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Cheap Cancer Drug Finally Tested In Humans

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the good-enough-for-the-likes-of-you dept.

Canada 363

John Bayko writes "Mentioned on Slashdot a couple of years ago, the drug dichloroacetate (DCA) has finally finished its first clinical trial against brain tumors in humans. Drug companies weren't willing to test a drug they could not patent, so money was raised in the community through donations, auctions, and finally government support, but the study was still limited to five patients. It showed extremely positive results in four of them. This episode raises the question of what happens to all the money donated to Canadian and other cancer societies, and especially the billions spent buying merchandise with little pink ribbons on it, if not to actual cancer research like this."

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363 comments

sfhxsfghdfjfd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200240)

First?

Cure? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200244)

There is no money in a cure....

Re:Cure? (5, Interesting)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200268)

There is no money in a cure....

That's a common misconception. While there isn't much direct money involved in a cure, the drug companies still come out way ahead. If people don't die (and aren't even sick really) from cancer, they are more likely to buy other products, such as Viagra, that the drug companies are pushing.

Re:Cure? (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200436)

Viagra is another example of treating the symptoms and not resolving the problem.

Thats what drug companies love the most, treating the symptoms only and not doing anything to resolve the actual problem.

There is no profit in cures, just treat the symptoms and make them dependent on you.

Re:Cure? (4, Informative)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200720)

There is no profit in cures, just treat the symptoms and make them dependent on you.

You're missing the author's point. Your two combined statements would read as:

There is no profit in cures, except wherein the condition would result in the death of the patient.

Dead patient means no more profit. Yeah?

Re:Cure? (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201220)

Generic drug means very little profit (comparatively speaking). Patented drug is a lot of profit. Unless, of course, there is a safe and equally effective generic drug already out there. So, they would MUCH prefer no existing treatment while they try to cook up an expensive designer drug.

Re:Cure? (2, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200860)

After reading TFA, it does not appear that this is a cure per se, just that it halts the growth of active tumors. It seems that much more research is needed.

So, where's the Gates Foundation on this one? It seems a perfect avenue for them to do some good for humanity with only a small amount of money spent.

Re:Cure? (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200562)

My dad ha(s|d) cancer.

ONE chemo bag is $18k. I think he gets 3 per month until it goes into remission.

I guarantee you there is no way in hell he'd ever spend that much on Viagra or any other drug that someone could possibly use if he lived.

Re:Cure? (2, Funny)

ameline (771895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201066)

> there is no way in hell he'd ever spend that much on Viagra

Of course he wouldn't -- he would spend 6k on the hookers, 6 on the viagra, and 6 on the blow. :-)

(I hope your dad gets well.)

Re:Cure? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200570)

So my drug company would invest in better viagra and let the suckas invest in cures. You are one of them suckas, eh?

Re:Cure? (1)

Stick32 (975497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200644)

There is no money in a cure....

That's a common misconception. While there isn't much direct money involved in a cure, the drug companies still come out way ahead. If people don't die (and aren't even sick really) from cancer, they are more likely to buy other products, such as Viagra, that the drug companies are pushing.

Or they could just come up with a treatment, make sure it doesn't interfere with Viagra and then charge you double for the rest of your life...

Re:Cure? (4, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201130)

If people don't die (and aren't even sick really) from cancer, they are more likely to buy other products, such as Viagra, that the drug companies are pushing.

For erections lasting longer than four hours, try new Woodbegone!!!
Available in "100mg", "200mg", and "Damn, where'd my dick go?" sizes.

Re:Cure? (3, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200278)

I hate to say it but I'm starting to agree with this. Why would any pharmaceutical company EVER want to actually cure something when they could hook people on treatments for life.

Especially if they can't patent it, or it's inexpensive.

Re:Cure? (5, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200514)

Well, I've been cured of cancer twice. Three times if you count the relapse.

Here are the drugs I took

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparaginase [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercaptopurine [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methotrexate [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincristine [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prednisolone [wikipedia.org]

So yea, the drug companies actually cured me.

Re:Cure? (4, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201014)

Yeah, well, you are Wyatt Earp. There's no way you're going lose out to cancer.
...

Oh [wikipedia.org] ...right...uhm...yeah. Sorry, dude, I didn't know.

Re:Cure? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201132)

I hope I can make it to 80, I was given six months to live in 1980, so I reckon I might be ornery enough to make it.

Re:Cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201044)

If it came back, then you weren't cured.

Cancer itself is a fucking symptom people, look it up.

The disease/illness is damage to the cells self destruct system.
Fix that, and cancer never comes back.

