Scientists cure cancer but no one cares?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by chrono1081, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #1
  2. Dr Kevorkian94, Dec 30, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011

    Dr Kevorkian94 macrumors 68020

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    #2
    Interesting, i would love to know if this is legitimate. If this is true then there should be a protest or some sort of demand from the people. Not that we can make companies do this but if it is as simple as they say it its I'm sure a regular hospital or pharmacy could just do it. I'm not sure if it works like that but I'm sure something can be done, lets give the duh-duh-duhs protesting on wall street something not dumb to protest lol jk.

    edit: found this: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/05/dichloroacetate_and_cancer.php

    still promising but not as hopeful
     
  3. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Smoke and black magic.

    Cancer is not as simple as the media portrays it to be. In essence it is a disease of self... with many underlying causes (read: immortality events + oncogenes turned on = bad). As such there's no magic bullet for everyone; the causes therein vary wildly (and many aren't known).

    Many a people claim to "cure" cancer based off of cell culture (aka in vitro). As you may well imagine, this is a giant fallacy as cultured cells do not consider the effect of migration and localized environmental factors, among other things. In essence it is a system that is far too simplistic. Animal models suffer from different shortcomings... the relevance between man and most animals (such as mice) is almost nil; even mice with human immune systems fail to properly mimic humans. Monkeys, though expensive, can also be a risk-- many drugs look promising in animals but fail in man (or later on in Phase 3). In terms of cancer many models rely on xenografts... they "transplant" cancer at a "young" state (read: small tumor size) and then treat... the issue here is that many people do not allow the xenograft to settle and/or metastasize, and thus claim a "cure" based on a fresh xenograft or a local injection (into the tumor). Ergo in vivo studies fail to accurately portray the reality of cancer.

    The original article is chalked full of fallacies...clearly the person who wrote it has no knowledge of any science. There's so much wrong with it I don't even know where to begin... I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the stupidity of mankind (and how people are eating this up).
     
  4. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #5
    "I can't blame the industry for not following up on this: a clinical trial costs millions of dollars, and even if DCA pans out, there is no profit at all to be gained from it. For this research, we have to turn to public support (they have an interest in better cancer treatments!) and to scientists and doctors themselves, who of course have a great personal interest in seeing their patients get better."

    I dislike the above paragraph. The profit will be scientific knowledge, and if a cure is found the savings will be invaluable.
    Maybe the cure will not be found as a direct result, but it might trigger some other useful applications.

    If a fraction of the money used in wars is used to fund research for curing diseases like cancer, we will be living in a better world.

    Is very sad how the world works.

    I still think that we can do better than this.
     
  5. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    DCA does not work, nor will it ever work. Read what has been posted above. There is no statistical proof that it will work in man, ever. A "small" clinical study done by researchers in Canada on 5 people is anything but scientific or statistically correct. If you read my post, you'd see that mice models are easy to cheat on. Furthermore, I saw no mention of a double blind study. Many things work on mice and other "lower" order animals. Most therapeutics do not work in humans, and fail sometime between Phases 1-3.

    If it was as simple as modulating anaerobic and other one hit pathways everyone would be millionaires at this point--unfortunately, this is not the case. Take for example the article posted first; lactic acid does NOT "destroy neighboring cells, allowing for it to invade." It's slightly more acidic than acetic acid. Lactic acid isn't actually even produced from lactate or other glycolytic intermediates usually due to pH, thus the concept of anaerobic processes causing acidosis is rather inaccurate. Cancer cells are naturally mobile (as are all cells). Chemotaxis, haptotaxis, and durotaxis dictate cell mobility and movement, with the mechanism of movement dependent upon the local environment (not lactic acid magically causing acidosis and destruction of neighboring cells). Pharma tried to stop metathesis pathways before; they tried blocking mesynchemal cells via metal protease inhibitors. The issue is that cells are much more complicated and dynamic than that; inhibition of MMP means that Rac/WAVE gets switched to Rho/ROCK (to oversimplify it) and thus the cell switches morphology to become amoeboid, and thus still migrates.

