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FDA Approves Vaccine For Prostate Cancer

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the where-you-can-stick-it dept.

Biotech 194

reverseengineer writes "The US Food and Drug Administration has given its first first approval for a therapeutic cancer vaccine. In a clinical trial 'involving 512 men, those who got Provenge (sipuleucel-T) had a median survival of 25.8 months after treatment, while those who got a placebo lived a median of 21.7 months. After three years, 32 percent of those who got Provenge were alive, compared with 23 percent of those who got the placebo. ... "The big story here is that this is the first proof of principle and proof that immunotherapy works in general in cancer, which I think is a huge observation," said Dr. Philip Kantoff, chief of solid tumor oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and the lead investigator in Dendreon's largest clinical trial for the drug. "I think this is a very big thing and will lead to a lot more enthusiasm for the approach."'"

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Statistically significant? (1, Interesting)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038554)

Is it just me or do those numbers look too close to be statistically significant?

For that kind of (small) difference to be statistically significant, I'd thing rather large sample sizes would be required.

Re:Statistically significant? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038604)

According to my calculation, if the null hypothesis were true (i.e. the vaccine were just a placebo) there would be about a 1 in a million chance of a result this extreme (4.85 standard deviations above the mean). So it is highly significant statistically speaking. Whether it is clinically significant or not is a different question, of course.

Re:Statistically significant? (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038668)

Hmm. How can you know this without knowing the standard distribution of mortality in the control group?

(Now I remember why I got a lowly B+ in statistics.)

Re:Statistically significant? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038694)

If you assume each person has (independently) a 0.23 probability to survive 5 years, then the overall distribution must be binomial with standard deviation sqrt(n*p*(1-p)).

Re:Statistically significant? (5, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039406)

Ahhh yes, but if the hypotenuse to the quasar were perpendicular to the linear equation then wouldn't the gravitation of the median be devised by the quandary?

Re:Statistically significant? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039540)

Only on Uranus (or prostate)...

Re:Statistically significant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039602)

you're a dick.

Re:Statistically significant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040810)

You can reject common node theory when calculating finite parallel tangents to said median's gravitation, meaning you can assume very small values of 1 are in fact zero.

Re:Statistically significant? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038946)

Actually I am wrong.

As some people have pointed out below, the sample who received the vaccine was only of size 256, not 512. So the p value is not 1/1000000 but more like 3x10^-4. Still significant, but not what I said before. Sorry.

Re:Statistically significant? (4, Interesting)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040082)

I other OLD news, men who ejaculate 5 times per week had a 66% less chance of prostate cancer EVER in their life than men who only did once or less per week. They has to be started young and you must continue this into your 50s. 3 different studies on this from 3 different universities in 3 different countries and all 3 go roughly(damn near the same) the same results even though they went about different ways of testing. They one test alone was a periodic questioner that followed over 30,000 men. Is that a good sample size? There seems to be a semi linear link, so each day you clean the pipes per week gives you and ~X% reduced chance of getting this dreaded disease.

I say an orgasm of prevention is worth more than a pound of cancer.

The current theory is that the prostate is great at concentrating carcinogens because of how it excretes and re-absorbs fluids which essentially filters and captures bad crap. Gotta flush it out.

Remember, a 66% reduction of the chance of cancer is like saying "you have a 200% INCREASED chance of caner if you don't".

P.S. remember to tell your wife to put out or close the door, because you're busy curing cancer.

Re:Statistically significant? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040376)

>each day you clean the pipes per week gives you and ~X% reduced chance of getting this dreaded disease.

Ok. Fine by me, but who is this "not X percent", and why is he getting a free ride? Oh, I get it. You call the person in your fantasies "not X percent?" Weird.

Re:Statistically significant? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040516)

If they had used this reasoning and allowed insurance to pay for full service massage parlors in the health care bill, it would have passed without anyone complaining. Now there's change I would believe in!

Re:Statistically significant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040834)

P.S. remember to tell your mother to close the door, because you're busy curing cancer.

Fixed for slashdot. I assume nerds don't ever get prostate cancer thanks to the Internet and its unlimited bounty of porn.

Re:Statistically significant? (5, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038680)

Several major points:
1. There were 512 people in the trial. Assuming that these were split into two groups, that n=256. Of course it depends on the standard deviation, but you could get your p value very low with an n like that.
2. Human trials of drugs that treat potentially fatal conditions are generally only allowed for patients who've failed "best available" therapy at least once, because it would be unethical to deny standard therapy to someone in a trial. The relative risk reduction may get better when used outside the context of the trial because of that. Or not. Remains to be seen, as usual.

3. As our understanding of the immune system and the molecular processes underlying cancer improves, we will slowly unravel a huge potential for case-by-case-based treatment of cancer. As a matter of fact, I believe a recent study I am too lazy to look up to link has shown that people whose cancer therapies relied on analyzing the biochemistry of each individual tumor resulted in about a 50% increase in 5-year survival, compared to conventional pathology-based treatments. The future is bright for oncology.

