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DEC 24th 2013

Light Bulb Moment: The Cancer Treatment Breakthrough

DEC 24th 2013
Light Bulb Moment: The Cancer Treatment Breakthrough

When Edison invented the first electric light bulb, everything changed.

The whole world lit up. And it’s been glowing ever since.

We got lamps, chandeliers, street lights, spotlights, headlights, bright neon signs. We also got a new term for an instant, amazing breakthrough: a light bulb moment.

Every once in a while, a single concept changes the world.

And right now we’re on the verge of a true “light bulb moment” in cancer research.

A team of Stanford University scientists has developed a new treatment that stimulates the immune system to destroy cancer cells. So far, the drug, an antibody called anti-CD47, has cured or stopped the progress of human prostate, liver, brain, bladder, ovary, breast and colon cancers in mice.

"We showed that even after the tumor has taken hold, the antibody can either cure the tumor or slow its growth and prevent metastasis," says biologist Irving Weissman, who performed the initial research and coordinated the study.

Weissman’s Stanford University research team has received a $20 million dollar grant to begin a small, 10-100-person human clinical trial of the new treatment in 2014.

The antibody has the potential to stop any type of cancer in its tracks.

Talk about a light bulb moment. Now, that’s a major breakthrough.

How does the new cancer treatment work?

To begin with, cancer cells produce a protein called CD47 that sends “do not eat” signals to your immune system. CD47 is a cancer cell’s protective armor  -- it shields the cancer from your immune system and allows it to stay alive and destroy your cells.

The new antibody, anti-CD47, pierces the cancer cells’ “armor,” blocking the protective protein and signaling your immune system to attack the cancer. At that point, macrophages, cells that eat bacteria, quickly engulf the cancer cells and destroy them.

That’s not all, though – the procedure is actually a two-pronged attack. Once the macrophages have captured the cancer cells, they present pieces of the cancer to “killer T” cells in your bloodstream. It’s just like giving a piece of a criminal’s clothing to a bloodhound. The T cells are activated to go out on their own, hunting down and destroying even more cancer cells.

The Stanford researchers didn’t expect to stumble on this “bloodhound” effect. Stanford MD/PhD student Diane Tseng,the lead author of the study (published online May 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)was surprised. “It was completely unexpected that CD8+ T cells would be mobilized when macrophages engulfed the cancer cells in the presence of CD47-blocking antibodies,” she said.

Basically, the new cancer treatment can enlist your whole immune system to destroy cancer. It will allow your body to create a customized, organic, and very effective immunization against any type of tumor.

“Because T cells are sensitized to attack a patient’s particular cancer, the administration of CD47-blocking antibodies in a sense could act as a personalized vaccination against that cancer,” Tseng said.

A personalized cancer vaccine?

That’s an almost unbelievable breakthrough.

What’s the next step?

Now that the new antibody is moving into the next phase of human clinical trials, the world of cancer treatments may be about to change. Drastically.

While the anti-CD47 treatment is still in the experimental stage, the procedure has enormous potential. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery may be things of the past. If you have cancer, or are at risk for cancer, you’ll need to start thinking about antibody treatment instead.

You’ll also need to start thinking about how to pay for this new procedure.

Clinical trials, and cancer treatments of almost any kind, can be astronomically expensive. And unfortunately, they’re usually not covered by standard health insurance.

If you’re at risk for any type of cancer – especially if you have a family history of cancer; if you’re obese, diabetic or a smoker; or if you’ve been exposed to chemicals like radon or asbestos – you should think about taking out a supplemental cancer insurance policy now.

Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck with a cancer diagnosis – and no way to pay for the breakthrough treatment that could save your life.

A cancer insurance policy is a smart decision for a lot of reasons. It’s affordable, it’s easy to get, and it provides financial security you can’t get from a normal health insurance plan. Your cancer insurance policy provides a one-time, lump sum benefit upon first diagnosis of a covered cancer – giving you the extra money you may need for co-pays, deductibles and medical treatments like the new antibody procedure.

Traditional health insurance plans are very circumscribed. They’ll pay for a limited, set amount of medical expenses – and they’re definitely not interested in providing money for clinical trials or experimental treatments. But a cancer insurance policy offers you a lump sum of money you can spend however you choose.

That money could mean recovery and a healthy future for you and your family.

You don’t even need to spend all of your cancer insurance payout on medical expenses. The money from your cancer insurance policy can be used for living expenses, food, rent or mortgage payments or for anything else you need. Cancer insurance is designed to be flexible and to work with your requirements.

Plus, it’s a stand-alone policy that won’t affect your current health insurance in any way. You don’t even need a health insurance policy in order to purchase cancer insurance. A supplemental policy fits into your situation, no matter what it is.

After all, the goal is to help you recover as soon as possible.

And with breakthroughs like the anti-CD47 treatment on the horizon, why would you take chances?


Make sure you’re protected!

It’s easy to apply for your cancer insurance policy on Just enter your information into the one-step quote box and we’ll provide a list of cancer insurance carriers tailored to your age and location. allows you to compare up to 10 supplemental insurance providers at one time, and to apply for your policy through a convenient online platform.

It’s simple. It’s affordable, and it could save your life.

Purchasing cancer insurance might be the most important “light bulb moment” you’ll ever have.