Biden promises he'll cure cancer if elected president

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jkcerda, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. jkcerda macrumors 6502a

    jkcerda

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  2. statik13 macrumors regular

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    Maybe “Cancer” is his pet name for the Trump presidency? If so, then he’s not wrong.
     
  3. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

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    And if he's not elected, he'll keep that cure all to himself.
     
  4. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    I had a look at the Biden Cancer Initiative. I first read the staff bios and wondered how any of these folks could cure cancer. That's not their aim. Their goals are to improve existing processes in treating cancer. That's a fine goal but there's no science involved.

    The Obama Cancer Moonshot or NCI Moonshot relates to large amounts of funding for research and that research is helping with progress but we're still at least many decades away from a cure.

    Cancer is actually hundreds or even thousands of different diseases that have the commonality of cell growth or cell death systems going awry. It's akin to a software error which allows a program to go wild or crash. Cancers are also specific to location or type, and mutation. And many treatments attack all of the cells; not just the cancer cells; so there's considerable damage to the body during treatment.

    Biden is referring to the disease as that's the context in his speech. But he doesn't understand science if he thinks that we're going to cure it in the next decade.

    One other aspect of cancer treatment - you may be cured but you may also be quite damaged when you're cured. The typical treatments are chemo, radiation and surgery and losing an organ or three may get rid of your cancer but your body may not function all that well with some of your body parts removed. And there may be permanent damage to other parts of your body.

    A friend of mine was treated with a cancer drug in the 1990s and one of the side-effects was MS. She is dying of MS now. She got another 20 years of life which is good. That cancer drug is no longer used but we don't necessarily know the long-term drugs of the new drugs that we're using now.

    I would tend to think that Biden doesn't understand the science of cancer. Some people are interested in the science but it is very difficult to understand unless you work in the industry or are very good at reading research papers.
     
  5. chagla macrumors 6502a

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    Seems like a clickbait headline and things taken out of context. He probably means that he will allocate more funds for cancer research.
     
  6. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    The article is accurate. Biden said, "... we're going to cure cancer."

    And I'll say it again. We're not going to cure cancer. We may cure a mutation. We may cure a few mutations. We'll cure people through chemo, radiation, immunotherapy and surgery. But we're not going to cure the many hundreds or even thousands of different mutations out there.

    Here's a page which describes 64 different mutations known to cause colorectal cancer. Some of them are slow-growing and some are very aggressive. Most of them don't present at the cell surface so there isn't currently a way to target only cancer cells with immunotherapy. The National Cancer Institute does have a way to target KRAS G12D and KRAS G12V with a therapy T-Cell Transfer Therapy - if you have one of several alleles - but the odds are low single-digits is you're white or black and about 33% if your Asian. And the treatment costs $1 million but it works by using your own immune system to kill the cancer cells. These are the types of cures that we'll see in the future - highly targetted and far less invasive than chemo, surgery and radiation. But we are a long ways off from where cancer will be cured.
     
  7. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

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    While I have no doubt that Biden's heart is in the right place, I am starting to be worried about his plans. First a huge "green new deal" with targets over 30 years (which basically means that it won't happen), then this which to my understanding is scientifically impossible.
     
  8. Huntn macrumors P6

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    How about simply a matter of government priorities? Biden does not need to be a scientist.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 12, 2019 ---
    What is impossible? My impression is that huge strides have been made fighting cancer.
     
  9. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

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    That "curing cancer" is simply impossible - esp. in the short term - due to the hundreds of variations with sub variations and complexities. Now, I am not a scientist, but from reading an article here and there my understanding is that it seems that the best solution is to focus on very specific types of cancer that happen in specific situations with specific elements in order to reduce mortality.
     
  10. Huntn macrumors P6

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    I am no scientist either, but I see nothing wrong with making a statement that expresses a priority and positive outlook, unless there is a basis to say this is just pandering for political support.
     
  11. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

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    I simply found it an odd remark, that's why I prefaced it with the idea that his heart is in the right place. However, usually this type of stuff causes enormous wastes of money due to the generic, unreachable goal.
     
  12. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    He doesn't have to be a scientist. He does need to understand how research works and knowledge of a first-year course of biology would be a great help. His wife is a college professor and she could easily advise him on a little self-education. He could just get Campbell's Biology on his iPad and read it while traveling.