4. The caveat of #3 is that such treatments are expensive, and will get progressively more expensive based on the degree of testing and individualization required (until the wide use and technology make them cheaper of course). This will necessarily introduce a further divide into the available treatments for the rich and the poor, and contribute to the class struggle that's already rather inflamed. The problem is that there's no OTHER way - giving everyone $100'000 treatments would bankrupt us rather quickly. Instead, similar to the case with electronics, we will simply have to suffer through the period of expensive first-adopter treatments, until the improvements in laboratory techniques and high-throughput testing make such treatments increasingly affordable.

Re:Statistically significant? (2, Interesting)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038822)

Bright indeed. The immune system has an amazing ability for specificity. Once we master the art of training the immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells the fight will be over. Interestingly, there was a cancer treatment in the late 1800's that relied on injecting cancer tumors with an infectious serum designed to elicit an immune response. The treatment had some success but was dangerous as the patient ran the risk of death from infection. I really think immuno therapy is the future of cancer therapy.

Re:Statistically significant? (4, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038956)

Bright indeed. The immune system has an amazing ability for specificity. Once we master the art of training the immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells the fight will be over. Interestingly, there was a cancer treatment in the late 1800's that relied on injecting cancer tumors with an infectious serum designed to elicit an immune response. The treatment had some success but was dangerous as the patient ran the risk of death from infection. I really think immuno therapy is the future of cancer therapy.

To be honest I find that unlikely. Unfortunately there is a reason why that cancer spread - it has already managed to evade the immune system.

Immune therapy is but one of the treatments that become available once you understand tumor biology. Even more promising are drugs that can have direct effects on the multiple pathways that have been disrupted or bypassed by the cells on their way to becoming cancerous. As we gain more complete understanding of these molecular mechanisms, as well as enhance our ability to identify the mutations or dysfunctions in each individual tumor, we'll be able to target them efficiently. For instance, we may be able to fix the "suicide" pathways (yes, I know it's called apoptosis) that were necessarily disabled in a particular tumor, and by treating the problem cause the tumor cells to destroy themselves and they were programmed to do by evolution.

Re:Statistically significant? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039102)

Isn't that like saying we will conquer cancer once we defeat autoimmune diseases?

Re:Statistically significant? (2, Interesting)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039160)

It was the treatment of tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma but I can't find the reference at present. Read about it in med school.

However, may I draw your attention to a couple of other cancers that seem to benefit from localised immune activation due to injected bacteria:

Stomach: http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v84/n4/abs/6691599a.html [nature.com]
Mouth: http://www.springerlink.com/content/rw3kk056t4014t5j/ [springerlink.com]
Bladder: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20205607 [nih.gov]

Re:Statistically significant? (2, Insightful)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038828)

4. The caveat of #3 is that such treatments are expensive, and will get progressively more expensive based on the degree of testing and individualization required (until the wide use and technology make them cheaper of course). This will necessarily introduce a further divide into the available treatments for the rich and the poor, and contribute to the class struggle that's already rather inflamed. The problem is that there's no OTHER way - giving everyone $100'000 treatments would bankrupt us rather quickly. Instead, similar to the case with electronics, we will simply have to suffer through the period of expensive first-adopter treatments, until the improvements in laboratory techniques and high-throughput testing make such treatments increasingly affordable.

But they can't. When Western Digital finally comes out with a Petabyte drive, it will cost a high price, but the next week, Seagate comes out with a Petabyte drive. Competition increases, prices drop, and the drives become increasingly affordable. In medicine, the patents are extended a little further. The patent holder can charge whatever he wants, because he needs to make back the money he spent on risky research, but for the next n+[too many] years, he gets to hold the sick of the world hostage. Well, what if company B wants to design a competitor drug?

1. Good luck to them.
2. View the #2 in your post. They have to struggle in a market that's immediately artificially saturated by Company A's wonder drug. This is like Pepsi trying to show up and claim "we can quench your thirst", but regulations say that, for the first n number of years, people have to drink a full coke before they can drink a Pepsi. Hope you're still thirsty after that coke, and if you're not, then hopefully the pepsi will quench your thirst when the coke did not!

And there, spelled out in soda, we have the well-meaning recipe for disaster in American healthcare -- the one that isn't fixed by the government plan, but needs to be before the government plan sends us headlong into a depression because of this unresolved bug.

Re:Statistically significant? (4, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038904)

2. View the #2 in your post. They have to struggle in a market that's immediately artificially saturated by Company A's wonder drug. This is like Pepsi trying to show up and claim "we can quench your thirst", but regulations say that, for the first n number of years, people have to drink a full coke before they can drink a Pepsi. Hope you're still thirsty after that coke, and if you're not, then hopefully the pepsi will quench your thirst when the coke did not!

