If you’re hoping for a cure for brain cancer, the Bronx just might be the place to be. That’s because researchers at Albert Einstein School of Medicine have just begun working on alternative choices for patients instead of chemotherapy which uses a defensive cell that patients already have.
The Einstein Team
The Einstein team, led by Dr. Sal Coniglio, is working to study the process by which our bodies use cells called macrophages. These are cells that stimulate the immune system and that usually protect the body from disease; but, when cancer strikes, they often help the tumor to grow and spread.
As Dr. Coniglio explained, “Macrophages are the first line of defense against any disease in our body.” “The cells” he said, “fight cancer in the beginning stages, but at some point … they become hypnotized. They switch sides and join forces with the cancer.”
There is now a drug in development that works to block a specific gene so that cells can attack breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society regional vice president for the Bronx, Carla Sterling, said that the Einstein research is “really exciting.” He also explained that people in the Bronx should be proud of the work that’s happening in their own neighborhood.
Now, with a $102,000 grant from the American Cancer Society that took three years to get, Dr. Coniglio’s team is working for a cure. Dr. Coniglio calls macrophage research “the future of therapy.” He explained that macrophage treatment could prove to be less harmful than chemotherapy and to become a “game changer” for patients.