    Huge strides have been made in curing cancer. Curing is a bit of a misnomer. Your oncologist will declare you as NED or No Evidence of Disease. The thing is that one cancer molecule left over from treatment can start the cancer again. And they can't guarantee that such molecules aren't in your body. But most of the current cures for cancer are barbaric. When they say that you've made a complete recovery but lose your reproductive organs or lose parts of your digestive system or lose a lung, you sure as hell don't think that you've made a complete recovery. I spoke to a GYN nurse who worked in oncology and she told me that she has young women patients that were devastated when they found out that they would not be able to have children because of getting cancer in reproductive organs.

    Radiation treatments can also damage reproductive and other organs, even if the radiation is aimed at another organ. Chemo can leave permanent neurological problems. But hey, you're cured of cancer.

    The NCI budget is $5.74 billion for 2019 so we already spend a ton of money - just at NCI. I'd guess that Pharma R&D is in the billions as is hospital research at teaching hospitals. Major contributions to CRISPR-CAS9 were made where my son works, one of the best cancer hospitals in the world. So we are already spending a huge amount of money on cancer research. The Obama moonshot appears to be a private organization and it contributes $400 million per year to cancer research.

    The next big thing in cancer treatment is using the body's own immune system to kill cancer cells. So no chemo, radiation, surgery, removing body parts, etc. Or far less of it. Dana Farber Cancer Center built a cell manufacturing plant last year and I assume that they are working on Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes. This treatment is like building a custom drug based on your DNA and the DNA of the tumor. But there are hundreds of mutations and several dozen types of cancer so it will take a long time to develop treatments for each type of cancer.

    The survival rates for Stage 4 cancer are generally still very poor. Somewhat improving. I've seen many Stage 4s survive but far more die. Huge progress has been made for Stage 2s and 3s.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 12, 2019 ---
    This website lists the mutations for Colorectal Cancer and the mutation KRAS G12D which is the most common mutation for this kind of cancer. You can click on the left side to see all of the other mutations for just Colorectal Cancer. There are about 40 different types of cancer and they can have these and other mutations as well.

    https://www.mycancergenome.org/content/disease/colorectal-cancer/kras/34/

    Here's a diagram of a cell and the systems for cell creation. It's kind of like a complicated software system but it's coded chemically instead of via silicon. There are lots of places where the cell growth and death can go bad and this is why you get cancer.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. AlliFlowers Contributor

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    #13
    For years people have promised they were going to cure cancer. They believe it. I want to see it happen. It doesn't mean these people are ignorant of science - there are plenty of scientists who have made the same promise.

    When Biden says it, is because he's willing to put the money into both healthcare and research so that nobody will have to go through what he did with his son. It's not a promise like "I'm going to build a wall and the Mexicans are going to pay for it." It's a universal hope that everyone can buy into, and everyone wants to see happen. Not quite world peace, but it ranks high globally.

    Cancer doesn't belong to D or R, black or white, Russian or American. It's something we all want to see gone. But if we're not putting in the time and money, it's not going to happen.
     
  14. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

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    Selling (*) this type of hope is counterproductive. Just be honest, "we will invest as no one ever did in the research to fight cancer." That is enough. Hope is important, but it's also a double edged sword.

    (*) not implying that Biden is buying votes.
     
  15. Rogifan macrumors Core

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    Heh, reminds me of that West Wing episode where President Bartlett has dinner with his wife’s doctor friends and decides he wants to say he’s going to cure cancer in the state of the union. Of course it never happened because he realized it was a silly thing to say.
     
  16. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

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    ah! I forgot about that one!
     
  17. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    That what I meant by Biden declaring a priority with his Administration.
     
  18. Rogifan macrumors Core

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    Yeah that’s the one where he’s trying to deflect from a congressional censure by promising to cure cancer. Not sure what Biden’s deal is. He uses words like literally and figuratively a lot. Which did he mean here?
     
  19. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    Biden needs you on his staff to write his speeches.
     
