Team:HKUST-Hong Kong/Background and Motive


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Conventional cancer therapies and their limitations:

Cancer has gradually become the nightmare of patients because of its high incidence, mortality and low recovery rate. With an annual incidence of more than 12 million, cancer accounts for more than 7.6 million deaths each year. [1] Once diagnosed as cancer, patients have to rely on conventional cancer therapies to extend their life. However, while prolonging the lifespan of patient, these traditional therapeutic ways inevitably bring adverse effects to patients and intensively reduce their quality of life.
Surgery and cryosurgery are engaged as the main approaches in type I cancer treatment. While Small superficial cancer cells are physically removed during surgery, normal tissues or sometimes even parts of the organ need to be removed as well to prevent the recurrence of cancer. The loss of organ and changes of physical conditions in body are suffered by patients and long recovery time is needed after surgery as well. 
Chemotherapy engages drugs which are circulated through blood vessel, reaching cancer cell, killing or inhibiting cancer cell growing. Since most of the drugs used in chemotherapy targets cells which are highly divided, organ or system which involves active cell replacement will be affect at most. This will bring about problems say bleeding, anemia, hair loss, infections and etc. In addition,
Radiotherapy which relies on high energy of X-rays, gamma rays or charged particles, kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA. However, the potential damage of normal tissue around cancer cells can never be eliminated. Temporary side effect and chronic side effect will be suffered by patent. Meanwhile, patient still also need to take the risk of induction of second tumor by radiation.