×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Virus Tamed To Attack Cancer, Cancer Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the and-alcohol-to-treat-the-common-cold dept.

Medicine 128

ScienceDaily is reporting that scientists at Oxford University seem to have adapted a virus so that it attacks cancer cells but does not hurt healthy cells. "Adenovirus is a DNA virus widely used in cancer therapy but which causes hepatic disease in mice. Professor Len Seymour and colleagues found that introducing sites into the virus genome that are recognized by microRNA 122 leads to hepatic degradation of important viral mRNA, thereby diminishing the virus' ability to adversely affect the liver, while maintaining its ability to replicate in and kill tumor cells." Relatedly, cancer drugs already approved for use may be cross-functional as a treatment for alcohol addiction. "Now, the researchers show that flies and mice treated with erlotinib also grow more sensitive to alcohol. What's more, rats given the cancer-fighting drug spontaneously consumed less alcohol when it was freely available to them. Their taste for another rewarding beverage -- sugar water -- was unaffected."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

128 comments

I am Legend? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28085741)

Shaded of I Am Legend here...

Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1, Insightful)

Yaddoshi (997885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28085799)

Presumably these scientists have never heard of "I Am Legend"...

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28085859)

I'd take being a blood crazed freak over dying from cancer any day.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086303)

Surely, you mean any night. [wikipedia.org]

"Every day, Neville prepares for nightly sieges from a vampire horde. Neville spends the daylight hours repairing his house: boarding windows, hanging garlic garlands, disposing of vampire corpses and gathering supplies. Once darkness falls, the infected come out of hiding and lay siege to Neville's house. They taunt him and attempt to entice him out â" he recognizes one vampire as a former friend, Ben Cortman."

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

jnork (1307843) | more than 4 years ago | (#28091103)

Friend of mine gave me a copy of the Will Smith I Am Legend movie and I finally watched it last night. I have to say reading this today was just frickin' creepy.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (4, Insightful)

Harinezumi (603874) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086077)

Because we all know that movie script writers always do their homework to get their science right and never ever engage in simple-minded fearmongering.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086511)

If I were religious, I would hope for a special place in Hell for screenwriters who demonize a new technology before it even has a chance. When I saw I Am Legend, the first thing I thought was, "This movie will be brought up in every discussion about medically repurposing viruses from now on."

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086615)

Because we all know that movie script writers always do their homework to get their science right

Well, they did their homework pretty well in "I Am Legend".

Everybody knows that the only way to survive the Zombie movie is with a 12-gauge shotgun. Will Smith's character uses the M4 carbine, and dies. His companion, Alice Braga's character, uses a shotgun and survives. QED

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (0, Troll)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28089335)

Because we all know that movie script writers always do their homework to get their science right and never ever engage in simple-minded fearmongering.

No, they would NEVER [imdb.com] do that.

LK

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086243)

I Am Legend? Wait, wasn't that a recently released Will Smith movie (yes, I had to google that)? Why the hell would scientists be interested in a Will Smith movie?

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086343)

Not scientists, scientologists.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

BobisOnlyBob (1438553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086555)

Will Smith used to hang with Scientologists, but only because they're movie stars and he has to work with them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Smith#Personal_life [wikipedia.org]
He's overly accepting of them for my liking, but to public knowledge, has only paid money to their charitable "outer" groups, as opposed to funding the cancer that is the Church itself.

Hard to say, though. He might already be one of them.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

Annorax (242484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086747)

Scientology is tax shelter.

"I donate millions to my church!"

"Hey, my church lets me drive around this nice Maserati and cruise around in its nice 45 foot yacht."

Duh.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087245)

1) Make up an unrealistic story. Make sure it is not testable and that it conflicts with common reality (this will help select your target audience: gullible people)..
2) Distance them from reality and non-believers (physically or mentally).
3) Empty their pockets (aka. Profit!)

Everyone, please introspect if you are being conned using the same scheme.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087855)

Scientology is tax shelter.

