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A cure for cancer?

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Aldazar, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. Aldazar Gems: 24/31
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    Okay, so I was watchng the news last night and they had a story about some American invention which shoots protons into cancerous cells in order to cure the cancer. From what I undersatnd, it's only effective for some cancers so it's not a major thing, though it's still quite big. Then I see on A Current Affair after the news this:

    http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/stories/1744.asp

    He's been curing some forms of cancer for 30 years and there's been nothing about him until this week??? What the hell is up with that??

    Bureaucracy I guess. If I'd been in a position to know about it I'd have made DAMN sure to get it out in the public knowledge. I mean, call me stupid if it seems so but if there IS a cure of some sort for something that kills so many and is so confronting and hard to endure for so many, shouldn't we be welcoming and lauding (right word?) such a treatment?

    [ August 25, 2004, 05:47: Message edited by: Aldazar ]
     
  2. Baronius

    Baronius Mental harmony dispels the darkness ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    There are other ways of curing cancer too which aren't in the public eye; mainly because they aren't accredited, i.e. they're under testing yet.
     
  3. Jaguar Gems: 27/31
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    But if they hold potential, shouldn't they be reveled to the public at large?

    I mean, if I am going to die, and there is something that may work, what have I got to lose?
     
  4. Hugo Gems: 15/31
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    Aldazar, as you've already pointed out, it's a amtter of bureaucracy as medicines/treatments are forced to undergo rigirous tests before they may be used for mainstream people...
    Which makes sense if you're bringing out a new aspirin, but witholding (sp?) a cure that could save thousands of people just to make sure those that will most likely die regardless won't get killed by the cure... tis a silly world we live in
    :borg:
     
  5. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    There are many treatments which cure cancer but none are perfect as I doubt this is as well. So thus it isnt *the* cure for cancer but just another treatment and the media doesnt find it interesting.
     
  6. Sojourner Gems: 8/31
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    Mainstream media, anyway. It obviously received a lot of attention in the medical world:

     
  7. Abomination Gems: 26/31
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    Seems quite stupid that all treatments/cures that are 'under testing' still aren't listed. It should be a patient's choice to be perscribed 'under testing' classed medicines/treatments. Their doctor or GP should inform them of the chances of success and possible side effects. If they decide to take the treatment then they must sign a form stating that they understand they are taking a perscription that is not fully tested and no doctor can be held responsiable for any damaging side effects.

    If I was to die of cancer yet there was a treatment/cure that could possibly kill me or result in some form of damage I would gladly take that risk. At least I'll have a chance.
     
  8. Aldazar Gems: 24/31
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    I guess the reason I have a problem with the lack of attention by the media and the fact that it was never 'released' as such to the public knowledge is that AFAIK almost every single one of Dr Holt's patients (if not all) have nothing but praise for the Dr and his treatment as he promises nothing to begin with, and yet delivers the world as it were, and it also adds to my anger that my step-dad died a few months back from cancer, as did my favourite Aunt a few years ago (actually one year exactly to the day after Princess Diana died) and if this had been known about by the public at large, then such losses may have been averted. Not to mention the countless other Australians (not to mention those overseas) who would have benefitted if this process had been properly investigated long ago and brought to the public's attention.

    That's exactly what I mean too. I would hazard a guess that any who suffer from cancer would gladly take that risk if it meant a possible cure. Why do "they" (authorities - the omnipresent "they") have to be so stupid and slow?
     
  9. Vukodlak Gems: 22/31
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    Well, if you think that is stupid you're gonna love this.

    A few years ago I attended a conference where one of the speakers was a from the British government (ministry of health IIRC). Anyway, he talked about various vaccine trials that are currently underway and how they are progressing. Interestingly, in order to get approved, a vaccine not only has to cure disease but also has to be PROVEN to be safe - by trials in at least two species of mammals and then clinical trials. Furthermore, such a vaccine has to have a correlate to improvement of the symptoms AND a read-out of some sort - to confirm it has worked.

    Now, as you can see, getting a vaccine approved is no easy task and can last up to 10 years (!) from the vaccine being discovered.

    But here's the punchline. He ended the talk with a brief summary of the threat of bio-terrorism. He tells us, that in the case of a small-pox attack we shouldn't use the current vaccine!! Why, you may ask? Well, apparently it fails three of the above criteria: it is deeemed unsafe, there is no way to tell if it has worked in a patient, and (according to him) there are no well-established correlates to the amelioration of symptoms.

    WHAT? This is the only vaccine in history that has really worked! The variola vera virus (causal agent of small pox) was erradicated following the world-wide use of the vaccine.

    But, by the current standards of the british government, it is unsafe to use.
     
  10. Chimera Gems: 5/31
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    And the british government is correct. The pox vaccine is one of the most dangerous vaccines known.

    [ August 30, 2004, 15:10: Message edited by: Chimera ]
     
  11. Rallymama Gems: 31/31
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    This is effectively how clinical trials work. The trick is to have a doctor who is participating in the trial and therefore has access to the medication that's still under examination. Of course, joining a trial doesn't guarantee that you'll get the trial med instead of the comparison drug or a placebo.

    Have you ever wondered where the list of possible side effects that appears on every pharamceutical ad comes from. Yup, the clinical trials. Those are all the side effects that were reported by the subjects, and they could range in severity from minor to fatal. They could also range in frequency from only one subject to 90% of them.

