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Researchers look for answers behind miracle recoveries

Readers may have heard amazing success stories from cancer survivors, perhaps involving accounts of unexplained remission. One example might be a patient whose response to a cancer drug or treatment was so positive that he or she was practically cured. In such cases, medical doctors might be at a loss to explain why the patient made a seemingly miraculous recovery. The result might seem even more inexplicable to other patients with the same condition who must face a long battle against their potentially deadly disease or disability.

Several research teams are taking a closer look at the science that might underlie such remarkable recovery stories. The oncology centers at reputed clinics in at least three American states are setting aside resources for such research. 

The research may also have applications beyond cancer. One theory that researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland are exploring is whether certain human gene mutations are more receptive to cancer drugs. By linking gene mutations to drug responses, individuals with other incurable or long-term disabilities may also benefit. Hopefully, the research will benefit patients who have long-term disabilities. Until then, many patients will likely continue with more conventional treatments.

Living with a disabling condition can be disheartening, especially when it interferes with an individual’s ability to work or perform normal daily activities. Social Security disability benefits might be available to help cover costs, but the claims process might intimidate many applicants. An attorney that specializes in SSDI benefits, however, might have helpful strategies to offer.

Source: reuters.com, “Looking for lessons in cancer's 'miracle' responders | Reuters,” Ransdell Pierson, Sept. 15, 2013

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