And there, spelled out in soda, we have the well-meaning recipe for disaster in American healthcare -- the one that isn't fixed by the government plan, but needs to be before the government plan sends us headlong into a depression because of this unresolved bug.

That's not at all a good understanding of the market or of biomedical research.

Anyone else is free to come up with a treatment that works better using the same principles. It just can't be the same exact protocol.

Similarly, to spell it out in soda for you, Pepsi can't produce soda using Coke's recipe and charge less for it.

Drug patents are woefully short-lived in the US, and only give the company a few years (unlikely to reach a decade, even under the fastest FDA review) to make their research money back, make a profit, and finance further research. For all the negative press patents get, the are still essential for stimulating development by rewarding innovation.

Unlike other IP, however, drug patent periods haven't been climbing up in duration, and as a result we can all enjoy levostatin, ezomeprazole, and the rest of the drugs that used to be sought-after prescription drugs, and are now cheap generics.

Since most research is done no the public dime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039562)

and they drug companies are just doing the (relatively cheap) trials, I guess it all balances the fuck out.

Sorry, I've got family with cancer and the only research into the type they've got is being done in Universities and in Europe because it wasn't deemed profitable enough to bother here. I say screw the free market. I'm fed up with nitwits who don't realize that a book written 200+ years ago (The Wealth of Nations) doesn't apply anymore.

Re:Since most research is done no the public dime (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040118)

and they drug companies are just doing the (relatively cheap) trials, I guess it all balances the fuck out.

Relatively cheap?

It's at least $100 million to take a single drug to stage 3.

I'm very sorry about your family, but you're speaking nonsense.

Re:Statistically significant? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038940)

You don't understand. The costs the previous poster refers to are not drug costs, but extremely expensive lab costs during treatment, for example doing gene sequencing or custom drug synthesis as part of a single patient's treatment. These things may eventually get economy of scale as they are automated with gene-sequencing machines and better chemical processes.

The main idea is that this difference of 32% and 25% survivor rates may not indicate a "slight extension" due to a universal treatment, but rather a treatment that is very effective for one segment of the patient population and worthless for the rest. This is where evidence-based medicine and personalized medicine is meant to go in the end: focus the scientific process on the powerset of all possible experimental and control populations, so we can learn where our previously known disease conditions are actually an over generalization of several different disease conditions with different biochemical causes but nearly indistinguishable symptoms. Each sub-condition may need a different treatment which can potentially have much higher success rates than any one-size-fits-all treatment protocol.

Re:Statistically significant? (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039952)

***The main idea is that this difference of 32% and 25% survivor rates may not indicate a "slight extension" due to a universal treatment, but rather a treatment that is very effective for one segment of the patient population and worthless for the rest.***

Prostate cancer is normally a very unaggressive and slow growing cancer. It's also very common. It often isn't treated in the elderly as the risks of treatment may outweigh the expected benefits. The feeling is that men over 70 with newly detected prostate cancer may well die of something else before the cancer becomes a health problem and that treatment is always an option if the cancer progresses more quickly than expected.

The very high mortalities in this study would seem to indicate that the subjects had very severe cases -- i.e. this may not be a valid sample of typical prostate cancer cases. The results may not tell us about the likelihood of the vaccine helping with more normal cases.

Still, though, it's an interesting and encouraging result doncha think?

Re:Statistically significant? (1)

forumsnow39 (1800160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039594)

I agree with your statement in number 3. With the increasing introduction of new pollutants in our environment as well as the constant move of young generations from raw foods to processed ones, cancer will keep occurring. It is important to remember that with these due to these continual elements, we will see new types of unidentified cancer in the future, therefore making it that much more important to treat them on an individual basis.

Re:Statistically significant? (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040132)

I agree with your statement in number 3. With the increasing introduction of new pollutants in our environment as well as the constant move of young generations from raw foods to processed ones, cancer will keep occurring. It is important to remember that with these due to these continual elements, we will see new types of unidentified cancer in the future, therefore making it that much more important to treat them on an individual basis.

1. The most poisonous, cancer causing toxin we can take into our bodies on an every day basis, we need to survive. O2
2. Cancer does not occur due to pollutants. It's a disease of old age. If we all go back to dying at 40 years old, it'll cease to be the problem.

Wth is it with you people coming out of the woodwork today...

Re:Statistically significant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040212)

2. Cancer does not occur due to pollutants. It's a disease of old age. If we all go back to dying at 40 years old, it'll cease to be the problem.

Tell that to my right testicle, that had to be removed when I was 26.

I'm not saying the previous poster was right, but I'm not saying you are, either....

Re:Statistically significant? (3, Informative)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038768)

Is it just me or do those numbers look too close to be statistically significant?