If only that was all scientology is.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086245)

As I recall, there were lots of perfectly normal infected people, just trying to live their lives, while the one uninfected guy ran around butchering them. So I guess what you're saying is we should administer the drug to everyone, just to be safe?

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (2, Informative)

moogied (1175879) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086663)

No one will get this sir.

I am legend the book was about the story he just said. One guy thought he was the only survivor, but lived ONLY during the day. As such, he never saw the "crazy vampires" at night. SOME of them were indeed insane.. but most of them were normal people that just looked crazy. Anyways, "Legend man" slaughtered a ton until they tricked him with a little girl.. then at the end they tell him they are killing him because HE is the "vampire" like creature. Thus.. HE is THE legend.

Re:Pay more attention to comics and movies... (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086593)

Hi, you are about to die from cancer. We have found a cure, but since watching "I AM Legend" scared us we don't dare to use it.

Have a nice day.

Rats consume less alcohol (5, Funny)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#28085817)

Rats given the cancer-fighting drug spontaneously consumed less alcohol when it was freely available to them

I didn't know that rats "spontaneously" consume alcohol when it is freely available to them.

Re:Rats consume less alcohol (3, Funny)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086051)

I didn't know that rats "spontaneously" consume alcohol when it is freely available to them.

Not beer - they have trouble climbing the side of the glass. Most other drinks are ok though.

Re:Rats consume less alcohol (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28089193)

Yet more bullshit 'research' from vivisectionists. If it didn't involve the untold pain and suffering of hundreds of millions of animals every year, this 'research' would be laughable.

As it is, it doesn't predict human outcomes. It is therefore a total fraud.

If vivisection predicted human outcomes, then so-called 'clinical trials' (HUMAN experiments) wouldn't be necessary, and all drugs and procedures would go straight from animal 'research' to the human market.

92% of drugs that pass animal 'research' FAIL in human experiments...

The pathetic, sociopathic responses from the majority of Slashdotters go to show how incapable of empathy you are. Is that something to be proud of?

Previously Unknown. (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 4 years ago | (#28085839)

_previously unknown_ role in controlling the insects' response to alcohol. OTOH, you have to wonder how germaine the insects' response is to homo sapiens.

This doesn't seem right (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28085845)

Am I the only one made uncomfortable by the thought of introducing genetically engineered viruses into people, even if it is only for medical treatment? ...

*starts assembling his Zombie Apocalypse kit*

Re:This doesn't seem right (5, Insightful)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28085979)

Well, the human body is already full of bacteria and other helpful microbes without which it wouldn't be able to survive.
We're not just "persons" we're mobile ecosystems.
Although it may sound creepy at first, if you rationally think it through a virus that "makes you better" is not such a bad idea after all.
Oh, I almost forgot, we are all injected with weakened viruses at some point of our lives so that our immune system will be able to form the right antibodies to defend itself when the real thing comes along.
Think of it like that...

Re:This doesn't seem right (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086717)

Although it may sound creepy at first, if you rationally think it through a virus that "makes you better" is not such a bad idea after all.

Tell that to the Xenu's loyal psychiatrists, who did something similar 70 million years ago. Oh wait, you can't; because their "happy virus", while being immediately very effective, eventually mutated and then drove every humanoid in the entire galaxy into a deep depression, ultimately causing them all to jump off the nearest bridge.

Monkeys and apes, being not completely similar to humanoids, managed to survive the 'viruscost', and they grew fat on the decaying corpses of the prior-day humans. The apes multiplied, and so now we're simply an evolution of their apish bodies, inhabited by the confused, and virus ridden thetans of yore. This is a Bad Idea.

© 2009 Church of Spiritual Technology, all rights reserved. Times approximate. No Warranty Expressed or Implied. Limited time offer, call now to insure prompt delivery. Free shipping to the continental United States. External use only. All models over 18 years of age. May have been packaged on machinery also used to package nuts. If condition persists, consult your physician.

