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Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 12:00 am

CANCER KILLERS

 A new treatment for kidney cancer may someday come from research being done right now in Springfield. Dr. Andrew Wilber, a research scientist and assistant professor at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, last week received a three-year federal grant of $375,180 from the National Cancer Institute to study natural “killer cells” in kidney cancer. The American Cancer Society says kidney cancer accounts for 3 percent of all cancers, and it often isn’t detected until an advanced stage, limiting treatments and the survival rate. The most common treatments include kidney removal and a special protein therapy, but the latter has only a 15 percent survival rate. The killer cells under study by Wilber normally protect the body by killing infected or altered cells. Kidney cancer somehow changes the killer cells to promote the tumor rather than attack it, so Wilber is trying to learn how that change occurs. If he succeeds, researchers can turn their attention to reversing the change, potentially allowing the killer cells to attack the tumor. Wilber’s work is just one example of groundbreaking medical research going on in Springfield every day. Here’s to the doctors working for a better future.

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