Cures for old problems?

Modern medicine has been making leaps and pursuing feats that may wind up monumental. From a newborn being dosed to successfully “cure” him of HIV within 30 hours of birth, experimental RNA munchers that might knock out more than just Hepatitis C, and other treatment methods that are, quite frankly, the bees knees… or bee venom?

Here is the gist of a few intriguing newly developed or reformed methods of treatment and prevention within the medicinal world we are a part of. Bee venom, a novel approach to HIV prevention: According to study results of multiple scientific-medical experiments, including an appearance in a March issue of Antiviral Therapy, bee venom might be helpful in the riddance of HIV and other viruses. A potent toxin found in their venom called melittin which shows effectiveness in destroying HIV cells by eroding their double-layer viral envelopes.

Early HIV detection: a baby was given nothing more than commonly available antiretroviral drugs and now shows no signs of being ill with the virus. She was, however, dosed within less than 30 hours of her birth and for 18 months afterwards, which is most likely why the treatment was so successful. Similarly, a study done on 14 patients in France, who were treated very swiftly, rebounded with little sign of the virus revitalizing.

The total eradication of the HIV virus from  a human body has not yet been done, but methods involving quick treatment proceeding early detection pose as a functional cure for a small proportion of patients, rather than a compete cure.

RNA munching possible Hepatitis C treatment: The hepatitis virus usually attaches to microRNA-122, which resides in the liver. A new drug, called miravirsen, binds to microRNA-122, sequesters it and indirectly hinders viral duplication. Study patients who did receive the drug showed promising results, while those given the placebo did not. Some worry that because microRNA-122 affects liver function in some areas, the drug might cause serious side effects. The possible results of this procedure are still being weighed out and updated.

Cancer prevention, early detection and treatment: cancer research is huge right now, and there is no way I can cover all the new possibilities and practices right here. Some of the interesting and less invasive, per se, methods are as such:

Prevention by decreased exposure: We know what exposure to carcinogens increases cancer metastasis, and studies show women (and subsequently men, though not talked about in the survey) who worked for ten years in a job with high exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors had a 42 percent increase of developing cancer than the control population. Firstly, cancer is caused by a suppressed immune system that is unable to “kill” cancer. Most of us have cancers in our bodies right now, but also have the ability to fend them off. Thusly, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and lack of sleep, improper diet and systematic, almost circadian, experiences of slight hunger do in fact increase ones risk of developing cancer. Also avoiding jobs on pesticide-ridden farms, plastic producing, metalworking, on the highway, and food canning (cans with bisphenyl A, commonly BPA) jobs will decrease risk immensely.

Early detection and treatment: in recent years, scientists have been able to link certain gene patterns with more aggressive cancers, which with increased probability, the patients are more likely to keep a look out for early signs. Early detection methods have also taken rise, and unfortunately many are direct exposures to radiation, so be wary. Two of these that sound otherwise very successful are scintimammography, where a slightly radioactive tracer is injected into a vein, then detected by a special camera. Another is a 3D mammography technique where 3D images are taken by x-ray, mapping breast tissue. A new chemotherapy drug that targets cancers caused by BRCA mutations are called PARP inhibitors, and have shown promise in clinical trials treating breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers that spread with resistance to other treatments.