Re:This doesn't seem right (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088631)

The only thing this virus is going to cure are sick rats with terminal cancer. In fact, we can probably cure all diseases in rats making them almost invulnerable to disease. As soon as we have developed neuron regeneration and growth, boosting their intelligence, we might as well be doomed as a race. And you thought I AM LEGEND would scare people.

Re:This doesn't seem right (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#28089989)

And we all have retrovirus stored in our DNA.

I wish I had retrovirus stored in a Brownian motion generator, such as a cup of hot tea, or in my towel...

Re:This doesn't seem right (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088297)

Am I the only one made uncomfortable by the thought of introducing genetically engineered viruses into people, even if it is only for medical treatment? ...

No, it's potentially deadly. But personally, I'm more worried about treating addictions with chemicals. How we cope with our own lack of control -- whether we drug it or learn self-discipline -- is probably much more potentially serious for our species, in the long-run.

Replication is dangerous (5, Informative)

toppavak (943659) | more than 4 years ago | (#28085865)

In any virus intended for therapeutic use in humans, allowing the virus to retain its reproductive mechanisms is just a bad idea. Viruses mutate rapidly and there's no guarantee that such a modified virus might not develop the right signals to enter and reproduce in healthy human cells. More promising efforts using engineered viruses involve the isolated production of viral structural RNA and coat proteins without the complete genome ever being copied or reproduced. This creates viral smart-particles that can be re-engineered to deliver payloads (therapeutics, contrast agents, nanoparticles etc) into targeted cell species. Nanovector [nanovectorinc.com] is a recent start-up out of NC State University to commercialize this tech developed at a lab I used to work in as an undergrad.

Re:Replication is dangerous (1)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086075)

I am not a bio-chemist... but... couldn't they use it as a last chance therapy? If successful then blast them with some anti-viral drugs?

Re:Replication is dangerous (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086151)

and if that fails, nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure ...

Re:Replication is dangerous (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086157)

Since the patient is going to die otherwise anyway, what's wrong with trying to cure him with viruses?

Re:Replication is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086449)

Because viruses spread, and anti-viral medication is highly virus-specific and usually not all that effective even against their intended targets.

Re:Replication is dangerous (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086669)

Not as dangerous as you'd think...Viruses pick up DNA strands from the host as they are made by the hosts cells, this is primarily what causes rapid mutation and why H1N1 contains human, swine, and avian DNA-this strain has been transmitted between these three animals. The only harm would be if the virus was contagious (thus it would pick up DNA and mutate as it spread), or if it could not be cleared from the host (this is less dangerous, but the less dormant viruses the better). In medical uses, viral therapy appears pretty safe and has a lot of potential. A virus is more like a machine than a living thing...why not use it as a tool? My issue would be: Do we know enough about genetics to pull this off without raising something negative that was previously unconsidered.

Re:Replication is dangerous (4, Informative)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087481)

'Not as dangerous as you'd think...Viruses pick up DNA strands from the host as they are made by the hosts cells, this is primarily what causes rapid mutation and why H1N1 contains human, swine, and avian DNA-this strain has been transmitted between these three animals'

The Flu virus is a rather unusual case - its genome (in fact RNA rather than DNA) is made up of 8 segments that can easily be swapped around ('reassorted') when two different strains infect the same animal (8 segments with 2 versions of each = 2^8 = 256 possible new viruses). This isn't true for the adenovirus used in the article, which has an unsegmented DNA genome, but there's still some concern that a therapeutic strain might 'recombine' with a wild-type strain:

http://vir.sgmjournals.org/cgi/content/full/89/2/380 [sgmjournals.org]

This is one reason why you have to be careful when adding (e.g.) new genes to viruses of this type (as in gene therapy). It's rather less of a concern when doing the sort of experiment described in the original article, where the replication of the virus is partially blocked rather than enhanced, and where no new genes are added.

Re:Replication is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087159)

I'd rather die of liver failure (at a VERY miniscule risk from this modified virus going rogue), than even deal with chemotherapy.

