28 May 2021

Important statements from our graduate Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner about his cancer studies

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner, who has recently been the guest of ITU Science and Technology Talks, told about his adventure at ITU and scientific journey from engineering to medicine and made important statements about his studies for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

News: İTÜ Media and Communication Office

Recently, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner attended the honorary doctorate ceremony organized by ITU for him; after the ceremony, he became the guest of ITU Science and Technology Talks. Toner, who graduated from ITU Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in 1983, talked about his scientific adventure that started at ITU and especially his important studies in the field of cancer.  

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner, who was awarded “honorary doctor” title by the ITU Senate for his great contributions to the advancement of science and technology in the world and in our country and his significant achievements at the international level, is known in the international scientific community for his successful studies especially in the field of cancer treatment.

Mehmet Toner, Professor of Health Sciences and Technologies at the Harvard-MIT Division, said that they can find a cancerous cell by scanning 300 million cells in just one second. Toner stated that it is now possible to capture even one cancer cell in billions of blood cells.

Expressing that the diagnosis of cancer is now being made faster and new treatment methods have emerged recently, Toner said: “Our study on cancer is about the spreading rate of cancer. We know that cancer spreads through the blood. And it slowly takes over the human physiology. Unfortunately, the immune system weakens and the cancer wins the battle. There are around 35 trillion cells in our body. 85% of that is blood cells. A few cancer cells are circulating in these cells. The technique we developed helps to find these cancer cells. We can scan 300 million cells in one second. This is like finding a person in America in a second, considering the entire American population. If you say 6-7 billion world population, we find a person in the whole world in 10-20 seconds. We can scan 300 million cells in one second and separate cancerous cells if there are any.”

“Vaccines developed during the pandemic will play an important role in our fight against cancer”

Stating that the experience gained from the vaccines developed due to the pandemic will play a major role in the fight against cancer, Toner emphasized that scientific studies always interact with each other.

“There are two major drugs that have emerged in the pandemic, which I call miracle drugs, one of which, as you know, was developed by two Turks in Germany in cooperation with BioNTech and Pfizer companies; the other is the drug developed by the biotechnology company Moderna in Boston… These companies have actually been working on these drugs for ten years. These were studies to cure cancer. Since cancer is a much more complicated disease than a disease like Covid, no significant success has yet been achieved in that; but they took the same technology and immediately transformed it against the pandemic. That's why the world was able to reach such a success and miracle in a time as short as nine months. In fact, these new ideas began to be used very quickly for other diseases, too. I think that the recent experience we gained from vaccines developed due to the pandemic will give a great momentum to our work in our fight against cancer.”


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