Re:Cure? (2, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201114)

Actually...

I had ALL for two years. Was declared to be cured (I have the record of that in my medical records on dead tree), then when I went in for a blood count check, I'd relapsed with cancer in another organ. So two more years of chemo.

Then...six years after that, I was diagnosed with yet another cancer.

Then 17 years after that, a non-cancerous tumor.

Re:Cure? (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201212)

I'm not sure I follow your post. Are you saying you do or don't think their was/is an underlying problem that is causing cancer to develop?

Re:Cure? (1)

Lando242 (1322757) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200578)

The long tail. Sure, they may cure cancer or AIDS but that isn't going to solve all of your health problems. The longer you live the more crap you need to keep your quality of life high and the more money they make. It may cost them billions in R&D, testing and trials to come out with the next miracle drug but they make it all back and then some off of the millions of people that live much longer lives. Not to mention the money they make on the cure itself. It is pretty true about your last statement though. If they can't make any money off the cure they wont bother.

Re:Cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201024)

The less people that die from cancer eventually means more death from other diseases. If I were selling heart disease medicine, I would want less cancer deaths. I would also invest in things that would cause people to get heart disease.

Re:Cure? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200660)

When people come to Slashdot and talk about creationism, atheist and communist conspiracies, the community normally pisses on them extremely quickly.

Yet time and time again, the half-spoken, implicit, veiled theory appears: drug companies don't want to cure diseases, they intentionally avoid developing cures, because that would lose them money.

Why?

Re:Cure? (2, Interesting)

Venik (915777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201000)

Yet time and time again, the half-spoken, implicit, veiled theory appears: drug companies don't want to cure diseases, they intentionally avoid developing cures, because that would lose them money. Why?

Probably because it makes sense. Most pharmaceutical companies are publicly traded and their primary obligation is to the shareholders and not to the customers. If you can charge a customer fifty grand for one course of chemo treatment for the rest of his life, then what is the incentive to find a cure? It's the process that makes them money, not the end result.

A tearful story usually follows comments like mine: what about all those wonderfully dedicated researchers working for the pharmaceutical companies day and night searching for the cure? Well, I follow the news, so I am sure I will hear if they actually cure cancer.

Re:Cure? (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201292)

their primary obligation is to the shareholders and not to the customers.

You know, I don't really understand this line of thinking. The customers are where the money comes in. Shareholders are, for the most part these days, automated trading computers and mutual funds. Shareholders come and go like the wind. Furthermore, every shareholder goes in with the understanding that there may not be a profit. If you treat your customers poorly just so you can show a profit to the shareholders, then you will lose your customers, your profit, and your shareholders. However, if your primary obligation is to the customer, then you will generate more profit, and please the shareholders.

Re:Cure? (5, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201144)

Why?

Let's look at a case study.

There was a time when the most profitable drugs were anti-ulcer medicines. Surgeries for fixing ulcers were also big money-makers and they even developed rubber patches for peoples' stomachs to repair ulcers that didn't respond to the medicines.

Some (publicly-funded) research found that ulcers were actually caused by bacteria not stomach acid, and could be cured with an extremely cheap course of ant-biotics. The drug companies had done some basic research on this and did not publish. There was more than half a decade when drug companies knew that cheap antibiotics could cure ulcers but did nothing about it. It finally took government-funded researchers to publish and within half a year, the anti-ulcer drugs fell off the top ten, and even the top 100 of prescribed drugs.

During the time when it was known that ulcers could be cured with antibiotics, drug companies spent millions of dollars on marketing the anti-ulcer drugs to doctors, even convincing them that these drugs should be used to prevent ulcers in patients that had no symptoms. Since calcium phosphate was one of the ingredients of some of these drugs, they were pushed for osteoporosis therapy for women, even though simple calcium supplements cost pennies by comparison.

Do drug companies put profits ahead of patients? Undoubtedly. It's what happens when the ownership of a company is no longer the person who's name is on the sign, but equity owners who see their ownership in the company as a simple investment, and don't care at all about what the company does or how it does it, as long as the stock price rises. The desire for profit becomes a much stronger force than the desire to do the right thing, because corporations are not people, and will never care about the "right thing". This is the disconnect that gives the lie to any "free market" benefit to society.

If I'm the owner of the Pope Ratzo Cabinet Company, I care about the satisfaction of the customers who buy my cabinets. Along with the desire to profit is a natural desire to be known as the guy who makes the best cabinets. When I sell the company to a conglomerate, there is no longer a connection of reputation, or even the raw peer pressure I would feel if the lead paint on my cabinets were to harm someone. Now the investors are the owners, and they don't know squat about cabinets. They just know profits. Add "tort reform" and "liability limits" and suddenly there's no downside if people get hurt because the company does something wrong. It's just added to the cost of doing business.

