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Training an Immune System To Kill Cancer: a Universal Strategy

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the fighting-fire-with-napalm dept.

Biotech 201

New submitter Guppy writes "A previous story reported widely in the media, and appearing both on Slashdot and XKCD, described a novel cancer treatment, in which a patient's own T-cells were modified using an HIV-derived vector to recognize and kill leukemia cells. In a follow-up publication (PDF), a further development is described which allows for a nearly unlimited choice of target antigens, broadening the types of malignancies potentially treatable with the technique (abstract)."

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201 comments

Mad science (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39273933)

it works, biatches.

Re:Mad science (0, Flamebait)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274169)

Congratulations we cured your cancer! Now you just have AIDS!

Re:Mad science (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274201)

First posters are AIDS.

Re:Mad science (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274295)

All joking aside, even if it actually worked like that... with modern AIDS treatment that might actually be preferable to cancer, especially some of the nastier varieties of leukemia.

I'll take HIV over terminal cancer any day (4, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274639)

If somebody said: "SirWired, we can cure your otherwise-hopeless terminal cancer, but at the cost of being infected with HIV", I'd take the HIV any day of the week. Treatments for advanced cancer are often considered breakthroughs if they extend life by a few months. HIV, on the other hand, is getting very close to being a chronic long-term condition not much more serious than Type-I diabetes. (As in, if you have the treatments available and use them, you'll live a pretty normal, albeit likely shorter, life.)

Re:Mad science (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274227)

Yes!
Note: In case of zombie breakout, call Jill Valentine.

Re:Mad science (2)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275745)

I'm glad I'm not the only one that thought this when I read "t-virus".

Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39273937)

So, can I start smoking again?

Re:Good news (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274199)

Smoking takes about 50 years to give you cancer, so the answer depends on how long you have already smoked for, how long you think it will take to develop a generic cure that you can afford, and the probability you are comfortable with that they will get to the cure before the cancer gets to you (which could be never - most smokers never get cancer). Also heart disease.

Re:Good news (3, Interesting)

jonadab (583620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275119)

> Smoking takes about 50 years to give you cancer

On average, maybe, but the standard deviation is rather high, which makes the probabilities you discuss difficult to calculate with (any meaningful precision and) much accuracy.

Not convinced... (4, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39273973)

I'm not convinced.

What if this turns man into a race of zombies? We can't count on Will Smith always being around to save us.

Re:Not convinced... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274007)

Sigh. Slashdot puts up a cutting-edge medical story and OMG ZOMBIES comments come up.

Re:Not convinced... (4, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274055)

The United State's CDC [cdc.gov] takes Zombie Apocalypse seriously. I'm just heeding the warning that my government is giving me. It's part of being a responsible citizen.

Re:Not convinced... (5, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274139)

Service guaranties citizenship. Would you like to know more?

Re:Not convinced... (1)

Bardez (915334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275493)

I find your ideas interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Not convinced... (1)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274211)

Don't Panic all, I have read the “The Zombie Survival Guide” so I will survive. The rest of you are screwed, but I will live. So long suckers, but remember, Don’t Panic

Re:Not convinced... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275261)

So long suckers,

You're thinking of vampires.

Re:Not convinced... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274297)

Well, at least it is less moronic than the classic "This has something to do with automation/biological minupulation; ZOMG! What could possibly go wrong!" written by people who doesn't understand the first thing about the subject.

Re:Not convinced... (1)

QuantumPete (1247776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275471)

You're surprised given the readership demographic?

Re:Not convinced... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274307)

Relax, all we need to do is turn Will Smith into a zombie. Zombie Will Smith will always be around. And besides, he's a time traveler now, so he will ALWAYS be around.

Re:Not convinced... (3, Insightful)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274367)

I'd rather count on Milla Jovovich.

Re:Not convinced... (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274409)

I'd rather do something else on Milla Jovovich. But whatever gets you math freaks off, I suppose.