The summary mentions a sample size of 512. The standard error of the mean decreases by the square root of the sample size. For 95 % certainty, if the standard deviation of their measured data is less than (32 percentage points - 23 percentage points)*sqrt(512)/1.96 = 104 "percentage points", which is quite likely, (see a tutorial [wikipedia.org] ), then you *can* say that this is statistically significant.

If you want some real details and not my back of the envelope calculations of dubious quality, you can see the actual slides [shareholder.com] [PDF], which does have details on the statistical significance of the results.

Long story short, they're significant at the level tested (95 %, generally good enough for these kinds of studies).

Re:Statistically significant? (-1, Troll)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038890)

Shut up! These experiments were designed by high-status research doctors who made damn sure they did things the way they've always done them. You must trust them, or you hate science.

How dare you consider yourself qualified to call a result insignificant!

(Bad mood today, sorry.)

Re:Statistically significant? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040196)

Is it just me or do those numbers look too close to be statistically significant?

It just has to be "significant" enough for Pharma to bribe a bunch of doctors into prescribing it. An alarming number of drugs have success rates so low as to give even sick consumers pause. Or, there are already more effective drugs on the market which are no longer protected by patent, so suddenly there's a "breakthrough" that's not really a breakthrough. The problem is that the "customer" of the drug companies is not the patient, but the doctor, and doctors, who very often don't have a really good solution, will prescribe something or recommend a vaccine just so they don't have to say "sorry, there's not much I can do". Very often basic preventative measures, like not being a fat pig, or not smoking, or not cooking your flesh in a tanning salon, or eating a more reasonable diet, or maybe getting your porky ass off the sofa once in a while, is much more effective way to prevent disease than anything the pharmaceutical companies can offer. But doctors, especially specialists, are afraid that their incomes might take a hit if a drug, or a surgery, or an expensive test is not required.

It's not about preventing disease, it's about boosting the stock price and keeping doctors' mistresses in brand new Audis.

Placebo Effect (-1, Offtopic)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038576)

It truly is amazing. Girls who get Pregnant like symptoms when they really want to be pregnant. People who catch an actual cold when they call in sick for work faking it. It's all around us. My girlfriend says that like 6 of the 7 pills she takes are placebos, its only the mondays that are actual birth control. The rest of it is just to get her into the swing of taking a pill each morning, or subconciously help that taking a pill each day has more of an effect.

In fact, I think that since I believe pizza is healthy for me, my body stays healthier when I eat it. I mean, its got your dairy products(cheese), your grain products (dough), some veggies (tomato paste), and meat products (pepperoni!). Thats like, Half the food pyramid right there right?

Before you all point out how much flawed logic there is up in that last section, let me point out that I am still under 130 pounds, and I put most of the blame on the placebo effect of truly believing that fried potatos in any form still constitute a vegitable, contrary to what Jamie Oliver might say.

Re:Placebo Effect (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038626)

You are an idiot and have no clue what 'the placebo effect' even is, and some of the pills during her regiment are not medical effective and are there just to keep her in the habit. That is NOT a placebo effect.

"Girls who get Pregnant like symptoms when they really want to be pregnant. People who catch an actual cold when they call in sick for work faking it"
neither of those are a placebo effect.

People like you are driving us back to the dark ages.

Re:Placebo Effect (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038630)

>>>I'm still under 130 pounds

Ahhhh not so fast. Doctors are now saying there's such a thing as "thin fat" where you weigh few pounds, and appear slim, but your body's fat percentage is over 22%, and that's bad. I just saw a report about this on the Today Show - you can have a low BMI but still be fatty.

Re:Placebo Effect (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038860)

Somehow, this sounds like the opposite of "I'm just big boned." I'm sure it exists, but it's probably a lot rarer than what most people need to be concerned about.

Re:Placebo Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038652)

I call BS...

My girlfriend always told me that eating chocolate actually burned more calories than the amount that was actually in the chocolate itself.

Guess what, she weighs at least twice what you do.

Re:Placebo Effect (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038666)

Are you suggesting that the results are due to a placebo effect? This is why the results were obtained using double-blind experiments, where both the researchers administrating the doses and the patients receiving them did not know which they were getting. It can't reasonably be claimed that the placebo effect was in any way causing the huge difference between those receiving medication and those who weren't.

Re:Placebo Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039120)

Not to go off topic, but if something you're eating CAN'T be classified in the Food Pyramid, it means it's something you shouldn't be eating because it is, in fact, not food. (Twinkies, I'm looking at you.)

The intent isn't just to eat them, its to eat them in the right proportion and total amount.

Re:Placebo Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039640)

Only one word described your comments: retarded

4 months? (1)

iceOlate (1094287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038594)

It extends life by 4 months, and they are calling it a vaccination? That's hardly a vaccination or a cure... Hell, the herb "saw palmetto" has a much greater success rate than that. But you don't hear about it, because it can't be patented and sold at really high prices.

Re:4 months? (3, Insightful)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038674)

That was just the median. What you should focus on more is the 3-year survival rate: 34% vs 23% -- almost a 50% increase in long-term survival.