    Not so interesting I'm afraid. Wikipedia is blatantly wrong, in fact, with this statement, "BCG has been used against tuberculosis for a long time on millions of people with no consequences." BCG is a bacteria that has FAP which likes integrin receptors (through the heparin binding loop)-- it's typically used in bladder cancer. BCG binds to cancer cells which is then taken up for destruction by the immune system. The issue however is safety-- often administration of BCG results in a systemic bacterial infection, and since the mode of targeting is a foreign construct, it's immunogenic, so there can typically only be a handful of repeat treatments (if you're lucky). Accordingly BCG is NOT a good therapeutic to use. What Jacinto wanted to do was use BCG to again "immuno tag" cancer so that the immune system would destroy it, this time in other places. It's not a vaccine, and is entirely dependent upon repeat BCG treatment (which as a bacteria it also likes certain environments and conditions-- in bladder cancer BCG is injected via catheter with PBS buffered at pH 8; the periodic voiding of the bladder is an additional challenge). There's also an issue with tumor morphology-- BCG can only reach luminal cells-- it cannot get to the bottom of the pile, so to say. Your body cannot recognize and kill cancer cells on it's own (since they're your cells, essentially), thus some other mechanism of action is required.
     
  6. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #7
    In my lay world, I think that the only hope is to stop the 'youth' gene from switching-off about mid-life.

    Perhaps then the body can replace damaged pre-cancerious cells before they become true cancer.

    Childhood cancers would still be a problem, but even now child-onset leukemia has a 95% cure rate. :cool:
     
  7. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #8
    darkplanets: I do not have the scientific knowledge to get into the details of how any of those methods will be successful or not, and despite what I think is real is that what is needed is something that by today's standards is considered impossible to achieve or not explicable by the current scientific knowledge, and also that there might not be full motivation to accomplish it by public or private funding as there is no short term profit.
    I do find interesting that the effort of one person aided to make progress for curing a disease like leprosy, and it is trying to obtain some kind of progress using the knowledge gained with another diseases.
    If the result will be short term effective or not that is another story.
    What do you think should be done to make a faster progress towards finding a cure for cancer?
     
  8. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #9
    Ugh.

    "Cancer" is not the monolithic "disease" that the lay person is lead to believe it to be.

    Biology is bloody complicated, people. Science journalism is bad enough; the website in the OP is beyond terrible.
     
  9. darkplanets, Dec 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012

    darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    There is actually a large motivation to cure cancer, both by private and public sources. There is a huge money grab available for the victor, thus while there's no "short-term" profits garnered by failure, the holy grail of a cure (and the massive market for it) far outstrips the negatives. Big pharma has spent billions (and 30 years) trying to develop cures for cancers from simple chemo drugs to kinase inhibitors to protease inhibitors... thus far nothing with control has been created (mostly; there are some kinase inhibitors that work for selective cancer subsets that are based around a specific cause, but do not cover the entire base infected-- perhaps 10% instead in some cases). The most successful agents to date are simply mass cell death tools; they all are either massively cytotoxic through cytoskeletal destruction or intercalate (dox), bend (cisplatin), or introduce dummy AA (gem) to DNA so that the cell has problems binding transcription factors and undergoing day to day functions. Those cells that are more active (cancerous) are affected the most -- other cells are still impacted though, thus all the negative chemo effects.

    In regards to making a faster progress towards finding a cure for cancer-- there's only one answer (that no one likes); more money. Cancer is incredibly complicated (and there's no guaranteed one cure fits all); even to this day we don't understand it well. That is the biggest hinderance towards designing appropriate therapeutics; we need to know much, much more in order to really be able to treat it effectively. The only way this can be done in a timely matter is through more money, but the trick is to spend that money wisely. Typically academia spends money more effectively than industry, but at the flip side academia doesn't have some of the resources that industry has nor the expertise, and thus is incredibly slow. The best strategy is to continue the current course of action-- money in both areas. Industry is great at identifying drug targets, receptors, inhibitors, etc in a timely fashion via experience and high throughput screening. Academia is good at exploring the less profitable aspects of cancer such as specific pathways and cell death, etc. A lot of profitless research has to be done before we can effectively design therapeutics with a higher probability of success in man.

    That said, there are some promising things coming up in the not so distant future. If we can finally jump the hurdle into DNA and siRNA delivery in man (aka if Mark Davis gets through Phase III), it will provide another possible course of treatment outside protein and small molecule therapeutics. It won't be the magic bullet, however, just another tool. The real area that needs to be hit hard in the short term is targeting and/or delivery-- if we can selectively target cancer cells (or get the agents in via a local) we can kill them... there's toxins out there with femtomolar toxicities. The trick to this strategy is to identify cancer cells, deliver agents, and not kill surrounding healthy cells. The latter is the biggest hurdle at the moment caused by shortcomings in the former. Without better understanding we can't design gentle, precise methods of treatment-- we essentially have to hit the problem with a large hammer. It's currently the best course of action until we understand more-- eventually targeting and selective delivery might not be needed as we wont be hitting the problem with a such a broad kill-all solution.
     
