. As I hope you’ve already guessed, they need lots of B12 to do this. In fact, they have more receptors for B12 than normal cells. When they lay their pretty little eyes on all that introduced B12, they gobble it up. Unfortunately for the cancer cells, NO is toxic. It kills cells, mutated cancer cells no exception. Once inside the cells, it is released and the death of the cell occurs.

“This is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life,” says Bauer, the owner of a two-year old Beagle. “It gets boring working in the lab, but to see the fruits of your labor in a positive outcome like this and to know you’re responsible in some small way, that’s pretty cool.”

Love the passion.