Re:4 months? (0)

iceOlate (1094287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038786)

Its 32% (provenge) vs. 23% placebo... But what of the other 45%? The side-effects don't sound good either, nor does it mention how long those last... Saw Palmetto (as well as other natural remedies) don't have any unpleasant side effects, and are proven to prevent prostate cancer. I swear, pharmaceutical corporations will do anything to make money these days, and the FDA is their bitch.

Re:4 months? (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038806)

Saw palmetto doesn't do crap. And it's never been "proven" to prevent prostate enlargement or cancer. It's nothing but hearsay.

Propecia on the other hand (the stuff for baldness) has been shown to help the prostate.

Re:4 months? (4, Interesting)

drjoe1e6 (461358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039282)

Propecia on the other hand (the stuff for baldness) has been shown to help the prostate.

Not surprising at all. Proscar, a prostate medication, had the side effect of making people grow extra hair. So Merck marketed a lower dose of the same substance, and called it Propecia.

Re:4 months? (2, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039814)

And it can make you impotent. Which is great because now that your new hair can attract women, you can't take advantage of the situation.

Re:4 months? (1)

harley78 (746436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039458)

The other 45%?...-blink- Are you being sarcastic? 34% survived on the drug, 66% died.(of a presumed 256) 23% survived on the placebo, 77% died.(of a presumed 256)

Re:4 months? (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039580)

you lost me when you started talking about herbal cancer cures. what a load of shit.

Re:4 months? (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040278)

Well, according to some of the best doctors in the U.S., prostate cancer is easily detectable at early onset and existing techniques prolong life closer to ten years.

This sounds like yet another modern-age snake-oil campaign. i.e. murder for profit by big pharma. It's just gonna get worse now that Obama has FORCED us to support them.

 

Re:4 months? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040342)

What would be interesting is a comparison of those who didn't get any treatment at all with those who got the placebo or the drug.

I'm just wondering how effective the placebo is.

Of course, that's not going to happen, since there's lots of existing treatment for prostate cancer that works (and probably better than this drug).

But perhaps could be done for other sorts of cancer - e.g. end stage etc.

really? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038818)

You got a (well conducted, well documented, and peer reviewed) study to cite on the saw palmetto helping cancer survival rates?

Cause I'm pretty sure that's bullshit.

Re:4 months? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040650)

It extends life by 4 months, and they are calling it a vaccination?

An *average* of 4 months. Not only that, the treatment -- which consists of 3 infusions of your own treated white blood cells over one month -- will cost $93,000. Seriously, the ROI seems pretty low.

It won't be allowed to be used. (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038602)

"We need to cut back on the quantity of medicine used, in order to improve efficiency." - Barak Obama last week.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038642)

That's not what he meant, and this isn't the same context and you know it.

SHAME on you for trying to pollute political discourse.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038688)

I'm sorry. The government rations medicine in the UK. And France. And Germany. And Canada. But you're right..... they won't do it here. Here it will be different. :=|

National debt -
$128,000 per US household and still rising + 10,000 per year.

yeah, I guess rationing for money is better (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038948)

I mean, if your'e poor, why should you get equivalent healthcare resources to someone who's not?

If you really think that we're not rationing healthcare in the US, you're either astoundingly naive or deliberately ignorant. We just do it according to who can pay for it or who has a job where the benefits will cover treatment. Unlike France, Germany, the UK, and Canada where they ration according to need, which is totally bullshit, cause rich people deserve to live more than everyone else, cause they're the best part of society.

You're just dumb as fuck.

Re:yeah, I guess rationing for money is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039090)

In the United States, and specifically in the English language, there is something called "irony." This is when you say one thing, but mean the opposite. In this context, the GP is clearly using this literary tool. The .... symbols imply a pause in speech, as if thinking. This is a deliberate clue as to potential irony. Then the content states that other countries do something, but the US is different, without providing any basis for this. Combining these together, the reader should interpret this as irony. The GP says that the US is different, but does not really mean it. English is neat, isn't it?

Re:yeah, I guess rationing for money is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039228)

Yeah.

Re-read the post being responded to, and the one by the same poster a bit up in the same thread. A person with actual reading comprehension skills in English plus adequate world knowledge about the state of politics in the US would deduce that he's implying that Obama wants to take over medical care in the US and make it like the aforemetioned foreign nations (which all have some form of nationalized healthcare and/or single payer system).

This is when you say one thing, but mean the opposite. In this context, the GP is clearly using this literary tool

So, in the context of what I point out above, re-examine this statement. What the poster was actually saying was very much different from your interpretation. He was actually saying "yes, all these other nations do bad stuff by rationing healthcare, but Commie Obama says it won't happen here, cause it wont." There was irony in play (I'd call it facetiousness, but that's a terminological preference), but it was in fact entirely different from how you interpreted it.