  10. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #11
    Many thanks to darkplanets for some useful information to counteract the simplistic and horribly misleading reportage.


    And to mobilhealthi for saying precisely what I intended to say - but beat me to it.:D
     
  11. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #12
    Ima kicking off if this is true. Leukaemia runs in my family.
     
  12. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    #13
    If this was indeed true, which I doubt somewhat, then it's obvious why the pharmaceutical companies are not interested. The money's in the treatment, not the cure.
     
  13. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #14
    As cynical as I am, and as much as big pharma is not exactly altruistic, this ignores that curative and preventive vaccines do exist (e.g. Salk vaccine for polio).

    I don't believe that curative and preventive drugs are ignored or suppressed. The theory that AIDS vaccine exists but is not available in the name of the profits available from life long treatment edges into paranoid conspiracy theory for me.

    Anytime conspiracy theories are questioned, the questioner is called "naive". Perhaps, and big pharm's greed is legendary - but I don't believe that the science behind such developments can be effectively suppressed within the scientific community.

    Maybe just wishful thinking...:D
     
  14. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    You're spot on. There's no need for tinfoil hats-- no one is colluding against mankind and the progress of medical science, especially pharma. They're the last ones to consider such an option, and that's because of how the patent laws are written. Typically you patent an idea prior or just during clinical trials. That gives you a 20 year window for sales, ideally. Clinical trials take ~7 years (unless you do the combi ones, etc)-- once it's all said and done (and provided your drug works!) you have 13 years of free reign on the market with an average cost of $1 billion to bring it there (with the other 20 failed drugs before it adding to the cost even more). 13 years is not a lifetime. All of those retroviral drugs that are part of the HIV cocktail are slowly "dying"... in a few more years they cannot be used to make a profit by the original companies who came up with them because of two reasons: 1) patents expire and generics then start manufacturing, undercutting the cost massively, 2) generics are aggressively trying to circumvent your patent claims (as they typically do), thus you may lose 5 years on your 13 year market window. With these factors in place, it's incredibly challenging and costly to secure a pipleline, and development of new material has to be constant. Their profit margins are dependent upon exclusive rights... in reality all of the pharma companies are competing against each-other tooth and nail for the next big title drug. Hence why people are working on HIV vaccines-- it's a way to trump your opponent and secure a nice chunk of your pipeline for the next decade or so. Make no doubt that it will be expensive, as expected, but whoever develops it will trounce their opponents for the time being and secure a sizable pile of cash.

    As per the academic community-- they too are looking to create such a vaccine, and have been for some time. You cannot "suppress" science-- in academics the bellwether of their prestige and knowledge is their base publications and discoveries; accordingly no PI is not going to publish something so groundbreaking-- it would guarantee tenure, possibly a Nobel prize, and definitely open a lot of doors.
     
  15. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #16
    Are you in the bone marrow registry, as a precaution??
     
  16. vitzr macrumors 68030

    vitzr

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    #17
    Sadly Cancer is too big of a business to be "cured" anytime soon.
     
  17. Papanate macrumors regular

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    #18
    I disagree. There is more profit to be had by stringing along 'fixes' instead of cures. And I think the the 'industry' as it were see's long term profits in temp fixes.

    Just like the 'Common Cold'. Cold 'Remedies' garner far greater long term profits than a cure ever will. Hence...no cures are proffered.
     
  18. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #19
    While I very much appreciate your cynicism, talking about "cures" for "cancer" and "the common cold" makes many assumptions about the nature of cancer and colds and about the nature of modern and near-future medicine.

    Rest assured though that not only would such a hypothetical "cure" cost a lot, but people would still get cancer and colds.
     
  19. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    It's a bit more complicated than that, I'm afraid. Please read my previous posts. There is no magic bullet, nor will there ever really be-- the variation is massive, to say the least, and the understanding is minimal. People's distrust of large corporations is understandable I suppose, but these are also institutions of science-- people who came from and work with NPOs, academia, etc. The employees do want to cure these diseases and help people on the whole. (Some only care about themselves, of course, but that exists in any area since its a characteristic of mankind). Academics typically don't are about "business" in the literal sense-- they may sell a technology, but very few want to create and run a business. Accordingly they hold no bars as to what they publish and research. Also know that companies themselves still publish in journals as well (and usually quite a bit, too). I think people need to drop the "industry is bad" mantle but whenever there's something that's generally not understood the worst is always assumed. Make no mistake that they're trying to cure it because there is money involved-- since it's not going to be a one-size-fits all job there's going to be plenty of room for plenty of treatments. As I said before pharma has been spending billions and 30 years working on kinase inhibitors, just to name one possible approach.