Acquisition and consolidation creates fewer competitors. Globalization grows the scope of the remaining companies until the cost to get into the business to compete becomes so great that it's impossible for new competitors to come from anywhere but venture capital, where the "name on the sign" is pushed out of the way as quickly as possible. No responsibility, no accountability in the marketplace, since customers don't really have many options to find a competitor.

What was the last time a doctor prescribed or recommended aspirin, which is far superior to any of the more expensive "anti-inflammatory" medicines which are used for arthritis, pain, etc? I can buy aspirin, a wonderdrug, safe and effective (even perhaps beneficial) for $1.99 for a bottle of 500.

Re:Cure? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200666)

There is no money in a cure....

Skepticism is always warranted with an industry as large, corrupt, but ultimately essential as the pharmaceutical industry. Still, that goes into paranoia. No money in a cure? Perhaps you missed the very last line of TFA

[glioblastoma patient] average survival is 14 to 16 months with standard treatments.

This is not a disease that the industry is making money off stringing along patients rather than curing them. There's no stringing along. You die of it. You never become a continuous customer for the drug company. Hospitals might make a lot of money from them, and I don't know the standard treatment. I'd guess it's more surgical and pallative care with glioblastoma.

The second to last line also speaks against the idea that the cure is being suppressed: a quote by some professional suggesting that the drug would extend the lives of these patients. Not cure, extend. If you were right and they just want people to hang on to suck up more treatment, they'd be aggressively testing this, possibly in combination with a drug they -can- patent and make a bunch of money off of.

Anyway, any given research team has a huge interest in a bona-fide cure for cancer. That would probably be the quickest awarded nobel prize right there. Even if you were working for a company that had a financial interest in not actually curing cancer and you'd get fired, you wouldn't sit on it.

Re:Cure? (3, Funny)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200952)

You clearly have no idea of the magnitude of the conspiracy to suppress the cure for cancer. All those cancer researchers just want to get rich from the grant money by doing more "research"!

Re:Cure? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201300)

Here the point is simple. They don't want a cheap generic drug to be proven helpful, they want an expensive patented drug that does the same thing. That's why none of them have spent any money at all on testing the generic. They'll test just as soon as they get a patent on something they can charge tens of thousands a dose for.

It's a perfect example of why public funding is absolutely essential to medical research. There is no amount of market manipulation that will make big pharma interested in drugs like this.

Re:Cure? (1)

MediaCastleX (1799990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200782)

Hey, as long as it *looks* like someone's doing something, no one will mind that we'll NEVER see a cure for anything...

Re:Cure? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201010)

There is no money in a cure....

Of course there is.

Your customers die at age ninety and not forty-five. Your investment in a cure just might lead you towards a much deeper ubderstanding of aging and disease.

Re:Cure? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201164)

There is no money in a cure....

How so? Just because you cure current people of cancer doesn't mean that more people aren't still going to develop it too. Considering how people are living longer and longer the probability of cancer of this individual getting cancer of some form goes up. The drug companies still have a huge potential supply of people to sell the cure to.

Re:Cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201258)

One thing to note is that there is no such thing as "curing cancer"... or even "curing lung cancer". The problem is that cancer is not a single disease. Yeah, sure, they all have symptoms in common, e.g. rapid and uncontrolled cell proliferation, but that doesn't mean it's all the same.

Cancer arises when there is a defect in one or more genes that regulate cell growth and development. These defects are not all identical. One might break a receptor that signals the cell to die when it malfunctions. Another might cause a "time-to-grow" signalling pathway to always be turned on.

To put things in computing terms, if you have a number of different software programs that are buggy in the same way, does it necessarily follow that the coding fix will be the same in each one?

I realize that the idea of different types of lung cancer (or brain cancer or what have you) is a new one to most people. Heck, it's only recently that companies are doing research on drugs that kill "lung cancer type A" vs. all lung cancer. But that's the direction things are moving in. One day the doctor may be sequencing the genome of your cancer to determine which drug to put you on for maximum effect.

Re:Cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201310)

That's just absurd. Smallpox used to be the biggest threat to our species, and it's gone now. These days, we're actually living long enough to worry about things like cancer. If cancer gets cured, and the average life expectancy jumps a decade or two, we'll discover some rare condition that isn't much of a worry now is starting to take out huge numbers of us.

