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  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by GingerCoffee, Jun 21, 2014.

    Should you believe this claim?

    Not as it is stated, but there is nuance here that is useful to understand.

    First, one needs to look at the original research, the websites the link goes to is a quack site that promotes claims like Kevin Trudeau's, "The Cures They Don't Want You to Know About." In case you weren't aware, he's been convicted twice of fraud and spent time in jail. He's out and back on the infomercial circuit again selling his bait and switch scheme once again. You buy the book and it tells you you need to buy an additional subscription because he can't reveal these secrets in the book.

    There is no conspiracy by Big Pharma or anyone else to suppress cancer cures so they can sell you theirs.

    But I digress. Here's the original paper: A Mitochondria-K+ Channel Axis Is Suppressed in Cancer and Its Normalization Promotes Apoptosis and Inhibits Cancer Growth.

    What's important to note in that article is they discuss an hypothesis and a preliminary study.

    There is a ton of research like this, a lot of it very promising. But it takes years from this stage of research to the development and testing of a treatment on living humans with cancer.

    Then there is a short piece in New Scientist: Cheap, 'safe' drug kills most cancers. New Scientist is a popular magazine, not a scientific journal and the study does not make the claim this headline makes, not by a long shot.

    Notice the study was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health. Canada has national health coverage. There is no Big Pharma motivation to not move forward with this research. I assure you if it leads to a tested cheap, 'safe' drug kills most cancers, it will make it to the market. No one has the power to stop that. The CIH has every reason to continue funding the research as do multiple other sources of research funding not connected to a profit interested drug company.

    Sometimes new treatments are approved in other countries like Canada and the UK before the US FDA accepts the drug for use here, but there's not conspiracy involved, just the expense of testing and providing the results to the FDA assuring it's safety.

    People see movies like Dallas Buyer's Club (great movie by the way) and believe the FDA is an enemy of the people. It's not the case. If you look into the history of the group ActUp that campaigned for fast tracking drugs for HIV and terminal illnesses, in the years after they began their efforts, many of the original members began to recognize the importance of not taking every promising drug and running with it.

    Some benefits of AZT were squandered because people rushed ahead on the initial promises. And you can't blame them, they were desperate. A good friend of mine died of HIV during that timeframe. What happened though, was drug resistance developed within months of starting the drug. So timing of when you started it affected how long it would extend one's life.

    Shortly after AZT was fast tracked additional drugs were developed and using more than one drug at a time greatly extended the time until drug resistance developed. Now HIV has been changed from a fatal disease to a chronic disease with medications. Treatment has been fine tuned as to when to start which drugs. What ActUp members came to recognize was the importance of proper research. It's a balance.

    If I or a loved one was suffering the end stage of some cancer, I would be frustrated as hell that this promise of treatment was not fully developed. It's incredibly sad that my friend died just a few years short of effective treatment for HIV.

    There were 919 hits in PubMed searching for "dichloroacetate", the drug in this study that is supposed to be a cheap safe cure for cancer. Not all the studies were directly related but many were and many have positive results. AZT also had positive initial results and this is so reminiscent of those early AZT days.

    Snopes has a decent discussion of the issues. Snopes is usually copy protected but in this case I can quote from it and they explain it better than I can.

    It has so far only been tried on a handful of humans. Two of the philosophical guidelines I use recommending unproven treatments to patients: If there is no alternative you are trading the unproven treatment for, and, if the treatment is safe, then I'm not against it. That means it may be worth using this treatment in patients that have failed to respond to everything else available.

    To go out and buy it from the scammers like Dr Mercola and buying books about it from Kevin Trudeau are not things anyone should do. They are known scammers.

    Crowdsourcing has filled in the Wiki page on the drug: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichloroacetic_acid


    But read on:




     
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  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't know if this is true, but I heard that something like 90% of cancers can be cured if detected in stage 1.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The number would be quite high. I don't know the actual number, one could find it though with a little searching because the data from cancers found in stage one could be analyzed.

    Some tumors are extremely aggressive and others are not.
     
  4. Killian Jones
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    Killian Jones Banned

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    If a company has an interest in making money, the idea that they would not desire to cause their revenue to decrease seems a legitimate concern, prima facie.

    We know that companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca have acted against the health of people in favor of the bottom line so the scenario is definitely plausible, if not expected.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There are a couple misconceptions about Big Pharma conspiracy theories, and some valid conceptions but not necessarily valid beliefs about the consequences of those.

    One is that they suppress research. This is true, they've been caught red handed by whistleblowers.

    It's also been exposed by researchers like Ben Goldacre that we have some unintended research biases. Negative outcomes tend not to get published.

    "Bad Pharma" by Ben Goldacre
    Why and How I Wrote Bad Pharma.

    The point is, I'm well aware of the issues but they have nothing to do with this avenue of research being quashed.

    So, next we need to look at funding the research. The claim is drug companies don't want to fund research on a drug that cannot be patented. That doesn't stop drug companies from researching potential cancer cures. All they need to do is create a designer drug that can be patented.

