Research from the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER) reveals that besides smoking, there are other factors associated with the development of lung cancer such as the smoke from burning lumber and coal, as well as pollutant particles.
"It has been considered that the upturn in cases of lung cancer is possibly related to these particles", explains Patricia Gorocica from the INER, who, alongside her research team, has been working in an alternative therapy to boost the immune system of patients with this disease.
The specialist adds that for several years, it has been known that the immune system has all the mechanisms to monitor and destroy tumor cells as they develop, but sometimes these mechanisms are not effective for reasons associated with the tumor or changes in the patient's health.
Based on this principle, research at INER is focused on regulating the immune system against tumors. The tumors that can be more easily eliminated are the ones that express specific antigens.
Patricia Gorocica, chief of the Department of Biochemical Research at INER, says that with current technology, it is possible to manipulate the immune response against tumors.
"We are developing at the lab a system of cell activation from the patient's own blood that can eliminate its tumors".
This is preliminary research, but it could be methodized as an alternative therapy for the patients with lung cancer. The labor is being done with the support of the institutes of Biotechnology and Chemistry of the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), hoping that others will add to the cause, since this research requires a multi-disciplinary team for succeeding.
Gorocica adds that manipulating the immune system could be a new complementary therapy to chemo- and radiotherapies usually used for treating lung cancer.
The research at INER is mainly focused in patients with lung adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that has the most alterations in its tumor cells. It usually affects people of various ages, especially in people over 40, but has been known to affect the 20-something population.