Where else (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200248)

It does to administration and hosting all those ridiculous charity events.

Re:Where else (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200494)

A lot of the big charities these days seem to be focused on "awareness" rather than "finding a cure". This basically sounds like giving money to these people so they can run more ads to get more money. At what point do we decide people are "aware" enough and start actually trying to cure these diseases? I don't care how many people are aware of breast cancer, I care how fast it takes to come up with a cure for breast cancer.

The big offenders I've seen are breast cancer awareness and autism awareness. Why do we need to give money to make people more aware of these conditions? Everyone is already as aware as they need to be! Stop spending money on awareness and start spending it on research!

Of course, once a charity reaches a certain size, its primary goal becomes self-preservation, and finding a cure for these things would threaten that goal.

Re:Where else (4, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200784)

The big offenders I've seen are breast cancer awareness and autism awareness. Why do we need to give money to make people more aware of these conditions? Everyone is already as aware as they need to be! Stop spending money on awareness and start spending it on research!

I can't speak for breast cancer, but my youngest son is autistic. Lack of awareness leads people to assume he's retarded, or a brat, or both. My nephew has Downs and I frequently envy his parents on the simple fact that they don't really need to spend a lot of time explaining how their child is different. My own son gets a mixed result of surprise and disgust when he doesn't live up to the standards his appearance would dictate.

Thankfully he's not really all that aware of how people treat him...

But awareness isn't all bad...

Re:Where else (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201168)

My baby brother has autism, he's 18 and operates at a 12 year old level. He's not stupid, but he is definitely developmentally retarded.

Seriously, if you don't think that autism is a retardation then there is something really wrong with your world view.

Heck, just look up the words.

Autism == a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

Impair == make worse or less effective
Restrict == restrain within bounds; to limit; to confine;

Restrain == to close within bounds, limit or hold back from movement;

Retard == cause to move more slowly or operate at a slower rate

Quit trying to convince yourself that it's not as bad as it is. Accept that it's bad, and then fix it.
Denial on your part just limits the possible solutions that you will aloow him to enjoy.

Re:Where else (4, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201262)

Lack of awareness leads people to assume he's retarded, or a brat, or both.

Autism often goes hand in hand with mental retardation, and it can cause the sufferer to act like a brat. Either way, autism is a mental fault and someone who is autistic or who has an autistic family member cannot expect the autistic person to be treated as if he is any more *special* than someone who just happens to be born, say, with a low-to-average IQ. In other words, "retardation" is also something you are usually born with, and it's no worse to be "assumed" retarded than it is to be "assumed" autistic.

My nephew has Downs and I frequently envy his parents on the simple fact that they don't really need to spend a lot of time explaining how their child is different.

Why does it bother you so much what strangers think? Perhaps you should take a lesson from your son.

Re:Where else (1)

perrin (891) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201318)

I guess it depends on the charity. I know that some of the largest medical charities here in Norway channel a lot of money to research projects, I have seen some of it, really good stuff. They also spend money on educating patients about their disease and their rights, which too seems a good idea. Not sure if that is what parent posters mean by money going to 'awareness'.

Re:Where else (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201338)

More often than not it ends up in the hands of for-profit drug companies one way or another. Even the money that goes to fund research in academic labs eventually is used to patent the drug compounds by the university and an exclusive license is granted to a pharma company with few or no strings attached about ensuring that the drug is brought to market in a way that actually ensures access to patients. It's kind of a sick process when you think about it since the incentives for all parties involved (scientists, universities, pharma) are stacked to encourage them to charge or be ok with charging ridiculous margins on the drug compound to turn record-breaking profits rather than shooting for a responsible profit margin while ensuring maximal possible patient access. This is done with both public and private financing and is an unintended consequence of the Bayh-Dole act which was meant to ease the commercialization process for technologies coming out of publicly funded research. Groups like Universities Allied for Essential Medicines [essentialmedicine.org] have been trying to fight this in a grassroots manner by advocating that universities adopt responsible licensing policies where they can include pricing and accessibility targets for which non-compliance can result in revocation of license exclusivity (just one example of what UAEM fights for).

Disclaimer: I am not directly affiliated with UAEM, but have several friends who are.

Where all charitable funds go (1)

maliqua (1316471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200250)

Some rich asshole who runs the fucking things new beach house

Re:Where all charitable funds go (4, Funny)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200406)

Some rich asshole who runs the fucking things new beach house

Why do rich people that embezzle from charities always have to be called "assholes"? I mean, seriously, it's equally likely that he's an asshat, asswad, or assclown. Stop jumping to conclusions, assface.

