Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Cancer Research

The world of cancer research is offering new insights into how cancer forms in some instances, and why, while also measuring the effectiveness and safety of new treatment options. Learn more in the blogs below.

How does the immune system work? When it comes to cancer, it's complicated


immune system

Every second of every minute of every day, a battle of good and evil goes on inside your body. The good is the immune system, armies of cells designed to defend the body from illness and infection. The evil comes in the form of pathogens, viruses, bacteria and mutated cells that are programmed to do harm. When it comes to cancer, the good guys don’t always win.

A simple blood test may help provide a clearer picture of a patient’s cancer


Liquid Biopsy

At the root of most cancer diagnoses is a biopsy, the surgical procedure used to remove a tumor so it can be examined for the presence of cancer cells. Doctors often rely on biopsies to help make an assessment of a cancer's malignancy, stage, origin and DNA mutations that may be targeted with treatments. Some biopsies are minimally invasive; others may be more challenging, requiring stitches or anesthesia. Now, a simple blood test called a liquid biopsy offers another tool that may give doctors a more complete profile of solid tumors.

How can a virus cause cancer?



When you hear “virus,” you may think of minor, temporary illnesses, like the cold or 24-hour flu. But some viruses are also linked to certain kinds of cancer. As the medical community has learned more about these links, it has developed vaccines that, by protecting against certain viral infections, help prevent cancer.

Researchers attacking cancers with combinations of drugs and therapies


Drugs and therapies

Cancer cells survive largely because of their ability to adapt to their surroundings, and that includes fending off an attack from certain cancer treatments. A drug may be able to target one gene mutation in a cancer cell, but another mutation may take over and drive the tumor's growth. Another drug may shut down a signaling pathway that allows cancer cells to thrive, but the tumor may find a new way to communicate and survive.

FDA approves first cancer treatment based on genetic makeup, not tumor location


Immunotherapy drug

Cancer has traditionally been identified by where in the body it develops. Breast cancer forms in the breast, lung cancer in the lungs, and so on. Even when a cancer metastasizes to a different part of the body, it is defined by its original location. If colorectal cancer travels to the brain, for instance, it is called metastatic colorectal cancer, not brain cancer. But many doctors, including Dr. Shayma Master Kazmi, Medical Oncologist at our hospital in Philadelphia, call that old-school thinking.

Study: Bad cell copies lead to most cancers


cancer mutations

If you’ve ever relied on a copy machine, you know what happens when it goes on the fritz. Whether it's low on toner, has a paper jam or turns your original into something resembling an accordion, the results can ruin your work product. On a much more consequential scale, similar breakdowns occur in the human body, which is responsible for churning out billions of replicas of new cells every day.