Re:Not convinced... (1)

Casca1 (656425) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274991)

Fear not Citizen, I'll save you! (maybe)

Re:Not convinced... (1)

marga (455344) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275061)

My thoughts exactly. Whenever I read about this story I think both of "I am Legend" and "Resident Evil" movies. Even if they are fantasy I think the "do not mess with viruses" message still holds true.

(P.S. I did check and the plural of virus is viruses not viri nor virii).

Re:Not convinced... (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275639)

then we will finally have a world where Brains are a valued resource.b

Boo-YAH!

Wow (3)

JasoninKS (1783390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274017)

Simply incredible stuff. Kudos to these scientists!! We all owe them a debt of gratitude.

Re:Wow (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274251)

I just hope that all those experimental results will also be approved. Even if the treatment is completely dependable, You know how those pharmaceuticals like to bitch..

Re:Wow (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274417)

I just hope that all those experimental results will also be approved. Even if the treatment is completely dependable, You know how those pharmaceuticals like to bitch..

Your drugs are talking back to you?

Better back off on the dose there buddy.

Re:Wow (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275001)

Your drugs are talking back to you?

Ssh. Don't give them ideas. I could entirely see a pill that talks to the user getting traction in the product development boardroom.

But then, modding them to say "eat me" might be fun...

Better back off on the dose there buddy.

Yes, if you have talking pills, you should really share.

Re:Wow (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275675)

no, they like to make money.

The C*O of the first company to put a cancer cure on the market will be 10's, if not 100's of millions of dollars.
Unless you propose the people at the top are so kind they would be happy to let the next CEO, or some other company make the money.

Hurrah for science! (5, Funny)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274023)

Anyone that has any kind of issue with this, please pack your things and get out of the civilised world. You don't deserve to live past 30 in a heated home with running water, electrical appliances and the ability to communicate with someone more than 20 feet away.

Science, people - it's the shizzle.

Re:Hurrah for science! (-1, Flamebait)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274099)

Anyone that has any kind of issue with this, please pack your things and get out of the civilised world. You don't deserve to live past 30 in a heated home with running water, electrical appliances and the ability to communicate with someone more than 20 feet away.

Science, people - it's the shizzle.

You're kicking out all the Christians.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274189)

not all of them. Only the 'good' ones.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274329)

Define "Good Christian" - is that the self-proclaimed or those that other proclaim to be "Good"?

One of my teachers in school (a Biology teacher at that) in the US when I first moved over here wrote on a review that I am a "Good Christian Boy" - does that mean I need to be kicked out too?

/ Disclaimer- I've never been a Christian of any kind and was partially amused by the comment. (part of me was peeved that it was assumed that I was "Christian" because I was "Good".

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274449)

Define "Good Christian" - is that the self-proclaimed or those that other proclaim to be "Good"?

No, you do it.

One of my teachers in school (a Biology teacher at that) in the US when I first moved over here wrote on a review that I am a "Good Christian Boy" - does that mean I need to be kicked out too?

/ Disclaimer- I've never been a Christian of any kind and was partially amused by the comment. (part of me was peeved that it was assumed that I was "Christian" because I was "Good".

Obviously not. But the biology teacher should be put to death immediately.

You just go on the no "fly to heaven" list. That is until you define what a "Good" Christian is. Then you will be forced to join the atheist youth, we'll get you a sexy brown uniform with an atheist symbol on the shoulder and a taser. You can set up roadblocks and arrest people with Jesus fish on their cars.

You can do whatever you want to them. We'll set up prisons, like the excellent ones they have for immigrants, where you can trade false promises for sex and generally treat Mexicans like animals.

We can make them work for pennies a day publishing atheist propaganda, and water board them when they don't act the way we want them to, because, after all, they are Christians. Not people.