Re:Where all charitable funds go (1)

maliqua (1316471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200498)

You are so right it was prejudice of me to assume he was an asshole specifically definitely ass-something tho

Re:Where all charitable funds go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201088)

that's why you shouldn't make ass-sumptions

Re:Where all charitable funds go (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201118)

I've gotten angry looks from people when I've mentioned "supporting the magnetic ribbon industry" in regards to their ribbon of choice. "But it says, 'I support our troops',..."

but... but... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200260)

what about the magical free market fairies!!!

Re:but... but... (1)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200296)

The free market doesn't have to be perfect, just a lot better than the alternatives. Which it is.

Re:but... but... (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200876)

Remember that at least one of the alternatives is "the perfect market". Free market can't be better than that!

Re:but... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200902)

The free market is better than the alternatives in some cases, but not in all cases. For example, the free market does not work very well when it comes to the slavery market (for the slaves at least). This is an extreme example, but examples of free market failures abound in every-day industries.

Re:but... but... (2, Insightful)

yuriyg (926419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200454)

I'll take free market fairies over government bureaucrats anytime.

Re:but... but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200540)

Uh.. what? The pharmaceuticals don't do something, it happens anyway through the action of other parties, and this is not a free market response?

Spelling. (2, Funny)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200262)

Tumours? Does this only work on Canadian cancer patients?

--saint

Re:Spelling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200290)

it's never lupus

Re:Spelling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200386)

by saintlupus (227599) writes: on Thursday May 13, @05:21PM (#32200262) Homepage

Technically, Dr. House, wasn't it lupus this time? So that would be twice it was lupus.

Re:Spelling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200312)

Yes. Find your own cancer drug.

Re:Spelling. (2, Informative)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200344)

No, it works on all cancer patients who spell properly.

Re:Spelling. (-1, Offtopic)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200594)

Sheesh, offtopic already? How about if I say "Go Habs!" I hate the Pens, anyway.

--saint

Where the money goes (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200282)

Most of the time it goes to organizations the give out grants to companies to do the research and testing. Unfortunately what happens is it gets given out to Glaxo and the like, which then uses the money to research and test ... and patent what they come up with.

Some of the money goes to universities who research it, patent it, and sell it to drug companies so they can raise their own salaries.

This would be all fine and dandy if the drug companies gave back.

They do give back, but they don't give back anything like they get. They give back just enough to say 'we give back' in little strategic bits that make for good publicity.

Re:Where the money goes (3, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200328)

More like curing cancer would put the charities out of business. It's like the March of Dimes. They're goal was to wipe out Polio. When that happen, they didn't exactly fold the tents and go home.

Re:Where the money goes (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200370)

It would also put the drug companies produce the cure in a really crappy spot.

This is why medical research should be publicly funded and public property.

Re:Where the money goes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200588)

This is why medical research should be publicly funded and public property.

Yeah, it should be just like government funded movie production, like you know, cuz government funded movies from Europe dramatically exceed in quality and quantity anything that Hollywood ever produces.

Sheesh. Damn economically illiterate /.ers.

Re:Where the money goes (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201322)

cuz government funded movies from Europe dramatically exceed in quality and quantity anything that Hollywood ever produces.

Not "ever". But, in general, yes, you couldn't be more right. Hollywood is source of some of the worst entertainment and politics the Western world has to endure.

Re:Where the money goes (3, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201038)

This is why medical research should be publicly funded and public property.

Right. Because the selfless, benevolent government officials will be happy about losing their funding (and risk their cushy government jobs), when the cure is found — unlike those evil corporate drones, out to perpetuate our ills for, dare I say it, profit...

Back to the question at hand, the money, obviously, goes to raising awareness. Gee, the easiest question in a week!

Re:Where the money goes (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201236)

Yeah, we're in serious danger of curing every major disease, thus putting medical researchers out of business.

Re:Where the money goes (5, Informative)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200462)

Notice, though, that the March of Dimes didn't try to block the Polio vaccine, or lobby against it in any way.

Instead, they switched to other things to wipe out, and have apparently made great progress on all sorts of various birth defects now...

Re:Where the money goes (4, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200838)

More like curing cancer would put the charities out of business. It's like the March of Dimes. They're goal was to wipe out Polio. When that happen, they didn't exactly fold the tents and go home.

So... you mean it's like the opposite of the March of Dimes.

Great example.

Broken Link In Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200286)

From TFS:

From TFA:

Sorry, this story is not available.

Re:Broken Link In Summary (1)

Lurching (1242238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200430)

None of their stories are available from their site - regional block?