So, to conclude, English is neat, isn't it? It's even better when it's coupled with some reading comprehension skills and a bit of understanding about the world.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039480)

They already ration care in the US. There are already lines for services in the US. People already flee the US for cheaper/better treatment. And that's *before* Obama was elected.

National debt - $128,000 per US household and still rising + 10,000 per year.

You are including promised payouts which will be covered by future pay-in. Conservatives may bitch about SS all the time, but they love to use it when it comes to doing the numbers. It's paying in more than it's taking out, but it is still called a drain on the budget. It's a net income, but will get ignored when it comes to the deficit, but included when it comes to the debt. If you take out the future payments (which are all statutory anyway, meaning a change in law and those obligations are freed, as they are not actually promised like a "real" debt) then the levels are much lower than you state.

But then, I agree that the economy is burdened by debt. I arranged for my leave of the US before the elections took place, so it wasn't because any one person got elected. I didn't care whether it was Kang or Kodos, they are the same. The US can't recover. The politicians won't let it happen. I blame the Republicans a little more than the Democrats (more time in the last 30 years in office and it's the last 30 years that have been the worst for the debt). But neither seem interested in cutting spending, and there can't be a viable 3rd party in the US. So the US will fail. And I didn't want to be there when it happened.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039822)

We already ration healthcare here, we ration everything already we used money for this.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040052)

The laws of nature will be repealed and we will sit around the campfire and sign kumbaya while we force some people to work for free in order to pay for health care for the rest of us. The nature of freedom at its best. Not.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040112)

And yet, even with all that rationing and those death panels working overtime, all of those countries have average life expectancies greater than the U.S., measured in years, while paying about 55% per capita of what Americans pay.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040420)

I wonder if there could be anything else that accounts for the difference in life expectancy? For example, Sweden didn't implement universal insurance until the '50s, and the life expectancy delta between Swedes and Americans at the time was approximately what it is today. Japanese-Americans have the same life expectancies as Japanese living in Japan.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040590)

The U.S. has comparable or lower rates of violent crime than Canada, England, or France, so that's not it. Lifestyle differences undoubtedly have an impact--Sweden is notoriously active, for example--but Canada has a province where a quarter of the country's population thinks a good meal is plate of fries covered in cheese curds and drowning in gravy, and also has more smokers, and fives time the number of doughnut shops per capita that the U.S. has (and England's not better). Rates of disease outbreak aren't worse in the U.S., and live expectancy as a measure of the country's health system is bolstered by comparable results (i.e., the UHC countries are significantly ahead of the U.S.) in other aggregate scores like time spent off work due to illness, or infant mortality rate.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038784)

>>>SHAME on you for trying to pollute political discourse

Jimmy Carter called me a racist. So have other high-ranking Democrats. What do you call that? Isn't that "polluting" the political discourse? But never mind; that's okay because they are on your team.

Source? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038684)

Do you have a link for that Obama quotation? I'd love to see the full context for a project. :-)

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039324)

I am currently in a country with socialized medicine. The grandparents of my wife came to witness the birth of their great-grandson. My wife is anemic on a good day. She's turned away from donating blood almost every time unless she remembers to take an iron pill the day before and eat an abnormally large breakfast. In pregnancy, it gets worse. When she had a kid in the US, they held her in the hospital because her count was low. They wouldn't let her go. She had no symptoms of anything, but they didn't release her until her insurance ran out, then, without having the issue fixed, they discharged her. They treated the "disease" of anemia without regard to the patient. There were no symptoms and no reason to hold her other than one test.

In this country, she was anemic the whole time of pregnancy, including during and after birth. She was asked whether she had symptoms. She suffered no dizziness, no fainting, or anything else. So they cleared her for release while failing a blood test. Her grandmother had a fit. She gets a new pill for every test she fails (regardless of whether it is even causing her symptoms) so, by God, that's just how it's done. To not give my wife something was neglect or malpractice or something, according to Grandma. I'd be interested in seeing the average number of pills per week of an American vs a European. My perception is that the US will be leading by far, even though the live expectancy doesn't reflect any better care.

In the US, they treat the test results, regardless of the condition of the patient. Outside the US, they treat the patient, using the test results as a tool to that end. That difference alone is a major factor as to why the US has the most expensive health care on the planet, yet a middle of the pack (for industrialized nations) life expectancy. Cutting the medication of everything, and instead identify problems with patients (rather than just failed tests) and treat the person, not just the diseases will reduce cost and improve care.

But, the "easy way" is to give a pill for every failed test and then you can't be sued. That takes less time and effort too. The cost isn't borne by either the doctor or the patient, so neither really care it isn't cost effective. And you get an over-medicated society in poor health. I'd guess that Obama's comment is along those lines, where he wants to cut costs and improve service at the same time.

P.S. Comp Sci. Comp Eng is 50% comp sci and 50% EE, so EE+comp sci is everything comp eng can do plus more.