We should get some lions.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274283)

Such utter nonsense. Many doctors and scientists are Christians and certainly most Christians partake of medical treatment on a routine basis.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274337)

OK, most of the Christians. Better?

Re:Hurrah for science! (2)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274529)

OK, most of the Christians.

Better?

No. I believe the Christians you want to kick out make up about 0.0001%. That would be about the percentage that rejects science and believes the earth is roughly 6000 years old. However, note that these people are idiots and their religion has nothing to do with it. There are just as big of idiots that are non-religious or belong to some other religion, like Scientology or Heaven's Gate.

In my church, for example, I was told that the universe is roughly 13 billion years old, the earth is about 4.5 billion years old (give or take 6000), and natural selection happens. But don't let the vast majority form your opinion of a group. Keep pointing to the extreme minority that every despises and say that is what comprises the entire group.

Re:Hurrah for science! (-1, Troll)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275111)

>

In my church, for example, I was told that the universe is roughly 13 billion years old, the earth is about 4.5 billion years old (give or take 6000), and natural selection happens.

How forward looking. And what did you believe before your church told you that?. Next week they'll be saying that the earth revolves around the sun.

But don't let the vast majority form your opinion of a group. Keep pointing to the extreme minority that every despises and say that is what comprises the entire group.

Does your church support freedom of choice? Do you require men who rape women to marry them and support them? How about medical experimentation? Is every sperm sacred? Every egg? Do you keep slaves? Do you think that using condoms in Africa is a larger evil than letting aids run rampant? Should Africans die for your beliefs? Are you looking forward to going to heaven where the most popular pastime is watching atheists burn in hell? Am I going to burn in hell forever? Do you tell your children that if they don't believe in God that they are going to burn in hell forever? Do you sit around at home at night hoping that Israel will nuke Iran thus starting the rapture? Do you support the holy wars? The crusades? Inquisitions? Jewish blood libel? Ireland? Religious genocides? Croatia? Palestine? Iraq? Do you eat pork? Do you wear clothing of mixed materials? Do you feel that religion should dictate the laws of civil society? Health care? contraception? Should abortion doctors be murdered? Do you support the protection of paedophiles by the church? Do you think that your mother or brother or child should be murdered if they profess another religion, as God commands? Will you go to hell for having impure thoughts? Genital mutilation, for or against? Censorship of science in schools? Is God responsible for everything science has yet to explain? Should faggots be put to death? Should they be sent to internment camps and beaten until they get their heads straight? What about atheist children? Are they evil? Are atheists evil and without morality because they do not fear the eternity of hell? Am I a sinful cretin because some naked tart bit an apple once? Would you sacrifice your first born if God commanded it?

etc. etc. etc.

You can disavow all of these things, yet by subscribing to Christianity and believing in superstitious nonsense, "faith" (belief in that for which there is no proof) you support them when you support religion.

Unlike all theist religions, I have no problem with what anyone believes, until it affects me. What I don't like is you forcing your ideals on me, and the rest of society, and then telling me I'm a bigot because I object.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275227)

You are apparently almost completely ignorant about Christianity.

Re:Hurrah for science! (3, Funny)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275349)

You are apparently almost completely ignorant about Christianity.

You're probably right. I've read the bible.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274541)

Sigh. Sure man, you are welcome to your opinion if it makes you feel superior. Maybe you'll enjoy this video of the former head of the Human Genome project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ml0FqyFYfrU [youtube.com]

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274645)

Sigh. Sure man, you are welcome to your opinion if it makes you feel superior.

What if it doesn't make me feel superior?

Re:Hurrah for science! (4, Informative)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275295)

First point: doctors are not scientists. Not remotely. Some doctors happen to be scientists. But this is a separate career, and they frequently are unprepared for it. This is the subject of a separate debate.

Second point: this is of course unrelated to the fact that scientists are mostly atheists. Even in the US. It is irrelevant that there are theists doctors and theists scientists: there is variation in any population. It just happens that when you say that, you obscure the greater truth that overwhelming odds are they don't believe in gods. source: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.pdf [stephenjaygould.org]

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275365)

First point: doctors are not scientists. Not remotely.