    A pessismistic view undoubtedly garned by lack of understanding. These "fixes" are the best mankind can do, at the moment. And these "fixes" are all competing against eachother. Please read some of my previous posts. Again, when it comes to science there's not a black and white answer-- if a company (lets say Merck and Co, since they're hurting) were to come out with a cure for bladder cancer that covered 90% of the tumor population... you bet your ass they would market that into oblivion to maximise their profits and outcompete their rivals. See, the issue isn't that their colluding to negate treatment, the issue is that there is no quick route to a "cure" at the moment. Biology is complicated-- there's not quick fixes and shortcuts in most cases, at least in regards to cancer.

    I dislike to call you out on this... but your notion of a common cold cure exposes your lack of knowledge in the area. There are no cut and dry cures for the common cold, hence why none are offered. A common cold is a viral infection, of which there's probably 30,000 variants at any one time. This means 30,000 differences among themselves, with different genetics, proteins, receptors, etc. When you're designing an anti-viral, you typically want to select for one protein type to knock out of function to stop viral activity. It sounds simple on paper, but in reality it's not. There was an effort awhile ago to target the injection machinery for viruses (I forget which one(s))-- they made inhibitors, etc. Looked good on paper and preliminary tests. Thing is, it failed miserably in animals for one simple reason: most viruses mutate quickly. Very quickly. It's how they survive. You can design a "cure" for something (which may be one of the thousands of common colds), only to have it mutate away the next day... in essence the virus behaves much like your own immune system, which is why your body can cope with it (via polyclonal antibodies and clonal selection, which is a function of mass mutations within the antibody chains). Accordingly the best way to combat the common cold is to use yourself... which is the whole point of vaccines (hence the flu vaccine). The idea here is that you inject a broad range of dead viruses to which your body develops polyclonal antibodies to their features... the next time something similar comes along one of the polyclonals will likely fit and bind even with mass mutations (because the antibodies themselves are mutated)... from here clonal selection pretty much does the rest and your body can cope quickly. I'm simplifying this a lot, but this is exactly why large viral classes cannot be shut down by small molecule therapeutics.

    That said, there are some anti-virals out there. They are highly specific and only work on one virus type, which typically does not mutate quickly and retains certain defining features. "The common cold" is not one of those, since it encompasses such a large pool of vastly different organisms. Also note that these antivirals too are still subject to being ineffective through mutations-- tamiflu for swine flu won't work on an increasing percentage of cases, for example. Given the cost to develop these (and the high failure rate), and the massive number it would take to "cure" the common cold, it only makes sense that they're focusing on the important diseases first... a common cold isn't likely to kill you, whereas H1N1, HIV, influenza A and B, etc will. Outside of vaccines there will probably never be a practical antiviral drug for the "common cold."
     
  20. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #21
    Cheers for going into the kind of detail I'm too lazy to type!
     
  21. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    No problem :p. Usually I'm too lazy to even type a response to most of the things I read... I guess I'm just in a special mood lately or something.:eek:
     
  22. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #23
    The tin-foil hat brigade seem to be out in force!

    Frankly I'd hope they don't waste time finding a cure to the common cold. Why would I want billions spent on finding a 'cure' for what is a minor, but complex, disease?

    On another note if they did find a cure, how would that lower profit? People would still get colds, and they would buy the cure instead of the remedy. Then they would buy it again when they next get a cold.

    Any drug company that finds a 'cure' for cancer will rake in enormous profits whilst it is still patented. Even afterwards it can still sell in the open market. Plus, people will still get cancer and will need treating. On top of that a cure is unlikely to be instant and so other drugs like pain killers etc are still likely to be needed. Drug companies and academic researchers really do want to find a cure!
     
  23. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #24
    Happy and Healthy 2012

    Thanks for all the details provided.

    What I don't fully understand is why it seems that there is not enough sharing of new information that can help make progress faster.

    Is there an 'Open Source' Medical Science movement?
    If the private sectors share their findings more openly there could be faster developments.

    What about organizations like WHO?

    Once again, if governments stop spending money in wars and start using those funds for medical research for cures of diseases and full erratication of well known diseases we will be making more progress as humans.
     
  24. deafgoose macrumors regular

    deafgoose

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    #25
    There is no money in a cure.

    Watch the movie Forks Over Knives and you will understand what is the main cause of cancer.

    They also prove that if you remove meat/dairy from your diet, you cannot get cancer.

    If you already have cancer and you cut meat/dairy out of your diet, it cannot progress and many times it will regress!
     

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