    In addition many unpatented drugs are wildly successful. Look at the trillion dollar supplement market if you don't believe me.

    But the third thing Big Pharma conspiracy theorists don't seem to notice is drug companies are not the only organizations that fund research, especially cancer research. It looked to me when I searched Pub Med for articles on this particular potential cancer treatment that it wasn't being ignored at all. There is ongoing research on the drug, including some phase II clinical trials that I mentioned in the OP.

    The people that haven't taken notice are the news media. But the medical research community has.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm sure there's a desire to win the Nobel Prize. :p
     
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  7. Killian Jones
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    Killian Jones Banned

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    Prizes don't buy gold-plated swimming pools. :)
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    But the $1 million that comes with it might.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You've not addressed the issues I posted. Does that mean you get it and agree?

    Were you surprised to find out research was indeed going on with the drug you posted about?
     
  10. Killian Jones
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    Killian Jones Banned

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    Oh yes I agree with pretty much everything you posted, but I thought you were giving big pharma some sort of pass or something. They're not angels. However, the universities do a lot of research too.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I assure you I didn't give drug manufacturers a pass. But they also don't deserve all the evil that is often attributed to them. Profits fund some wonderful breakthroughs. If only we could get the Libertarians to figure out publicly funded medical research is also a critical piece of the picture.
     
  12. Killian Jones
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    Killian Jones Banned

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    Curious, on what grounds do they oppose it? Isn't medical research good for everyone?
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    The strict Libertarian POV is that the free market solves all problems and government can never do an efficient job when it comes to innovation. It's very short sighted.

    The free market in medicine encourages short term gain and developing copycat drugs to take a known market share while discouraging tying up capital in pursuit of long term gain.

    The ideal is that a better drug would be successful. Instead, better advertising is the competitive edge instead of a better drug. So the market is flooded with new statins, while no company wants to invest in a needed new antibiotic. Statins have a known market.

    With a new antibiotic prescribers would be advised to conserve it's use to prevent drug resistance from developing. Any R&D would mean capital tied up because return on investment would be long term. It's in the drug company's interest to wait until drug resistant infections were rampant thus the market large before tying up capital in R&D.
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Isn't it the case that certain types of cancer will likely not be 'cured' as they are too well bred into our genetics?
     
  15. chicagoliz
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    There really needs to be a much greater investment by the government into R&D, particularly in the area of antibiotics. We're running out of effective antibiotics, due to the bacterial evolution and our overuse. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of money in it right now. Pfizer had the LAST big R&D devoted to new antibiotics, but it was not profitable and they shut it down. This is absolutely what we need the government for -- to pick up the slack and close the gaps that exist in the capitalist free market, but where we nonetheless really need action taken. By the time we NEED the antibiotics and the economics will incentivize private companies enough to develop new antibiotics, it will be too late for many people.

    And the FDA doesn't regulate the supplement market at all. The supplement lobbyists used their $$ to get Congress to pass a law taking away the authority for the FDA to regulate supplements, even though this makes no sense whatsoever.
    We also need much greater oversight by the FDA over our food and drugs -- especially with respect to inspecting imports. In a related matter, here's an example of where we've got a big failure in our food system:
    http://www.alternet.org/environment/why-food-labelled-organic-no-guarantee-safety-shocking-levels-heavy-metals-found?page=0%2C0&src=newsletter1009682

    We're screwed. Soon we'll be back to the days in the 1800s where people sold all kinds of stuff, much of it actually harmful to your health, despite the claims to the contrary.
     
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That makes no sense to me. Can you be more specific?

    I think what you are saying is the genetic risk factor makes cancer recurrence have a high likelihood. That's not the same as eliminating the tumors that then arise from the genetic risk. The risk is not the disease.

    In the future, however, we'll likely develop a means to shut a gene off. We already know how to do that in a more limited way. It's only a matter of time (and money).
     
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  17. Edward M. Grant
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    The 'free market' in medicine where the government makes companies spent ten years testing them before they can be sold? The 'free market' in medicine where the government then gives them a monopoly on sales of that drug and bans re-import of the same drug from other countries?

    It's fortunate that we're moving out of the witch doctoring era of medicine and into the engineering era where anyone will be able to modify their DNA in their garage in a couple of decades. That will really be a free market.
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If you don't think the FDA regulations protect you, I recommend you take a look at the safety of pharmaceuticals in China and India.

    The drug patent system could use some changes, especially where high prices are unnecessarily maintained beyond what is needed to protect R&D investments. I'd love to see a cost recovery with reasonable profits consistent with the time the capital was tied up and the need to reward innovation. But the free market depends on copyright and patent laws, so I'm not sure what alternative you have in mind.

    As for the "couple decades garage science" prediction, I think that might be a little optimistic but progress in medical science is advancing in leaps and bounds in the area of genetic and molecular research.
     
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