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039940)

Saying that life expectancy is exclusively tied to a health care system is short sighted (but I won't claim there is no effect). For all you know, it could be that longer working hours, higher rate of obesity, more guns, etc would otherwise halve an American's life expectancy - but their superior health care system makes up for much (but not all) of the loss!

Re:It won't be allowed to be used. (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040072)

That's sort of damning with faint praise, isn't it?

FYI, in Canada, we have a province with a quarter of the country's population (Quebec) that thinks a good meal is a plate of fries covered in cheese curds and drowned in gravy. We also have five times the number of doughnut shops per capita that you have in the U.S. I'm jes sayin'...

wait (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038634)

jenny mccarthy told me vaccines give me prostate cancer

no thanks, i'll pass. i get my health advice from mtv hosts

Re:wait (1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038682)

Well done. I wish that bitch would die.

Re:wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038724)

I just wish she would stop getting people killed.

Re:wait (2, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038756)

Wow.

I moved Jenny McCarthy to my "formerly hot" list along with Carol Alt and Deanna Troi (Star trek).

Re:wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039340)

Wait, what about Marina Sirtis?

Re:wait (2, Funny)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039610)

She's still hot. Just in the "hot mess" category.

Re:wait (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038774)

Wow Jim Carrey, I didn't know you were a /. reader.

Re:wait (3, Funny)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039262)

She probably won't anytime soon, because I'm betting her parents had her vaccinated.

Re:wait (2, Informative)

VValdo (10446) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039200)

Looks like someone watched this week's Frontline [pbs.org] ...

W

Pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038716)

A vaccine that gives me prostate cancer? Honestly, the whole "make work" ethic is being taken a little too far by the medical community.

Well I definitely hope it works (2, Funny)

youn (1516637) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038744)

I also hope it gets rid of prostate exams :)

Re:Well I definitely hope it works (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039128)

It won't, because it does not prevent cancer. It is used when you have an advanced stage of cancer, and all other methods fail (including chemical castration). It's only a vaccine in the sense that it teaches your body to fight off the cancer, not in the sense that it prevents it. So you'll still be getting those exams.

I'm still waiting on ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038802)

An actual vaccine. Can we focus on prevention rather than expensive treatments?

Re:I'm still waiting on ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038934)

We have that treatment already! It involves a knife.

Provenge? (3, Funny)

adenied (120700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038866)

I'm trying to figure out if "Provenge" is the most awesome or terrifying name for a drug I've ever heard. Also from the wikipedia page it "consists of a mixture of the patient's own blood cells" and their special "fusion protein".

I'm going with terrifyingly awesome!

I just hope the commercials feature Chuck Norris.

Re:Provenge? (1)

taoye (1456551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039180)

When you need to get revenge, take Provenge!

Re:Provenge? (1)

HamburglerJones (1539661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039504)

I'm 95% certain that this 'Provenge' drug will turn everyone into zombies.

This is good news. (2, Funny)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039444)

As someone who got hooked on ciggies about six years ago and actually enjoys the habit, news like this is promising to me. I hope the science behind this vaccine can be generalized to other forms of cancer, including lung cancer. I understand the reasons for banning smoking all over the place for reasons other than health, but it would be great to have advances in health technology to negate the effects of smoking. Since I have yet to quit and am not motivated to try again, I'm kind of banking on it.

Re:This is good news. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040328)

lung cancer isn't the only health effect of smoking you know, stroke and cardiovascular are also high risk if you smoke. frankly i can't see the attraction of smoking, it's expensive risky and what does it give you? a high? choke yourself for 30 seconds it'll give you the same head rush.

Re:This is good news. (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040460)

But smokers dying earlier helps reduce the "aging population" problem. It reduces the costs on average - since everyone is going to die anyway, and many nonsmokers still eventually get expensive to treat diseases (live long enough and you'll get something :) ).

Plus if the tobacco taxes are high enough, you can get smokers to pay for other stuff as well[1]

As a nonsmoker, I think smoking is good economics. Drug money and all that :). All these smoking bans (in restaurants, pubs etc) seem rather stupid to me. Just tax places that allow smoking higher compared to those that don't, then you won't lose another revenue opportunity ;).

[1] I saw some stats in the UK where the smokers cost the UK healthcare system 3 to 5 billion every year. But the tobacco tax revenue is 10 billion a year!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8086142.stm [bbc.co.uk]

http://www.the-tma.org.uk/tobacco-tax-revenue.aspx [the-tma.org.uk]

http://www.ecancermedicalscience.com/news-insider-news.asp?itemId=311 [ecancermed...cience.com]

Re:This is good news. (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040676)

>As someone who got hooked on ciggies about six years ago and actually enjoys the habit

Of course you enjoy it. You're addicted to a chemical that affects mood. Your brain is forced to enjoy it. Enjoy!

