The big C & the future of combined diagnosis & therapy
The World Health Organisation estimates that over 11 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed and more than seven million people die of cancer worldwide each year. The recorded incidence of cancer is set to increase rapidly, as new screening techniques accelerate the rate of diagnosis and the population ages. In addition to its impact on individual patients, cancer imposes a great economic burden upon society.
The main challenge for pharmaceutical biotechnology nowadays is to direct a drug or therapeutic agent specifically to a target molecule, enzyme, cell or tissue. Cancer is one of the most extensive and life-threatening pathologies in Europe, only surpassed by circulatory diseases so it is the perfect candidate pathology for the development of new drugs and new tools for therapy and diagnosis. There are many therapeutic agents that show activity in vitro, but when introduced in the human body they do not have the same effect due to the limitation of reaching specifically the target location, resulting in very high dosages given to patients to overcome this problem, leading to problems of side effects.