• Question: When you find out how to cure cancer with nuclear atoms, what will you do with this information? Who or what will you test it on to make sure it works ? :)

    Asked by anon-201691 to Sophia on 4 Mar 2019. This question was also asked by anon-201742.
    • Photo: Sophia Pells

      Sophia Pells answered on 4 Mar 2019:

      Cancer is tricky because there are so many different kinds that affect different parts of the body, so unfortunately there isn’t going to be one discovery that cures cancer.

      The best way to treat cancer is to operate on someone to cut the cancerous tumours out of their body, but this isn’t possible sometimes if the cancer is too close to important organs or is spread to too many different places so we use other treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy to help shrink their tumours and relieve their symptoms to make them feel better. Sometimes (it depends on each person and the cancer they have), the treatment will be so good that it will kill the tumours or shrink them enough that it is then safe to remove them with surgery. The radioactive atoms that I am studying will be used for treatments like this.

      To test how well a radioactive atom can treat cancer, first they are studied using cancer cells which are put in a test tube. If that is a success, the next step would be to test on cancer in mice. There are already people studying how well the radioactive atoms I am looking at can treat cancer in mice and they have found good results so far. The next step is to start clinical trials with people.