Does this vaccine cause Autism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039554)

Just sayin...

$93,000 for the treatment (3, Funny)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039672)

Dendreon said Thursday the drug will cost $93,000 per patient. Their stock was up today.

Re:$93,000 for the treatment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32040058)

I read the cost on another site and seems like a lot of money for such a minimal life extension.

Re:$93,000 for the treatment (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040508)

The deciding factor to me would be how many of those 32% have a good quality of life vs the 23%?

If they are all still in a bad state - just clinging on to life rather than seemingly healthy, I'd rather spend the 93K on making the last few months/years of my life more pleasant.

Or give it to some loved ones to have a nice holiday, if I'm in already a too screwed up a state to enjoy it much. Or give it to some charity.

Re:$93,000 for the treatment (1)

ntimid8 (980393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040808)

You should keep in mind this is compared to $60,000 for Taxotere, the only treatment currently available to patients this sick. In virtually all cases treatment with Taxotere will add another $30K+ in support care expense (hospitalization, follow-up care, medication, etc.) to treat the added sickness caused by chemotherapy. The only side effect or additional care patients using Provenge will have to endure will be slight fever, rash, or a regular oncology visit. In the end it costs the same and patients live longer, and with dignity. I work for Dendreon and today has been one of the greatest of my life - I am proud to work for a company that truly puts patients first. It gives me hope to see science and logic prevail in our increasingly skeptical and cynical world. Like all things demand for the science will improve process and reduce price, but we should focus on the breakthrough, both bureaucratic and scientific, that Provenge represents.

Again... (0, Troll)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039974)

Again fucking statistics used as proof. No knowledge of how chemicals interact within the body, how and why the reactions that cause cancer occur, no fucking nothing. Just the damn statistics.

Re:Again... (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040242)

Again fucking statistics used as proof. No knowledge of how chemicals interact within the body, how and why the reactions that cause cancer occur, no fucking nothing. Just the damn statistics.

Again someone who has no idea how drug development and clinical trials work shooting his mouth off.

Re:Again... (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040742)

someone who has no idea how drug development and clinical trials work

Is that not his point? He wants to know more about how the drugs were developed and why they work they way they do. Instead he is given a brief line about the success rate in clinical trials and not much else.

Re:Again... (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040782)

Is that not his point? He wants to know more about how the drugs were developed and why they work they way they do.

No, I don't think he does. His contempt for the single most important item to be reported in any clinical trial says he doesn't really give a damn, but just wants to indulge in an ill-informed rant.

Re:Again... (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040380)

excuse me, but at you retarded?

sex (2, Funny)

mikey177 (1426171) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040054)

well research shows that the more you have sex and masturbate when you are young increases your chance of prostate canacer, and with teens having sex at a younger and younger age i think this company will be making some good money from this later down the road. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090126082343.htm [sciencedaily.com]

Silicon boom yes, medical boom no (-1, Troll)

Jodka (520060) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040098)

So this seems like a good thing to me. There is now something which, if you have a particular kind of cancer, you can take it and there is a good chance that it will stop you from dying. So in the near future people who otherwise would have died will buy this stuff and live instead. As a result, medical spending will bump up because there is now one more thing people can spend money to live longer. This component of medical spending increase seems like a good one. And that is why the often repeated, primary goal of Obamacare, to reduce medical spending, seems 100% ass-backwards to me. Medical spending increases are good. Decreases are bad. Most people want to spend more money so that they can live longer. The President wants them to spend less money and the consequence is that they will die sooner.

Obama was right; Medical spending in the U.S. is increasing. But so is iPod spending. Apple introduced the first iPod on 23 October 2001 and since has sold 220 million iPods. Between October 22 and today, there has been a massive increase in iPod spending. Yet there is no federal campaign to cap iPod sales, to urgent necessity to relieve Americans of the growing iPod spending burden. Apple is happy to sell them and for the most part the owners enjoy having them. The increasing sales represent a component of national economic growth. A national campaign to cap iPod spending makes exactly as much sense as a national campaign to cap medical spending.

In 1969 there were no microprocessors. Then intel introduced the 4004 in 1970 and today they are everywhere. It has been a revolution and most people believe a good one. But note that spending on commercial CPUs in 1969 was $0.00 and today it is umpteen bazillion gazillon dollars. But what if Reagan had declared a "CPU crisis" in the 80's when spending was heating up and enacted price controls and national spending limits on silicon? Then then in 2010 I would be posting this message to a BBS on my 80286 running MS-DOS.

Spending increases on silicon paid for the silicon revolution. The medical revolution which would have hit will be long delayed or never arrive because Obamacare limits the increases in spending which would have paid for those. Cures for spinal cord damage which leave patients paralyzed, curse for diabetes which kills, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lupus.

What George Bush did to limit stem cell research was a disgrace. What Obama and congressional Democrats has done is horrific. Millions of Americans will die of what would have been curable diseases.

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