A molecular scientist specializing in immunology, molecular biology, genetics, and cancer research advances a theory of cancer treatment based on induced immune response.
Debut author Figueiredo, a Ph.D. but not a medical doctor, uses the language of medicine to explain why immunology offers the best promise for attacking cancers, with the least collateral damage. This presentation, first published digitally in 2014, seems too short to be considered a book, and more closely fits the definition of an essay or opinion piece. It’s heavily laden with biomedical terms, and readers will need to have some grasp of antigens, leukocytes, androgen, peptides, macrophages, chemokines, and relaxin—among other terms—in order to follow the author’s description of how super-hardy tumor cells grow and spread by deceiving and perverting the immune system. However, cancer doctors and researchers—who, along with their patients, seem to be the author’s intended audience—will have less difficulty. Figueiredo includes a brief glossary to help the less informed, but that still may be heavy going for some. He helps them further, however, with interjections of everyday language; chemotherapy, he says in one example, “may be akin to attempting to destroy an ant with a grenade.” His own macro-environmental, nonspecific prescription begins with healthy living for prevention. But the key to treatment, he says, will be finding and injecting cancer-specific antigens that act as vaccines in order to promote an immune-system attack on tumors. This immunologically based, selective targeting will be “somewhat analogous as to how the immune system attacks virus-infected cells.” As an added benefit, he says, it will spare patients the ravages of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The author ends with a plea for the public “to lobby for funding for those labs that research cancer immunology.” Evaluating the efficacy of this proposed treatment method is the purview of cancer doctors and researchers; nonprofessionals can only wonder if Figueiredo may be on to something.
A complex medical treatise that may be opaque for casual readers.