I hated biology too.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275501)

I am not completely sure what it is you are trying to say. To clarify my point: medicine is not a science.

Sciences are constructed around the formulation of theories, themselves bases for models and predictions. Doctors do pattern-matching and deal with human interactions. It is a useful and important job, but not science. So-called "scientific medicine" really is just large scale application of statistics, which is a huge progress compared to listening to voices in your head, but does nothing to advance systematic knowledge.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275719)

My point is that I hated biology. Too much memory work.

Re:Hurrah for science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275737)

So-called "scientific medicine" really is just large scale application of statistics

Sort of like looking for the Higgs boson?

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274309)

This is a problem?

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

fifedrum (611338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274513)

Christian bashing, oh look, how new and novel. What a fun way to comment on something, yay.

First off, a huge number of scientists are Christians, nothing precludes science as a profession for Christians, and Christians regularly enjoy the fruit of science and engineering without a second thought. No one would have an issue with this in the Christian world except the few thousands of nut jobs who, by the way, are reflected in every sector of society, who won't take medicine of any kind.

Cripes. Just because Christians don't want scientists working with embryonic stem cells harvested from murdered babies doesn't make them anti-science. That's probably the biggest issue Christians have with anything in science land. That and human animal hybrids, but Christians are hardly the only group with a problem with that.

Hell, the most fundamentalist Christians I know would simply "thank God" for this breakthrough and be happy for the lives extended with treatments.

There are other groups who certainly have a greater volume of complete anti-science nut-jobs in them, but you won't rag on them because they'll blow your house up. I understand, Christians are the soft target.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275315)

But the fact is that the scientists themselves overwhelmingly do not believe in gods. http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.pdf [stephenjaygould.org]

So in a sense, science and technology are the gift of non-theists to theists.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275073)

s/Christians/evangelicals/

FTFY. Corrected statement now includes fanatics of Islamic and Scientology faiths.

Unfortunately the correction does not include all the word worshipers of any faith. But closet fundamentalists of any stripe are generally tolerable, so long as they keep their self-imposed limitations on where the mind should be allowed to wander to themselves.

Re:Hurrah for science! (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274145)

Remaining issues are

Hasn't yet been show statistically effective to treat cancer in humans
Hasn't yet been shown safe in humans
Requires use of a potentially unsafe HIV variant that could mutate back to a virulent strain. Extreme care would be required to ensure that the modified virus can be contained.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274255)

While I agree that it's potentially dangerous I think that it's very promising. The fact that many people are condemned to certain and painful death without this kind of treatment makes pursuing this treatment critically important. Human trials on volunteers with no hope otherwise makes sense in this case.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274285)

1. Correct.
2. Correct, though from the only tests I heard of in the past none damaged the patient in an unexpected way.
3. Yes but that will take time and I believe even if there is a 100% chance of that happening, your future will still look brighter with the treatment rather with small cell lung cancer.

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

Moses48 (1849872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275063)

There are quite a few comments to the tune of "Even if it is active HIV, at least it's better for them than their cancer." While this is likely the case, I'm not sure it's better for society than the cancer. More testing needs to be done. But it's not worth saving 1 life, if they on average give HIV to 3 people after being treated. or is it?

As opposed to "safe" cancer? (3, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274719)

"Requires use of a potentially unsafe HIV variant that could mutate back to a virulent strain. Extreme care would be required to ensure that the modified virus can be contained."

Given that virulent cancer is far more dangerous than even the nastiest strains of HIV, the HIV would be pretty much always preferable. As long as they start with a strain that is easily controlled via existing drugs, I'd say we'll be fine. Heck, maybe they can dig some out of the vault that even AZT can control long-term.