Re:Replication is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087231)

What if they make more changes to the virus so that a certain medication is given to the patient that "Keeps the virus alive" when it lacks this substance it dies.

Re:Replication is dangerous (2, Informative)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087247)

'In any virus intended for therapeutic use in humans, allowing the virus to retain its reproductive mechanisms is just a bad idea.'

Not necessarily. Obviously there are risks (and this is just a proof of concept experiment), but as the original paper explains:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000440 [doi.org]

'Viruses have a highly successful history as prophylactic vaccines and are also being developed for their intrinsic anticancer activities. In both settings the ability to undergo restricted replication is highly desirable. Attenuated (but not killed) viral strains often represent the most effective viral vaccines, affording the possibility of persistent low level infection without significant pathology.'

In other words, you want the virus to replicate in a controlled way, so that (e.g.) it hits more cancer cells than a non-replicating vector. Traditionally, 'attenuated' viruses have been used for vaccines and for anti-tumour experiments, but this tends to make them less effective than they might otherwise be. The trick they've used in this paper is selective attenuation - they've inserted an 'off switch' that responds to a microRNA that's expressed in liver (where the virus might do harm), but not elsewhere (where the virus is needed). Also, the adenovirus used in these studies isn't some exotic replicating construct with a deadly payload, but a rather common virus that generally causes mild disease even in its unattenuated form. It may not even be necessary to deliver a foreign gene to the tumour - replication-selective but otherwise normal adenoviruses can have intrinsic anti-tumour ('oncolytic') activity if they are engineered to prefer replicating in tumour cells. One common strategy is to delete a viral gene normally used to evade the cell's p53 response. The virus can then only replicate in cells with an already damaged p53 pathway (like many tumour cells!):

http://www.jci.org/articles/view/9762 [jci.org]

Re:Replication is dangerous (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088279)

Not really, it would be all but impossible to get a virus to work like that. Theoretically if one were to do that, one would then need at least 1 virus per cell, at which point you'd be talking about millions of them. The success rate really isn't the good for viruses so you'd be outnumbering the cells by probably thousands to one.

Or in other words, viruses have to be able to reproduce in order to be useful, you just have to be extremely careful that they can't mutate in a way that harms cells you're wanting left alone.

Re:Replication is dangerous (2, Interesting)

toppavak (943659) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088455)

Producing high concentrations of viral nanoparticles is extremely feasible and hardly a technical challenge. Protein synthesis is something biotech has gotten very good at, even at industrial scales. Repeat dosing with an inert nanoparticle would still be highly preferable to the use of a "live" virus.

you just have to be extremely careful that they can't mutate in a way that harms cells you're wanting left alone

That's a much taller order than simply synthesizing more virus to inject. Figuring that out would certainly be Nobel Prize worthy as you've just discovered a key method in eradicating HIV, the flu and many other viruses that mutate too quickly to be properly controlled by vaccination or antivirals.

alternative (4, Funny)

legirons (809082) | more than 4 years ago | (#28085915)

"Their taste for another rewarding beverage -- sugar water -- was unaffected."

research sponsored by coke?

Re:alternative (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087503)

Their taste for another rewarding beverage -- sugar water -- was unaffected.

research sponsored by coke?

If this were done in the US, it would have been modified high fructose corn syrup water.

I wonder if that would have skewed the results at all?

Cure alcoholism? (1, Funny)

Xtense (1075847) | more than 4 years ago | (#28085999)

Let me be the first to voice the opinion of laid off IT workers:

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

Re-branding (5, Funny)

theMoleofProduction (842123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086003)

So viruses can cure cancer.

Well what about all those cancer drugs we have already? They'll just sit on the shelves!

No no, we can use them to treat alcoholism.

But what about all the booze!? Pour it down the drain?

No, of course not. We're going to re-brand alcoholic beverages as medication. We're investigating is usefulness in treating social anxiety. While our trials are still in progress, the initial data looks very promising. We've also patented a time-release delivery system. With any hope, we'll have millions of people prescribed daily doses of the new wonder drug.

