Brazil - Salesian institutions committed to fighting against cancer

15 February 2023

(ANS) - February 15 marks International Childhood Cancer Day, established by the World Health Organization and promoted by the Childhood Cancer International (CCI) network of associations. This anniversary follows World Cancer Day, commemorated on Feb. 4. On this latter occasion, Salesian institutions in Brazil publicized some of the initiatives carried out in the fight against cancer from campaigns to research that support and raise awareness about the importance of prevention, early detection and proper treatment of cancer.

Two studies carried out at the Catholic University "Dom Bosco" (UCDB) of Campo Grande give hope for the treatment of some types of cancer with a high incidence in the population. One involves trying to purify a protein from the venom of the Cerrado snake, while the other focused on using a peptide extracted from the venom of the scorpion Titius serrulatus.

UCDB Biotechnology Program researcher Dr. Breno Emanuel Farias Frihling and research supervisor and UCDB professor Dr. Ludovico Migliolo have focused on proteins from the snake venom to be used in the treatment of colorectal cancer and a type of sarcoma that affects muscle tissue. "This research is of enormous importance in Mato Grosso do Sul and, depending on the progress and investment we get for the next tests, it will have international reach," Dr. Migliolo explains. "We believe that by doing research we will help the population, even more, to have a better quality of life, in terms of health."

Instead, the treatment studied by Dr. Cristiano Marcelo Espínola Carvalho and veterinarian Simone Camargo Sanches aims to treat lung cancer. "We did tests using a peptide that is based on the sequence of scorpion venom," they explain. "The best results were against lung cancer, which showed good selectivity, that is, it attacked cancer cells and preserved healthy cells." The discovery has already generated a patent registration, and the expectation is now to continue the studies.

Several initiatives were also organized at Our Lady Help of Christians Hospital in Três Lagoas. Here, the focus has been on treatment, prevention, and information projects on breast, prostate, and lung cancer, the most common cancers affecting the general population. The campaigns were conducted by the hospital's multidisciplinary team through conferences with physicians and in-house information.

The High Schools of Mary Help of Christians Educational Center (ISECENSA) in Campos dos Goytacazes are also committed to raising awareness of marrow donation among students and teachers through the "Campos Doe Medula" campaign. Everyone is guided through lessons by the group of volunteers leading the project, and after appropriate clarifications, those present are invited to participate in blood donation so that their material will be part of the national marrow donation bank. ISECENSA teachers and students mobilized and involved their families as well, achieving excellent results, contributing to the significant increase in blood samples for the national bank and marrow donor screening for marrow cancer patients.

During the months of October and November, through the University Pastoral Team of the Salesian Catholic Faculty of Macaé (RJ), activities were carried out as part of the global health movements: "Pink October" and "Blue November", campaigns created to make the population understand that prevention and early detection of breast cancer and prostate cancer are essential to avoid the high mortality rates of women and men.

The University Pastoral Team organized two simple but important moments to raise awareness of the importance of these campaigns. On October 25, the group wore pink and gave students a pink ribbon, a symbol of the campaign. Those in attendance were given words of encouragement for self-diagnosis and prevention of the disease. For "Blue November," a similar action was held on Nov. 8, with information on prostate cancer, treatment, and prevention.

"As we’re talking about prevention, we need to exchange ideas with young people, to encourage them to take care of their bodies and their health. The more information, encouragement, and support they receive, the more results we will have with these campaigns," explains professor and University Pastoral Care Coordinator Jônia Quédma.

The development of different types of cancer can be prevented by making simple changes to one's routine, such as adopting healthy habits such as exercising, avoiding alcohol consumption, not smoking, avoiding sun exposure during the most critical hours and, most importantly, keeping one's exams and tests up to date.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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