Being afraid of this treatment because it starts with HIV makes little sense. Yes, more precautions need to be taken than working with, say, E.Coli, but frankly a syringe full of HIV isn't any more dangerous than some of the drugs we use as cancer treatments. (Some chemo formulations are downright scary...)

Re:Hurrah for science! (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275651)

Nobody's saying you should go out and get HIV if you happen to be diagnosed with Cancer. Science is all about being careful, taking detailed notes, doing tests, tests and more tests, etc. Sure, mistakes happen but that's why it's important to do as much research as possible into as much as we can.
I only have issues with those who condemn something simply because they either don't understand it or are afraid of what it MIGHT do. Computers might one day enslave us, but does that mean we should stop using them? No, but the fact that people are aware of what might happen is good enough because that means we can do something to prevent the "might happens" and ensure the "Desired to happen"*.

*corporate bullshit not withstanding. There'll always be people trying to jump the gun in order to make money, putting everyone's safety at risk - I have no place for them, either.

Live past 30 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275543)

You don't deserve to live past 30

All Capricon 15s enter the carousel. It's time for renewal.

Medicine often rejects real science. (4, Interesting)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275671)

William Coley, the father of immunology, cured fully metastasized cancers in the early 1900s. Look it up - Dr. William Bradford Coley. We had a cancer cure, and this article is about a similar potential cure. Coley mixed up highly individualized brews of dangerous disease organisms and shot them into cancer tumors, and trained the patient's immune system to recognize cancer cells as something to be destroyed. You want to know why we outlawed Coley's system and are just now rediscovering it?

Because nuke shills [wikipedia.org] . That's why. Nuke shills [wordpress.com] , like the fission-obsessed irrational numptys [wordpress.com] who reauthorized Price-Anderson and are unwilling to fund LENR or clean fusion research. Science is no match for politics [truth-out.org] and propaganda [austinchronicle.com] - if it was, we'd have progressed past fossil fuels and corporate nuclear fission decades ago.

Re:Hurrah for science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275705)

Umm, this is a treatment based on creating self-replicating T-cells, modified by HIV and set loose in your immune system.

If you *don't* have any qualms about the possible safety of this, then please pack your things and move into the closest superfund site you can find. You don't deserve to live in a place people with caution and diligence haven't fucked up yet.

Science, people - it's a tool, neither bad nor good on its own.

Mutation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274065)

I am by no means a biologist so please forgive my poor understanding, but is there any possibility that these modified cells will mutate and start attacking non-cancerous cells?

Re:Mutation? (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274121)

yes

Re:Mutation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274305)

yes

So.. then these fancy cancer killing cells can cause cancer?

Re:Mutation? (3, Funny)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274623)

They heard you liked cancer so...

Re:Mutation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274401)

At that point we'll have second modified cells that attack the mutated modified cells that attack non-cancerous cells.
And if the second modified cells mutate, the beautiful part comes here...

Re:Mutation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274989)

At that point we'll have second modified cells that attack the mutated modified cells that attack non-cancerous cells. And if the second modified cells mutate, the beautiful part comes here...

So at what point do we get to start eating spiders?

Re:Mutation? (2)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274957)

Every time one of your cells divides there is a small risk of a (series of) horrible mutation(s) that kills you, which would include the T-cells mentioned in TFA. However untreated leukemia is guaranteed to kill you. Choose.

Re:Mutation? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275015)

Yes, and I hear they can also activate your latent introns and cause you to de-evolve.

Fortunately, the chance of either is acceptably low.

Pneumonia Wins Again (5, Interesting)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274113)

If we can commercialize the treatment AT LOW COST, it will bring about a major new medical treatment industry, and it will allow millions of people to remain productive. That is the good part.

Hopefully it doesn't make the various worldwide retirement systems go bankrupt (though some will anyway because citizens allow governments to erect Ponzi schemes).

With fewer cancer deaths Pneumonia will take the lives of even more people, not that we will be able to do anything about that.