Re:Broken Link In Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200880)

I don't think that this is a region block. I am in Calgary and am getting the same error...

Unfortunately... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200298)

These drugs only work on Scotsmen.

Cheap Dancer Drug (-1, Offtopic)

tvelocity (812600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200306)

Am I the only one who initially read the title as "Cheap Dancer Drug Finally Tested In Humans"?

Re:Cheap Dancer Drug (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200372)

You, sir, are and idiot

Re:Cheap Dancer Drug (0, Flamebait)

B4D BE4T (879239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200434)

You, sir, are and idiot

Oh, the irony...

Re:Cheap Dancer Drug (0, Offtopic)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200508)

There is no irony. It's a meme and you failed at life.

Re:Cheap Dancer Drug (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200630)

your mom's a meme in soviet russia

Re:Cheap Dancer Drug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201188)

Not recognizing a stupid meme is actually WINNING at life.

Re:Cheap Dancer Drug (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201298)

Situational irony: [wikipedia.org]

This is a relatively modern use of the term, and describes a discrepancy between the expected result and actual results when enlivened by perverse appropriateness.

The GGP, while attempting to call the GGGP an idiot, showed his own idiocy. Hence, irony.

As for it being a meme, I haven't heard of it and I practically live online. So, you can't fault the GP for having not recognized it.

In conclusion, you fail at life.

couldn't patent? (5, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200314)

Drug companies can patent just about anything, so long as they do the research and file the patent. Example: a drug called Finasteride 5mg, which treats enlarged prostates, was discovered by its maker, Merck, to stop male pattern baldness. But the patent for Finasteride is expired. Merck did some studies and found that a 1mg dose was enough to treat baldness, and got the 1mg dose (Propecia) approved by the FDA. They patented the 1mg dose and to this day, 1mg Finasteride costs $60/month ($2 per pill), whereas 5mg Finasteride pills (the same drug, different dose) is basically free from generic drug manufacturers.

The moral of the story is that he who does the research gets the patent, even if the chemical itself cannot be patented.

Re:couldn't patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200910)

Thus proving that men who have enlarged prostates are 5 times more likely to be bald than normal.

What? Isn't that what you were getting at?

Lifestyle (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200320)

>"It also raises the question of where all the money donated to cancer societies [...] goes, if not to actual cancer research like this."

Apparently a lot of it goes to marketing type stuff trying to convince people to change their lifestyles. At least, that is what I have noticed the most.

Re:Lifestyle (1)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200504)

You noted marketing the most? Well go figure.
Please don't spread assumptions.

I used to work for the Irish Cancer Society and I highly resent all this cynical speculation.
It doesn't take much searching on Google to find all the great work they do.
How much goes to research vs. screening vs. education vs. awareness vs. treatment completely depends on which cancer charity, with many giving 100% to research.

Penn and Teller talked about this on "Bullsh*t" (4, Interesting)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200338)

Money spent on e.g. breast cancer awareness goes towards raising awareness of breast cancer, not to finding a cure or even a treatment. It's the same with every other X cancer awareness non-profit charitable organization.

Re:Penn and Teller talked about this on "Bullsh*t" (2, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200560)

Money spent on e.g. breast cancer awareness goes towards raising awareness of breast cancer

Except some of those charities explicitly say, "For the Cure." [komen.org] If they are spending the money on awareness and not finding a cure, that is flagrant false advertising.

Re:Penn and Teller talked about this on "Bullsh*t" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200694)

Money spent on e.g. breast cancer awareness goes towards raising awareness of breast cancer, not to finding a cure or even a treatment. It's the same with every other X cancer awareness non-profit charitable organization.

Also most charities are in the business of raising money not solving the problems of the world. The best of the charities only use 10% to 35% of the money for administration and fund raising. 50% isn't uncommon and some use 90% for "expenses". One major charity they couldn't find evidence that any money ever was paid out for the intended purpose. Non-profit simply means they don't claim profits. Paying out bonuses for some reason isn't considered profit.

Overheads (1)

s-whs (959229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201026)

Money spent on e.g. breast cancer awareness goes towards raising awareness of breast cancer, not to finding a cure or even a treatment. It's the same with every other X cancer awareness non-profit charitable organization.

Except that it almost certainly doesn't go fully to raising awareness. Most is probably spent on overheads as with many charities. Such overheads include large expensive buildings, ridiculous salaries for people on the 'board' etc.

