TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - In 2011 more than half a million Americans died of complications from some form of cancer. But within the last 20 years the battle against the deadly disease has made significant progress.
At a local school one of the nations leading cancer scientists explained how his work and the school's efforts could make big changes in the near future.
Thursday night Hatfield Hall filled with scholars past and present. Rose Hulman students and professors all sat at attention for D. Bruce Horten, one of the leading scientists of cancer research.
The type of research he works on is revolutionizing cancer treatment for patients across the world. It's called Targeted therapy.
"There are very few cures of cancer with the use of targeted therapy, but what it has done is offer good quality of life with prolongation," he explained.
In simplified terms, Target therapy examines the origins of the cancer at a genetic level. It's aim is to find the cause of the cancer and attack it; as opposed to chemotherapy.
"Chemotherapy intentionally uses toxins that would make you very sick," he said.
By making the body sick, it kills cancer cells. But targeted therapy aims directly at the problem rather than making the entire patient sick.
If it sounds too good to be true, in a way it is. Technology hasn't been developed to target every form of cancer and find its genetic cause.
Which is why Horten says Rose Hulman can plays crucial role in the future of fighting cancer.
"One needs a new technology to enable these genes to be studied quickly and efficiently and that is an area where Rose Hulman can step in," he said.
Turning his lecture into more a recruiting seminar to find the brightest minds to join him in the fight against cancer.
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