In other words, we are still guaranteed to die of something.

Re:Pneumonia Wins Again (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274343)

Hopefully it doesn't make the various worldwide retirement systems go bankrupt (though some will anyway because citizens allow governments to erect Ponzi schemes).

Medical evolution without making politicians and money brokers look stupid is infeasible. So yes, that will happen. But look at the bright side. Maybe political and macro economic interests won't allow such a treatment to be legalized :-)

Re:Pneumonia Wins Again (1)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274625)

"In other words, we are still guaranteed to die of something."

Thank you mods for drawing my attention to this.  :-)

Re:Pneumonia Wins Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275379)

Then I will also make you aware that this is the most annoying format tag I have yet seen on Slashdot.

Seriously, scrap the tt tag, it does ntohing but foster a personal dislike of anyone who uses it.
(now I have to go kick a porcupine after using it)

Re:Pneumonia Wins Again (4, Informative)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274657)

Cardiopulmonary will still top the list (including your pneumonia), accidents will probably move from third to second (If you count strokes in the first category by including the vascular system). It's tough to decide if people surviving cancer will be taken out by the ticker or a bug in the lungs. A reasonable assumption will be an even distribution among remaining causes.

Heart disease: 599,413

Cancer: 567,628

Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353

Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842

Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021

Alzheimer's disease: 79,003

Diabetes: 68,705

Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692

Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935

Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909

Data from the CDC [cdc.gov]

Re:Pneumonia Wins Again (0)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275491)

The CDC statistics are from historical data, going back probably less than a century in most cases. Also there appears to be at least one major cause of death that the CDC is ignoring: mortality caused by political action such as war and genocide. That would rank somewhere above Accidents. The CDC chooses to ignore this because, hey, they all know how to sing "I'm a Doctor, not a politician." Thereby excusing themselves from having to express an opinion on the one aspect of human mortality that could be controlled with current technology (such as more appropriate use of forums like the UN, instruments like treaties, etc).

But the more important point is that predictions based on the CDC data presented cannot account for the changes that any young person today is going to see in their lifetime. Anyone with a nodding acquaintance with raising cultures in Petri dishes knows that population growth never simply stabilizes when it approaches the limits of available resources. It always continues exponentially and overshoots the maximum sustainable number, then crashes catastrophically. There is nothing to suggest that human population growth will be any different, and there are all kinds of things that suggest that the human population is rapidly approaching the crash point. Technological advances in food production and distribution have kept postponing the Malthus point for a couple of hundred years, but it is impossible to imagine any new advance that could be put into effect as broadly and rapidly as would be needed to avert the coming crash.

Doom. Doom. Dismal doom. Just saying.

P.S.: Have a nice day.

Re:Pneumonia Wins Again (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274815)

Yeah, except NO retirement system in the industralized world is a Ponzi scheme. Libertarians and right wing whack jobs love to toss that little lie around in the hopes it catches on. Ponzi schemes are intentional fraud. If you want to find intentional fraud, take a good hard look at the notion that the average working person has sufficient excess income AND sufficient investment expertise AND sufficient good luck to not have the economy and those investments collapse right before retirement. THAT's a scheme and a really bad one, but if you've got yours then I guess it doesn't matter.

Re:Pneumonia Wins Again (1)

Terwin (412356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275189)

Ponzi schemes are intentional fraud.

So... knowingly screwing future generations to buy votes in the current round of elections(and perhaps the next few rounds as well) is not fraud?
I am not sure either way on the technicalities, but it sure sounds close enough for that to be a useful label.
I rather expect that if a private company tried to run a retirement system the way social security is run, that that company would probably be shut down for fraud.

If you want to find intentional fraud, take a good hard look at the notion that the average working person has sufficient excess income AND sufficient investment expertise AND sufficient good luck to not have the economy and those investments collapse right before retirement.