Here in the Netherlands there was an outrage about the heart foundation's director getting a salary of nearly 200,000 euro (annually) a few years ago. And rightly so. If you're in a charity, you should make do with a more modest salary because of the fact that the money should go to research/prevention etc., not paying a fat-cat. The people who collect the money are usually volunteers and get nothing, yet the guy/guys in the top positions get loads of money basically for being nothing more than a secretary/secretaries.

Re:Penn and Teller talked about this on "Bullsh*t" (5, Informative)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201096)

Money spent on e.g. breast cancer awareness goes towards raising awareness of breast cancer, not to finding a cure or even a treatment. It's the same with every other X cancer awareness non-profit charitable organization.

Also, the amount of money for awareness isn't very large compared to the amount of money required to do human-based research. My small research lab has a relatively modest budget of USD 250k per year (*thank* *you*, NIH, and *thank* *you* to all you taxpayers out there). The total cost my institution will bill the government for my lab over the five years of the grant I have is about $2.25 million, including overhead. Now a couple of million dollars is a gob-smacking amount of money by most individual people's scales, but it's just one small biology lab. We're working with test-tubes, not humans ... at least not yet.

A hoo-ha-break-out-the-champagne fund raiser would net $1 million. That's a fantastically successful fund raiser. But it would only run my lab for about two years. If I wanted to do a Phase-I clinical trial, it would take two-to-three times that amount of money. Phase-II would be about ten times that. Phase-III is not something that could be done at my home institution alone.

So public-based fund raising for breast cancer, autism, kidney disease, coronary disease, glaucoma, what-have-you, is wonderful. But it's on the wrong scale to fund research or human drug testing. I'm deeply impressed that anyone was able to raise enough money for an independent drug trial.

where does it go? (5, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200346)

>> It also raises the question of where all the money donated to Canadian and other cancer societies, and especially the billions spent buying merchandise with little pink ribbons on it goes, if not to actual cancer research like this."

Answer:
http://www.preventcancer.com/losing/acs/wealthiest_links.htm [preventcancer.com]

Re:where does it go? (4, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201314)

That article is a bit sketchy, and way out of date. Take a look at this instead: Charity Navigator on the American Cancer Society [charitynavigator.org]

I trust Charity Navigator a lot more than thus guy. His site looks like a non-profit organization, but it seems to be just one guy looking for a way to sell his own books. All the publications [preventcancer.com] on the site are written by this one guy, Samuel Epstein. [preventcancer.com] He criticizes the ACS, but his nonprofit isn't even listed on Charity Navigator.

in 1988 the ACS held a fund balance of over $400 million...Of that money, the ACS spent only $90 million— 26 percent of its budget— on medical research and programs

That was 22 years ago! Based on Charity Navigator, they spent 6.9% on administrative expenses, and 72.8% on programs. The names he mentions in his article aren't current.

It was probably a good criticism in it's time, and it appears that the ACS has reformed -- perhaps as a result of the article.

A much better page on Science Daily... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200412)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100512141909.htm

Generic Drug May Be Potential Treatment for Deadly Brain Cancer

ScienceDaily (May 13, 2010) — Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have reported evidence that the orphan generic drug dichloroacetate (DCA) may hold promise as potential therapy for perhaps the deadliest of all human cancers: a form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.

The report is published at the journal Science Translational Medicine, a journal of the American Association of the Advancement of Science.

In 2007 the U of A team led by Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, published evidence that DCA reverses cancer growth in non-human models and test tubes. The team showed then that DCA achieves these antitumor effects by altering the metabolism of cancer. By altering the way cancer handles its nutrient fuels, specifically the sugars, DCA was able to take away cancer's most important strength, the resistance to death. Since then, several independent groups across the world have confirmed the Alberta team's findings. In December 2009, the editors of "Science" predicted that cancer metabolism is one of only 5 areas across all scientific disciplines, to "watch for major breakthroughs" in 2010.

The U of A team set out to show that the way that DCA works in actual patients is the same with the way it works in the lab. In addition, researchers wanted to show whether DCA is safe and possibly effective in very sick patients with brain cancer.

By extracting glioblastomas from 49 patients over a period of 2 years and studying them within minutes of removal in the operating room, the team showed that tumors respond to DCA by changing their metabolism. Then, the team treated 5 patients with advanced glioblastoma and secured tumor tissues before and after the DCA therapy. By comparing the two, the team showed that DCA works in these tumors exactly as was predicted by test tube experiments. This is very important because often the results in non-human models tested in the lab do not agree with the results in patients. In addition, the team showed that DCA has anti-cancer effects by altering the metabolism of glioblastoma cancer stem cells, the cells thought responsible for the recurrences of cancer.

