In the War on Cancer, Science Is Winning

Promising and amazing advances in vaccination, diagnostic tests, immune therapy and gene testing.

  • New vaccines against human papillomavirus, which causes cervical and throat cancer, are in late-stage trials.
    Scientists are also testing vaccines for melanoma, leukemia, lung and renal cancers.
  • In five years there may be a simple blood test costing less than $500 that can detect 70% of all cancers in the earliest stages.
    When patients with breast, prostate and thyroid cancer spot the disease early, their five-year survival rate is 99%.
  • New Crispr gene-editing technology deploys a molecular defense system borrowed from bacteria, which use this system to kill invading viral cells by unzippering their DNA to rip it apart.
    Scientists are using Crispr to repair or rewrite flawed genes.
    The therapy cured sickle-cell anemia in the first three patients
    to receive it, and soon it will take on cancer.
    Many trials of Crispr therapies in the U.S. now are in phase 2 for leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and more.
    In China, Crispr is showing promise against lung cancer.

About the author

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Senior Advisor for Health Care Strategy to BCG — Boston Consulting Group

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Joaquim Cardoso @ BCG

Senior Advisor for Health Care Strategy to BCG — Boston Consulting Group