Cancer Care Model could Help Us Cope with COVID-19

As the UK government looks for an exit strategy to Britain's COVID-19 lockdown a nanomedicine expert from The University of Manchester believes a care model usually applied to cancer patients could provide a constructive way forward.

Kostas Kostarelos, is Professor of Nanomedicine at The University of Manchester and is leading the Nanomedicine Lab, which is part of the National Graphene Institute and the Manchester Cancer Research Centre.

The Manchester-based expert believes more scientific research should be employed as we transform how we view the COVID-19 pandemic, or any future virus outbreak, and deal with it more like a chronic disease - an ever present issue for humanity that needs systematic management if we are ever to return to our 'normal' lives.

Professor Kostarelos makes this claim in an academic thesis entitled 'Nanoscale nights of COVID-19' that offers a nanoscience response to the COVID-19 crisis and will be published on Monday, April 27, by the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

"As for any other chronic medical condition, COVID-19 stricken societies have families, jobs, businesses and other commitments. Therefore, our aim is to cure COVID-19 if possible," says Professor Kostarelos.

"However, if no immediate cure is available, such as effective vaccination," Professor Kostarelos suggests: "We need to manage the symptoms to improve the quality of patients' lives by making sure our society can function as near as normal and simultaneously guarantee targeted protection of the ill and most vulnerable."

Professor Kostarelos says his experience in cancer research and nanotechnology suggests a model that could also be applied to a viral pandemic like COVID-19.

"There are three key principles in managing an individual cancer patient: early detection, monitoring and targeting," explains Professor Kostarelos. "These principles, if exercised simultaneously, could provide us with a way forward in the management of COVID-19 and the future pandemics.

"Early detection has improved the prognosis of many cancer patients. Similarly, early detection of individuals and groups, who are infected with COVID-19, could substantially accelerate the ability to manage and treat patients.

"All chronic conditions, such as cancer, are further managed by regular monitoring. Therefore, monitoring should be undertaken not only for patients already infected with COVID-19, to track progression and responses, but also for healthy essential workers to ensure that they remain healthy and to reduce the risk of further spreading.

Finally, says Professor Kostarelos, nanomaterials - as well as other biologicals, such as monoclonal antibodies - are often used for targeting therapeutic agents that will be most effective only against cancer cells.

The same principle of 'targeting' should be applied for the management of COVID-19 patients to be able to safely isolate them and ensure they receive prompt treatment.

Also, a safeguarding strategy should be provided to the most vulnerable segments of the population by, for example, extending social distancing protocols in elderly care homes - but with the provision of emotional and practical support to ensure the wellbeing of this group is fully supported.

"Protection of the most vulnerable and essential workers, must be guaranteed, with protective gear and monitoring continuously provided," he added. "Only if all three principles are applied can the rest of society begin to return to normal function and better support the activities in managing this and all future pandemics."

Kostarelos K.
Nanoscale nights of COVID-19.
Nat. Nanotechnol., 2020. 10.1038/s41565-020-0687-4

Most Popular Now

Early Warning System for Intensive Care …

Life-threatening situations occur time and again in an intensive care unit. To make sure that doctors can intervene in time, a team at the German Heart Center Berlin (DHZB) has...

Virtual Reality could Help to Reduce Pai…

We all feel physical pain in different ways, but people with nerve injuries often have a dysfunctional pain suppression system, making them particularly prone to discomfort. Now researchers have uncovered that...

Philips Partners with Orbita to Develop …

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, and Orbita Inc., an innovative provider of conversational artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for healthcare, announced a partnership agreement...

CliniSys Group Creates Single Brand for …

CliniSys Group has created a single brand for its businesses in the UK and Europe, with a refreshed logo and a new website. The move creates a unified identity for CliniSys...

East Lancashire Signs Deal for Early War…

Thousands of NHS professionals across five hospitals in East Lancashire are to benefit from early warning technology that will help them detect and swiftly respond to deteriorating patients in need...

FDA Grants Oxehealth Vital Signs De Novo…

Oxehealth has announced another world first after the US Food and Drug Administration granted a De Novo clearance for its Oxehealth Vital Signs product, which is incorporated into Oxevision, the...

Telemedicine Improves Access to High-Qua…

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently published an update on the use of telemedicine for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders to reflect lessons learned from the transition...

DMEA 2021: Digital Health. 100 % Virtual…

7 - 11 June 2021, Berlin, Germany. An entire week dominated by digital healthcare! With that in mind, early in June DMEA 2021 will be kicking off with a wide range...

Philips and NHS Implement the First Regi…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), announced it has supported the NHS' Cheshire and Merseyside consortium [1] to become the first regional hub supplying the United Kingdom's National COVID-19 Chest...

Child Brain Tumours can be Classified by…

Diffusion weighted imaging and machine learning can successfully classify the diagnosis and characteristics of common types of paediatric brain tumours a UK-based multi-centre study, including WMG at the University of...

AI could Crack the Language of Cancer an…

Powerful algorithms used by Netflix, Amazon and Facebook can 'predict' the biological language of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, scientists have found.