In the 5 patients tested, the drug took 3 months to reach blood levels high enough to alter the tumor's metabolism. At those levels, there were no significant adverse effects. However, at some of the higher doses tested, DCA caused nerve malfunction, i.e. numbing of toes and fingers. Importantly, in some patients there was also evidence for clinical benefit, with the tumors either regressing in size or not growing further during the 18 month study.

No conclusions can be made on whether the drug is safe or effective in patients with this form of brain cancer, due to the limited number of patients tested by the study's leads Drs Michelakis and Petruk. Researchers emphasize that use of DCA by patients or physicians, supplied from for-profit sources or without close clinical observation by experienced medical teams in the setting of research trials, is not only inappropriate but may also be dangerous. The U of A results are encouraging and support the need for larger clinical trials with DCA. This work is also one of the first in humans to support the emerging idea that altering the metabolism of tumors is a new direction in the treatment of cancer, Michelakis and Petruk said.

The research team hopes to secure additional funding to continue the ongoing trials with DCA at the University of Alberta. Further studies would include more patients with brain cancer, and test the combination of DCA and standard chemotherapies, eventually including patients from other academic health sciences centres.

One of the intriguing features of this work was that it was funded largely by public donations, including philanthropic foundations and individuals. In addition, it received strong support by Alberta public institutions, both the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Sciences. The multidisciplinary team that performed this challenging translational research included members of the Departments of Medicine, Diagnostic Imaging and Biomedical Engineering, Oncology and Neurosurgery. Clinicians, scientists, nurses and graduate students worked together for 2 years and express their gratitude to the people of Alberta, philanthropists, the patients and their families.

For answers to the question -- (0)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32200740)

-- about cancer societies and research.

Read books like "Murder by Injection" and similar.

The various disease societies are pretty much PR/Marketing arms or heavily supported organizations of pharmaceutical companies and the like. Does some good come of their activities, yes. Does a some bad (in the forms of where their loyalties lie) come from their activities, yes.

Never forget that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200808)

"A patient cured is a customer lost"

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200862)

Why are they creating a drug that creates cancer? That seems like the exact opposite of what they should be doing!

You 74il it!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32200888)

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201008)

Cancer was cured last month:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/manchester/4423847.stm

Open Source Medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201092)

For years now I have been following the progress of DCA by lurking on thedcasite, where people exchange information about their own DCA use to fight cancer. It's an amazing story of Open Source Medicine, as it builds up one testimonial at a time. Dr. Michelakis, who leads the U of A group that discovered its potential for cancer treatment, is vehemently opposed to its use outside of clinical trials, and he has used his influence to make it unavailable in Alberta. There are doctors in Canada who will prescribe it off-label to cancer patients, but most of them choose to remain anonymous for fear of censure. Medicore Clinic in Toronto, however, has a practice openly specializing in the treatment of cancer with DCA. They have done their best to publish objective results on their website. Given that most of their patients have exhausted other avenues of treatment, I would say their results are impressive. TFA tells us that it has only been used on 5 patients, but in reality there is a large body of practical knowledge being gathered about its use. We know, for example, that it can reduce a cancer tumor so quickly that the body becomes overwhelmed with the byproduct of that, a condition called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). We are discovering that it is more effective in people who drink a lot of black tea. Its only known side effect (other than TLS) is peripheral neuropathy, and this can be relieved somewhat with vitamin B supplements. Yet this knowledge, gained outside of official channels, is disdained as heresay. Governments expend tremendous effort to keep it out of the hands of cancer patients for fear of ... what? A terminal patient might live longer??

Vitamin D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201112)

Yeah, it is called vitamin D. If you supplement at least 1,000 IUs and do not consume diary, you will not develop cancer later in life.

Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201162)

"Drug companies weren't willing to test a drug they could not patent"

Fucking sickening

Too little, too late... (3, Informative)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32201304)

In four of the five glioblastoma patients, there was no further brain cancer growth after initial treatment. Follow-up studies on cells taken from these patients showed that DCA killed cancer cells.

My wife died of a GBM (glioblastoma multiforme) in Jan 2006, 7 weeks after diagnosis - sigh. We were together for 20 years; I had hoped for many more.

By-the-way, the cutting-edge drug for this is Temodar [wikipedia.org] at a list price of $11,000 / month (for several months), but co-pay w/insurance: BCBS: 10%, Optima: $40 - go figure.

ho80 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32201320)

philosophies must fanatic known another special for it. I don't sales an[d so on, were taken over too much formality variations on the getting together to fear the reaper which gathers ass of them all, and Juliet 40,000 the rain..we can be startling turn
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