Excellent!

Re:Re-branding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086273)

Nah, we've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on soothing people's anxieties.

John Titor (3, Informative)

Niris (1443675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086017)

Along the same lines as I Am Legend, there was that whole John Titor thing back in 2000 where the guy writing it said stuff about using viruses to attack cancer. Yay internet culture to science.

Re:John Titor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087869)

Titor 'predicted' a civil war in the United States for the early 21st century, and he failed to predict the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. I think it's safe to say he was a liar.

Re:John Titor (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088663)

Oh please. That was his timeline. In ours, the federal government heeded Titor's warning of potential civil war and carried out the 9/11 attacks to create greater social unity in the US. Titor probably didn't consider what effect his internet posts would have on the timeline, or that the early 21st century feds would gladly sacrifice a few thousand Americans and a couple Muslim nations for continued dominance.

By Neruos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086019)

I'm a laidoff IT worker and I say...

Call me when they cure something, not the random notes to keep funding going.

What could possibly go wrong (4, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086021)

For the cancer patient could be an improvement over other alternatives.

But if you play with living things there, things that try to survive replicating, mutating, and in the case of virus, finding more hosts.

Of course, getting rid of that particular virus could be easier than getting rid of cancer, and that is something more to put into consideration.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086627)

T-virus and fucking umbrella corp. are going to ruin my dinner.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (3, Funny)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088393)

1) make the new virus an STBD (beneficial disease)
2) THrow a big extasis rave with a whole cancer ward.
3) Spike the all beverages with spanish fly

There. That is true god shining thru: all you need to do to cure your cancer is fuck like a bunny.

Mhm... I should patent this!

Re:What could possibly go wrong (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#28090183)

But if you play with living things there, things that try to survive replicating, mutating, and in the case of virus, finding more hosts

"It's a Unix system! I know this!"

No wait, sorry...

"I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way."

Fungus in my cancer? More likely than you think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28086053)

If I didn't know any better, it almost sounds like there's a direct link between cancer and alcoholism... alternative medical folk like Doug Kaufmann and Tullio Simoncini have been saying cancer is a fungus for years. Now we have a "cancer treatment" that helps treat alcoholism as well? What's the common denominator between all alcoholic beverages? Yeast... another fungus.

I'm not big on the method being used because using a virus in this manner just reeks of bad idea, but the evidence certainly lends credence to more reasonable and pre-existing methods of treating cancer that are anti-fungal in nature.

Re:Fungus in my cancer? More likely than you think (3, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086149)

By "alternative medical folk" do you mean quacks, or were you just misrepresenting their positions? Cancer as host cells gone awry (possibly due to an initial external influence, with the external influence not necessary for continued growth) is incontrovertible. If certain anti-fungals work on them, it's because it happens to work as an anti-cancer drug, it doesn't mean the cancer is fungus.

Re:Fungus in my cancer? More likely than you think (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086289)

It's actually at a likelyhood of zero.

(Yes, I know what the meme is, but, no, this altmed crap is crap.)

That would mean that everything we know about how tumors start, grow, and go into remission is wrong. That everything we know about chemo and radiation is wrong.

But there's no evidence that Kaufman and Simoncini's work actually does work. Where's the peer reviewed studies? Where's the followups? Clinical trials?

Re:Fungus in my cancer? More likely than you think (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086521)

Posting to fix a bad moderation. Sorry. WTB confirmation button.

Re:Fungus in my cancer? More likely than you think (3, Funny)

SUB7IME (604466) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086589)

Ahh, yes. A tyrosine kinase inhibitor can play a role in alcoholism. But wait, cancer cells have tyrosine kinases, too!

I've found the connection between cancer and alcoholism: they both occur in human beings.

Re:Fungus in my cancer? More likely than you think (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#28090301)

Now we have a "cancer treatment" that helps treat alcoholism as well? What's the common denominator between all alcoholic beverages? Yeast... another fungus.