    Clinical trials can be cut short for two reasons. One is that the medication is proving uneffective and/or harmful, and the other is that the medication is proving to be so wildly beneficial that it would be unethical to keep it form the remaining participants. The danger in this is that some side-effects may take a long time to manifest.
     
  12. Vukodlak Gems: 22/31
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    Well, yes, that is true. It's also one of the few effective ones. I'm not saying a safer vaccinia vaccine could not be developed. However, if a new smallpox epidemic happened NOW, I want the one I know works. I am healthy, haven't had any skin disorders and my immune system is not compromised. My chances with the pox vaccine are quite good - both to survive the infection and not to get any severe side-effects.

    Point being, vaccinia hasn't really gone through stringent trials of the kind that vaccines todady would get. But, it went through its own trial by fire, as it were, and came out with flying colours.
     
  13. Chimera Gems: 5/31
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    Because it would fail the tests.
     
  14. Vukodlak Gems: 22/31
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    Yes. The point I am trying to make is that the tests are not really appropriate becuase they would eliminate one of the VERY FEW true success stories in vaccinology.

    I am told that the common potato would fail all safety tests if it were genetically engineered. It contains too many toxins to be deemed safe.
     
  15. Abomination Gems: 26/31
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    Frankly, by only consuming 'safe' products we in turn are killing ourselves anyway. If everything had to pass these strict tests we would lose almost all immunity to harmful agents which would result in people being afflicted by a disease far more often. But that's a little off topic.

    I think it's safe to say we all agree the system is a bit whack in the case that people who suffer from terminal illnesses are not given the opportunity to try experimental procedures.
     
  16. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Yeah Abomination, we should all eat more expired food so that we can build up our immunity.

    The two main problems with the 'system' are the threat of litigation (therefore companies need to make sure they cover themselves as much as possible from charges of negligence) and the power of the pharmaceutical companies. I predict that there will never be a cure for certain diseases because there's just not as much money to be made out of 'cures' as there is to be made out of 'treatments' that simply relieve symptoms (that come back as soon as you stop taking and paying for the drugs).
     
  17. Tassadar Gems: 23/31
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    A typical drug takes 10 years or more to develop.

    At the preclinical stage, before clinical trials, the key steps are:

    Mass compound screening against a panel of cell lines.

    Active candidates tested for effect against human tumour xenografts on mice.

    Considering candidate compounds are effectively selected here for clinical trials, these models should accurately reflect what will go on in a human patient. So let's look at the models.

    Cell lines. Quick to grow, easy to maintain, high-throughput, convenient, no problem with animal ethics. Great, just test all your compounds against a whole array of cell lines from different origins and see which ones are most effective. Once you find a cell line that responds to one of your agents, develop a model for a uniquely specific type of cancer! It doesn't matter if it doesn't work in any other cell line. We will get published if it works spectacularly in just one cell line. If it works in any others, it's a bonus. If it doesn't we will just say "our drug is unique because it targets a very specific intracellular pathway which could have an anti-tumourigenic effect". Who cares that cancer is actually a heterogenous population of cells that all behave differently. As long as we get funding for the next 3 years.

    Mice. Mice are not humans. Therefore, anti-cancer compounds tested in mice do not work in people. Why do we keep doing it? Because that is one of the prime requirements before your drug is approved by the FDA and can proceed any further: show your compound works in a murine xenograft model. One of the most difficult things to do is to give mice cancer. We use tumours of human origin and implant them into nude (immunocompromised) mice so they don't reject them. These tumours do not even remotely reflect the aggressive, genetically unstable nature of naturally occuring human tumours. You could inject sea salt and these xenografts would regress.

    The current processes required for getting a drug or any form of anti-cancer treatment out on the market suck. So why do we use these models, when they are clearly very poor choices? Because there is no other alternative, short of using the criminally insane.
     
  18. Abomination Gems: 26/31
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    I never said that. I said that the strict controls do more harm than good in the long run. Sure we shouldn't eat raw potatoes and such because that will kill us. However if something hasn't been washed 20 damn times before it's eaten doesn't mean it'll kill you.
     
  19. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Ah, there's nothing wrong with eating food that is a few days past its expiry date. It toughens you up.
     
  20. Elendrile Gems: 5/31
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    The entire premise of "I'm the patient, I'll make the descisions about my treatment" is entirely foolish. No MD can possibly know all there is to know about the incomprehensibly large field that is medicine, it's hard enough for them just to keep updated in their section of expertise. So if you tell your doctor "I've heard of treatment X and I want to give it a try" you are assuming (1) that they've actually heard of it and (2) that they know enough about the pros and cons of the treatment to prescribe it. Now, lets say your doctor is not comfortable prescribing said treatment and you feel you have the right to demand it, that would mean you must know more about medicine than your doctor. Considering doctors spend a good decade or more in school and their residencies, you wont know more (unless of course you see them at work everyday). It is an arrogant presumption that taking high school biology and chemistry and watching a half-hour program on Discovery Health can prepare you to make the descisions that take much, much more experience and consideration. All doctors have sworn an oath to do no harm, and that includes protecting patients from themselves.

    Yes Bureaucracy can suck. The FDA's standards might be harsh today, but remember 100 years ago we were breeding morphine addicts. I for one, truly believe that knowing more about the experimental drugs before they go to market will be better off than if we were to rush them out. In the mean time, trust your doctor. There truly is no greater wisdom than trusting someone who is more knowledgable than you.
     
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