  20. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    A good paper to understand a little of the difficulty is at

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4407814/

    Despite more than three decades of intensive effort, no effective pharmacologic inhibitors of the Ras oncoproteins have reached the clinic, prompting the widely held perception that Ras proteins are “undruggable”. However, there is renewed hope that this is not the case. In this review, we summarize the progress and promise of five key directions. First, we focus on the prospects of direct inhibitors of Ras. Second, we revisit the issue of whether blocking Ras membrane association is a viable approach. Third, we assess the status of targeting Ras downstream effector signalling, arguably the most favourable current direction. Fourth, we address whether the search for synthetic lethal interactors of mutant RAS still holds promise. Finally, Ras-mediated changes in cell metabolism have recently been described. Can these changes be exploited for new therapeutic directions? We conclude with perspectives on how additional complexities, not yet fully understood, may impact each of these approaches.

    Part of finding cures is to understand the mechanisms of cellular growth and death and we aren't there yet. If we can understand things exactly, then we can create drugs to target where things are going wrong. If we can get access to them. KRAS, NRAS, HRAS occur inside the cell with no surface markers (usually) so we can't target them. They just look like healthy cells. We have started to crack this problem but it's still very early stages.

    If you look at more current research, you'll get an idea as to the problems. Scientists many decades ago thought that they could cure it but we have far more information because of molecular pathology which basically saw great advances in technology from about 2001 - 2011. BTW, the inventor of Impossible Foods made some large contributions to genomic sequencing. It's like university degrees. When you get your Bachelors of Science, you think that you know everything about the field. When you get your MS, you start to realize how little you know. When you get your Phd, you realize how very little you know about your field. Scientists are learning more and more at the molecular level and this shows them how hard the problems are.

    The US is putting in massive amounts of money into cancer research.

    I'd give Biden a pass on this - people campaigning for President make dumb remarks. He made dumb remarks. It's the fault of his staff for not checking his speech.
     
  21. Khalanad75 macrumors 6502

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    I'm really sorry for your friend, but you don't die from MS.

    There are days when dealing with it I feel like I would rather be dead, but it won't kill you. It can make it easier for other things to kill you.
     
  22. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    She has paralysis over much of her body and can't even turn herself in bed. She needs 24 hour care and her ex-husband is providing it. She has a lot of GI problems and she's worried that that system is shutting down. So she is still alive but she's expressed that she would welcome death.

    I have another friend with Addisons. She contracted a C-Diff infection for some treatment and is not expected to survive that infection. She has been a great resource for other people going through cancer.

    I guess that you start seeing a lot of people with cancer, heart problems and many other issues when you reach my age.
     
  23. JagdTiger macrumors 6502

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    I already had cancer and I find the information said about Biden a horrible scenario since he has not cured any diseases yet.
     
  24. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    Some people with cancer just do what their doctors tell them to do. Some research the hell out of it to the point of understanding the molecular nature of cancer and some cell biology, especially if they have a research background.

    I've seen spouses control the treatment, read the pathology reports, blood tests and take their spouses to the hospital, both local and a hundred miles away, to keep them alive. So there are widely varying levels of understanding of cancer. Joe Biden had this happen with his son and his comments indicate that he hasn't spent a lot of time studying cancer. But that's the knowledge level of most people. Most people don't want the details. I do think that you need to understand what's going on because medical systems have inherent weaknesses and sometimes those weaknesses can kill you.

    But it also allows you to talk knowledgably with your oncologist, radiologist, surgeon and your nurses. You may also learn about clinical trials which can save your life when the conventional doesn't work.
     
  25. Khalanad75 macrumors 6502

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    That honestly sucks for her. My is mostly motor function, cognitive recall, and vision issues.

    One day I wake up feeling perfectly fine, next morning I wake up and my right leg just doesn't want to do anything cause it's not getting the signals. My vision will go from normal to tunnel vision for a couple of days. Other times it's double vision.

    The worst is the cognitive recall. You ever have a moment where you know a word and it's on the tip of your tongue, but you just can't get it to come out. That's me on upwards of 50 times a day. Sucks for someone who was an English major in college.

    But as I said, MS won't kill you. It will never be the "cause of death" unlike cancer.

    When I first got diagnosed, I had extended family come visit me that I hadn't seen in 10-12 years because they thought I would be dead soon. 17 years later still going at it.
     

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34 June 11, 2019