Easy test: give a bunch of alcoholics synthetic ethanol, forbid them other alcohol and see if they develop withdrawal symptoms. For bonus credit, instead give them an exact replica of their favorite beer except that the alcohol is synthetic and it doesn't contain anything yeasty or otherwise fungal in nature or origin.

If they don't develop withdrawal symptoms, it's probably just the chemical and not its yeasty fungal origin that's the big deal.

Also, "alternative medicine" means "unscientific" in all the cases I know about. In other words, when theories disagree with observable events, they think the theory, as opposed to the observed events, is the best predictor of future events.

I want a male birth control virus (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086213)

Give me a virus that can kill sperm cells effectively... one that eventually gets killed by my immune system requiring more virus ingestion to maintain my reduced sperm cell count. It would be the perfect male birth control so long as it doesn't mutate.

Re:I want a male birth control virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087053)

You're a slahsdotter, what benefit could that possibly have for you?

Re:I want a male birth control virus (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28090835)

Frankly, so that I don't have a "slashdaughter."

I have three sons. That is beyond my quota.

Re:I want a male birth control virus (2, Funny)

yamfry (1533879) | more than 4 years ago | (#28090895)

That seems a little more complex than it needs to be. The most effective form of male birth control yet created is a fake name and phone number.

In mice, you say? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086269)

Adenovirus is a DNA virus widely used in cancer therapy but which causes hepatic disease in mice.

Yeah... you do know they're only doing that to confuse you, do you?

I know that nobody cares, but... (4, Interesting)

MythoBeast (54294) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086315)

Most of what we call alcoholism has been cured. The problem is that anybody who might tell alcoholics about it is either financially or emotionally invested in an existing treatment. It's like religion (see responses to this post as demonstration), and it's very frustrating.

For all the details, see the recently published book [thecureforalcoholism.com] on the topic. I'm not selling the book, and if you want the details for free, I can provide you with that, too.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087095)

I can't stand steppers, but what exactly is the alternative you're pushing? If it's a good book I might add it to the amazon book rotation on my site (fornits.com/phpbb). What is the basic premise? Life Process model (Peele)? Addiction is a choice (Schaler)? I've heard of and read a lot of books on the topic, but I haven't heard of that one. Details pls.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (3, Informative)

MythoBeast (54294) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087483)

The basis of the treatment can be summed up fairly quickly. Drinking alcohol releases endorphins, and the endorphins addict us to the alcohol with a force identical to morphine addiction. Taking an endorphin blocker results in a reversal of this effect, where drinking makes you loose interest in drinking over time.

The treatment that results from this effect is equally simple. You have the alcoholic take an endorphin blocker (naltrexone is typical) and then have them pursue their normal drinking habits. After about three to six months, 78% have significantly reduced desire to drink, 25% just stop drinking and have no desire to pick it back up again. I think you can see how this would put Betty Ford out of business and is indirect opposition to AA.

The fine details are a little more complicated, but only because it goes against a lot of logic. For instance, most people expect it to have a "diet pill" effect where it suppresses your urge to drink, and that's how the naltrexone tends to be prescribed. Used this way you'd actually have better results with a placebo, and people give up when it doesn't work that way.

But they wouldn't have to write a book if there were nothing else to say, would they?

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (3, Interesting)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087579)

Ok. So it's naltrexone therapy. Good option. Did you know AA actively lobbied against Naltrexone. There was a Penn and Teller episode on AA that told the story briefly. See this video at about 7:50 [youtube.com] . The whole episode is fantastic, but they're a bit brief on the statistics. Stanton Peele covers those in depth [peele.net] in his books in which he takes a look at George Vaillant's original data. It's rare to find somebody else who is interested in the study of addiction. Feel free to shoot me an email sometime at psyborgue@mac.com. I'd love to know what you're background in this is if you feel comfortable.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088479)

You will be spammed into hell...

