Bombing cancer cells

Published: Tuesday 31 October 2000

Radioactive material, that is posing a threat to the environment, may have the potential to become a cure for cancer. Researchers have tested Bismuth-213 -- the decay product of Uranium-233 -- against acute myeloid leukaemia, a cancer that is caused due to the malfunctioning of the bone marrow tissue. Tests carried out on 18 people by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, USA, have shown that the therapy can reduce the white blood cell (WBC) count of the blood along, with affecting the WBC producing activity of the bone marrow. According to Researcher Joseph Jurcic, the find has a broad implication in the whole field of oncology and not only for leukaemia. The second phase of testing for the technique, called the alpha particle immunotherapy, is going to be undertaken on 40 patients under the supervision of National Cancer Institute, Bathesda, Maryland, USA, and is expected to take around three years. Together with conventional chemotherapy, the technique is expected to reduce the percentage of reoccurrence of the disease.

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