Experimental cancer treatment

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Experimental cancer treatments are medical therapies intended or claimed to treat cancer (see also tumor) by improving on, supplementing or replacing conventional methods (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy).

The entries listed below vary between theoretical therapies to unproven controversial therapies. Many of these treatments are alleged to only help against specific forms of cancer. It is not a list of treatments widely available at hospitals.

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Bacterial treatments

Chemotherapeutic drugs have a hard time penetrating tumors to kill them at their core because these cells may lack a good blood supply. Researchers have been using anaerobic bacteria, such as Clostridium novyi, to consume the interior of oxygen-poor tumours. These should then die when they come in contact with the tumour's oxygenated sides, meaning they would be harmless to the rest of the body. A major problem has been that bacteria don't consume all parts of the malignant tissue. However combining the therapy with chemotheraputic treatments can help to solve this problem.

Another strategy is to use anaerobic bacteria that have been transformed with an enzyme that can convert a non-toxic prodrug into a toxic drug. With the proliferation of the bacteria in the necrotic and hypoxic areas of the tumour the enzyme is expressed solely in the tumour. Thus a systemically applied prodrug is metabolised to the toxic drug only in the tumour. This has been demonstrated to be effective with the non pathogenic anaerobe Clostridium sporogenes.[1]

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