Bad choice to put your full email here or anywhere else for that matter.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088531)

People have been telling me that for a long time but I've never really had a problem with it. Either apple filters it with my .mac address or... I just don't know. I'm pretty careless with my email and I just don't get much spam. When I do, i make it a practice to bounce my emails.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (3, Interesting)

MythoBeast (54294) | more than 4 years ago | (#28089031)

Well, no, not standard naltrexone therapy. Naltrexone is distributed with instructions not to drink. It is often cocktailed with antibuse which makes you sick if you drink. The problem with this is that, if you don't drink, the urge to drink doesn't go away.

Given standard naltrexone therapy, most alcoholics will stay abstinent until the craving overwhelms them, and then give up the naltrexone and start drinking again.

I'll take this offline and we can compare notes.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28089109)

Cool cool. I'd be interested in hearing how this works as people often ask me for alternatives to AA and it's good to have another. Email me (psyborgue@mac.com).

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (2, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087101)

I've never heard of this book, or any other cures for alcoholism. I don't know any alcoholics, nor do I have any particular concern for them. But I know that whenever someone comes out and claims to have a cure that the man is trying to keep down, it's likely to be a load of crap.

But hey, if you believe in that, I have a carburetor for sale that'll give your car 200 mpg.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (2, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087149)

Not that I'm endorsing the cure this man purports to sell, but the 12 steppers are a cultic bunch who attack anybody who dares critize their authority over the addiction treatment industry. Check out the end of this book chapter [peele.net] written by Stanton Peele. Stanton Peele is a man who has been pushing for a more scientific and less religious (12 step) approach to alcohol and addiction treatment. 12 steppers believe, for instance that the 12 steps were given to Bill Wilson by God. This is what's passed off as science in the addiction industry. AA is very very hostile towards any drug based treatment of alcoholism and has lobbied against drugs that treat alcohol dependence. They do this because they believe alcohoism is a "spiritual disease" and that the only true treatment is through god as interpred through the 12 steps. It's just about the only religion (and it has been ruled a religious organization by the courts) that the state mandates people attend. Does it work? No, and in some cases may actually cause harm (Brandsma study), but that's whole other can of worms.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#28090327)

It's just about the only religion (and it has been ruled a religious organization by the courts) that the state mandates people attend.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

Somehow the two seem at odds with each other...

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (2, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28090481)

Ya think!?!?! The problem is that although the SC has ruled on the matter, nobody seems to care. Unless you have an attorney who knows what he's doing in this area, you can be sentenced to a religious organization for "treatment". Universities and Jobs coerce AA too, and good luck fighting them on it. There are too many members out there, and unlike most religions, you don't know who they are. What's so bad about it, other than principle? Well. despite the fact that AA gets 70% of it's membership from the health care and justice systems, there is the problem of people getting sucked in by cult-like means of deception.

Put yourself in the position of some shmo who for whatever reason (maybe with cause, maybe not) gets sent to a 12 step "recovery" group. Well. The "recovery" thing is sort of deceptive as they don't actually cure anything. There is frighteningly little in 12 step groups about actually quitting much of anything (save critical thinking which is referred to as "stinking thinking" in AA). "Recovery" in AA means lifelong meetings, relationship with a higher power, and strict adherence to AA doctrine which 12 steppers believe is "god inspired" through Bill Wilson (who was actually not that nice a charachter). I have no problem with religions if they advertise accurately, but AA masquerads as something it isn't, and loads it's language to decieve outsiders into believing it's something it's not. The lack of informed consent is what makes AA more cult-like than religion. People come in looking for help to quit drinking (or not) and are told that the *only* way is with AA and it's religious principles... or you *will die*.

So how did AA get so popular? Well. Couple reasons. 12th step, for one, is built in evangelism. You don't always know who they are. They don't advertise. They're anonymous after all. Secondly, oodles of people believing they have been helped, when often they're worse off. It's anecdotal evidence. What else do you expect. Thirdly, AA front groups like Hazelden have actively lobbied judges and others in authority.