Um, there has never been an 18 month period where the stock market is down. Even at the lowest point of the stock crashes, they are still higher than they were a year and a half prior.(this is not the case for individual stocks, but it has been true for the market as a whole, and can be seen in large indexes like the DJIA)
Safe investing is easy, just buy one or more of the index funds that get shown on the news every night from a big-name investment company. You can try to do better than that if you like, but broad index funds are the safe-bet.

Hmm... (2)

Braedley (887013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274205)

Does this mean we'll be able to treat HIV with HIV modified T-cells? How about a cure for the common cold? Don't get me wrong, cure cancer first. But if we can apply almost any antigen, what's stopping us from curing basically any disease? Hint: maybe my lack of knowledge in immunology.

Re:Hmm... (2)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274377)

You have to undergo chemo to get rid of the regular T-cells otherwise they kill your modified ones. So unless it was worth going through chemo before...

I'm not sure about the applications for HIV, as that is a virus, not a eukaryotic cell.

big pharma will lobby to ban this (2, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274421)

Altering the immune system to actually cure things and fix other problems instead of treating them virtually guarantees they will lobby to stop it.

Why do you think illegal drugs are illegal? Because RX drugs are often the same thing only controlling them protects their revenue stream.

Why are phages all but outlawed for human use? They aren't drugs, can literally be made in a Russian basement so market entry is easy and they actually cure and prevent disease.

There's little profit in cures for big pharma, its all in long term treatment and the pharma lobby is powerful.

Re:big pharma will lobby to ban this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274881)

Bullshit. Please stick to 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Or the one about how the powerful lawn mower lobby is suppressing the grass which doesn't grow. That's my favorite.

Re:big pharma will lobby to ban this (2)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275075)

Really?

Cannabis is still illegal, and more illegal than meth. It has medical benefits, but very few can be studied because the funds and DEA approval are very hard to obtain. Most of this can be directly, and easily, traced to pharmaceutical companies (and the MIC), but if you think pharmaceutical companies don't drop millions in lobbying and other other actions to keep competitors out of their markets, you should just go back to contemplating your grass (which may or may not be growing and/or opressed).

Re:big pharma will lobby to ban this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275233)

BIG PHARMA? What are you, a holocaust denier too?

http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/08/pharma-shill-gambit.html

Stop being a tool.

Lab Science it Stays (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274463)

It seems to me that for at least the last five years I have been reading about novel and allegedly very effective treatments for caner being developed in labs (gold nano particles, etc...) There have been a lot. Yet in the laboratory they stay. I realize what it takes to drag something through the FDA but why not unleash these future technologies on people facing certain death from cancer in the present? There are lots and lots after all. It would be the ultimate trial of these technologies. If I were facing certain death from some type of cancer I would insist that these new sciences be unleashed up on me.

Yeah, but - (0)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274481)

How much will this cost per patient? Who is going to pay?

Re:Yeah, but - (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275633)

As this is largely American research, parent post is asking the wrong questions.

The right questions are:

1. How can this be made profitable?

What parts of the process can be patented?

This research will not get out of the early clinical trial phase until these important questions have good answers.

Or in other words... (3, Interesting)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274507)

So (study of) HIV may make curing cancer possible.

If it were to work, thanks to HIV for existing? If an incurable, but avoidable, illness is useful for curing an incurable, unpredictable, unavoidable and much more common one, wow!

Re:Or in other words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275731)

So (study of) HIV may make curing cancer possible.

If it were to work, thanks to HIV for existing? If an incurable, but avoidable, illness is useful for curing an incurable, unpredictable, unavoidable and much more common one, wow!

Simple enough. All we do is make a form of cancer that kills HIV.

Insert kill switch? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274717)

If these modified HIV viruses can be changed to target different types of cancer, is there any way that athey can also be modified to be killed by some substance that isn't normally deadly to the virus but also not naturally found in the body? That way once the cancer is cured, or if the virus starts to mutate, the doctors can just introduce the kill substance? Of course, IANAB(I am not a biologist, and my last bio class was AP Bio and Genetics back in high school 7 years ago), so I could just be asking about something that isn't ven possible.