End result of all this is religion in government and science gone down the pan.

Re:I know that nobody cares, but... (1)

MythoBeast (54294) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087329)

Well, setting aside what "the man" has to say, the unusual barrage of snake oil that often comes with trying to find treatment for alcoholism is another solid reason why this treatment has had difficulty with adoption.

Unlike other treatments, though, this one is backed up by about seventy studies, and has a fairly large one that specifically identifies its effectiveness at around 78%.

First impressions of the book (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#28090391)

Parent links to a site selling a book.

The site makes a point of saying how the authors are "Scientists!!" and "PhDs!!", and how the treatment is based on "Science!!".

MDs are reasonably quick to adopt new promising treatments (sorry, no citation). Science doesn't need to be hyped. Yet the site smells like hype.

I read a brief passage from the chapter "For Medical Professionals". It talked about studies (so there may be some science to back it up), but I couldn't seem to find the references to peer-reviewed articles. [Not that I looked very thoroughly, though.]

Make up your own mind. Please do it on a more thorough basis than I have made up mine, though ;-)

For Laymen.. (1)

LunarEffect (1309467) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086451)

Can someone please explain this in Layman-talk?

Re:For Laymen.. (1)

SUB7IME (604466) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086613)

Be glad to, but which one? There are two completely unrelated articles linked from this 'story'.

Re:For Laymen.. (1)

LunarEffect (1309467) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087375)

Oh, I'm sorry =)
I find pretty much the whole first quote hard to understand.

Re:For Laymen.. (2, Informative)

SUB7IME (604466) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087695)

Totally not your fault. My comment about the two stories being unrelated was something of a snide jab at the "relatedly" claim made in the summary.

So, article #1 is talking about the use of a modified virus to target a cancer. Actually, to be more accurate, it's talking about modifying a virus to avoid causing liver damage while killing cancer cells.

Apparently, the adenovirus strain that they used in this trial does a good job of killing cancer cells. However, it also does a good job of killing liver cells.

What they did was introduced a liver-specific microRNA binding site to the virus. Therefore, when the virus infects the liver and produces RNA, the liver's naturally-produced microRNA will recognize this and bind to it. That's all in the article, but I'll extrapolate and assume that the body's typical dsRNA mechanisms kick in at that point, destroy the RNA, and possibly induce an antiviral response.

So essentially, it appears that they're using a virus that is good at killing cancer but is also good at destroying the liver, and they're attaching a liver-specific "kill me" tag so that the liver can protect itself.

Wow... (3, Funny)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086513)

I never knew alcoholism was a big problem for mice. Nice to know we've developed a treatment. Some of Mickey's behavior was getting kinda embarrassing...

Maybe they're jumping to conclusions (3, Funny)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#28086531)

If I were a rat with cancer, I'd probably be drunk all the time too. Then when another rat sneezed on me and transmitted the cure like it was a cold, I imagine I wouldn't be motivated to drink so much. In fact, I'd really clean up my act trying to woo that other rat who sneezed and saved my life.

Imagine a criminal in a fast car... (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087929)

This should be tagged iamlegend, tvirus and of course whatcouldpossiblygowrong. Damn all taken already!

Re:Imagine a criminal in a fast car... (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088917)

Oh well, I guess it's time for me to prepare my bathtub and make it more confortable to sleep in. :)

This is news? (0)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28090371)

"Now, the researchers show that flies and mice treated with erlotinib also grow more sensitive to alcohol. What's more, rats given the cancer-fighting drug spontaneously consumed less alcohol when it was freely available to them. Their taste for another rewarding beverage -- sugar water -- was unaffected."

Ethanol -> acetaledhyde -> acetate + water
The middle product is a toxin. Limit the 2nd reaction rate so that builds up and the organism gets sick and learns to avoid, or dies. It's simple conditioning, accomplished quite easily for decades with disulfarim (Antabuse).

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...