Where are the exploits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39274763)

Like all tools, there will be weaknesses and downsides. Even if this is effectively a miracle cure compared to current treatments (and it sounds like it has definite possibilities). My immediate thought: misuse. How easy would it be to target, say, nerve cells? Instant leprosy symptoms? Or just a general-purpose "attack all cells with this person's DNA"? Seems like it could make a handy covert weapon.

Flip side, of course, is that it's probably easier and less traceable to use existing natural agents (unmodified HIV, polonium, $5 wrench in a back alley, etc).

Not suprising (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274835)

The immune system kills cancer in your body every day. Free radicals [wikipedia.org] cause cell mutations (cancer) all the time in the human body. The immune system identifies the mutated cell and destroys it. Cancer happens when the immune system either doesn't catch it in time or at all and the mutated cell begins to multiply. This sounds like any other type of immunization. [wikipedia.org] The immune system is tricked into taking action against cancer cells by attaching cells it already combats to the cancer cells.

Re:Not suprising (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275319)

Cancer is uncontrolled replication. If the body is regularly destroying the cells, it's hardly uncontrolled, is it?

Re:Not suprising (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275387)

You are close. However, this seems to be more of the immune system is tricked into taking action against cancer cells by telling it that features of cancer cells that it does not currently take note of are indicative of a foreign agent. What appears to be unique about this, as opposed to traditional methods of vaccination, is that it involves "reprogramming" the T-cells so that they are capable of attacking cells on the basis of the markers that have been chosen.

Why to involve T-cells? There are better ways... (3, Insightful)

Zdzicho00 (912806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274945)

Dr Zheng Cui (Wake Forest University of Medicine in North Carolina) discovered that human innate immune system is very effective at killing a wide range of cancer cells. About 15-40% of human population is naturally cancer resistant. Granulocytes kill 97% of injected cancer cells within 24 hours.
The most important discovery is that such cancer resistance can be transferred via simple blood transfusion. Here are some articles:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7003019.stm [bbc.co.uk]
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/12/granulocyte-infusion-therapy-spreading-into-clinics-beyond-the-us.php [fightaging.org]

Few human patient clinical trials are in progress right now:
http://www.bmscti.org/cancerpatients.htm [bmscti.org]
http://liftcancertreatmenttrial.com/scientific-background/previous-studies-in-humans [liftcancer...ttrial.com]
http://www.novacellsinstitute.com/ [novacellsinstitute.com]

And there are some exciting news about patients with 'cancer in full remission':
http://www.novacellsinstitute.com/articles/Beating%20Cancer%20-%20New%20Form%20of%20Immune%20Therapy%20is%20Working%20-%20for%20NOVA%20CELLS%20website.pdf [novacellsinstitute.com]

Re:Why to involve T-cells? There are better ways.. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275487)

You appear to be under the impression that T-cells are not part of the innate human immune system. This is based, at least on part, on research such as that which you reference in your links.

Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275003)

...XKC - oh.

Not giving people wild-type HIV (2)

jbcksfrt (1167293) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275009)

The viral vectors are based on replication-deficient HIV. They are missing some of the genes necessary for their replication. They cannot (or at least should not) be able to reproduce in the cells, so they are not giving people AIDS. One of the reasons HIV is used because it is a lentivirus, which means it can integrate into the genomes of cells that are not actively dividing.

Hurray for my Great-Grandchildren (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275459)

Cool, I'm sure this will save a lot of lives when this gets FDA approval in 2129.

There are much less radical options in the works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39275513)

Penn State is working on a method of a 'natural' treatment/cure [imakenews.com] involving fish oil.

All jokes aside, it's a good story about how medical research can find sudden and unexpected results
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