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Drug Turns Immune System Against All Tumor Types

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the confused-mice-with-foot-tumors dept.

Medicine 330

sciencehabit writes, quoting an article in Science: "A single drug can shrink or cure human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice, researchers have found. The treatment, an antibody that blocks a 'do not eat' signal normally displayed on tumor cells, coaxes the immune system to destroy the cancer cells." The abstract and full paper are freely available. It seems fairly promising: "In mice given human bladder cancer tumors, for example, 10 of 10 untreated mice had cancer that spread to their lymph nodes. Only one of 10 mice treated with anti-CD47 had a lymph node with signs of cancer. Moreover, the implanted tumor often got smaller after treatment — colon cancers transplanted into the mice shrank to less than one-third of their original size, on average. And in five mice with breast cancer tumors, anti-CD47 eliminated all signs of the cancer cells, and the animals remained cancer-free 4 months after the treatment stopped."

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It worked even better (5, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481983)

It worked even better in mice that didn't get cancer transplants!

I kid, I kid.

But... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39481987)

What about non-tumor cells, which also display this cell determinant?

Re:But... (4, Interesting)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482073)

Same perplexity I have. What if the good results are linked to the host being a mouse, and in humans the same treatment would end up becoming some kind of auto-immune disease instead?

Re:But... (5, Funny)

priceslasher (2102064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482571)

Already happened, it was called "I am Legend" (the movie). Will Smith saved us but I think the zombies got him in the end.

Re:But... (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482075)

Yeah this seems to be the problem with all chemotherapy drugs. They target fast growing tissue, including the immune system. Being treated for these conditions can make you wish you were dead.

Re:But... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482157)

Sure, but in the cases where it works you eventually come away neither dead nor wishing you were dead. So your options are

A. Take the drugs, wish you were dead, then get better, then feel fine

B. Don't take the drugs. Be actually dead.

I used to stagger home through the woods after each round of chemo, not quite wishing I was dead, but certainly feeling very sorry for myself, and then in a week's time I'd go do the same thing again. But it worked, so instead of being dead and buried back when Slashdot members with six digit user IDs didn't exist yet I'm still here and feeling fine. Slight elevated risk of solid tumours in old age, and no chance I'll win any records for free diving with what the radiotherapy did to my lungs after we finished chemo, but I'll probably outlive those of my peers who are smoking.

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482209)

I am glad to hear that you came through okay.

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

ratbag (65209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482229)

Your post was possibly the post important message an AC has ever shared with this website. Thanks.

Re:But... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482267)

Your post was possibly the post important message an AC has ever shared with this website. Thanks.

Indeed. If it has just finished "P.S. first post", it would have been perfect.

Re:But... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482597)

There was an AC posting a few days ago in the thread about "steering wheel position" who had lost his wife and young son as a result of a malfunctioning airbag sensor. That's not to take anything away from the insight of AC above, though.

Just to point out that ACs have a bad rep on slashdot that is increasingly outdated. I personally refused to sign up with /. at 5 digits because I thought I would waste more time here if I had an account. Since then privacy concerns have heightened massively. Anonymity has become something that can actually be praiseworthy.

While the standard of posts has gone down massively on slashdot in the last 15 years, far more ACs are getted modded into visibility than before. Maybe some ACs are victims of the "slashdot edit wars", or semi-famous nicks that want to make their point in a neutral way, or prolific posters who got fed up of stalkers. ACs don't mind getting routinely bashed on slashdot - but the automatic hatred of ACs seems more dogmatic than based on any recent evidence.

Re:But... (0)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482849)

There was an AC posting a few days ago in the thread about "steering wheel position" who had lost his wife and young son as a result of a malfunctioning airbag sensor.

I saw the same post on Reddit.

Re:But... (-1, Redundant)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482317)

Sure, but in the cases where it works you eventually come away neither dead nor wishing you were dead. So your options are

A. Take the drugs, wish you were dead, then get better, then feel fine

B. Don't take the drugs. Be actually dead.

ahem...
C. Don't take the drugs. Be actually dead. Come back for BRAAAAAINS!.

Re:But... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482467)

I used to stagger home through the woods after each round of chemo

The sad thing here may be that people who have never really had a significant health problem will act all shocked about having to "stagger home" and consider it some impossible act of bravery. Fact is, if you can walk home - or stand at all - you're not in that bad a state.

I have just watched a grandparent slowly die - bedbound. His organs were failing. He bounced in and out of awareness of the people around him. Meanwhile I'm fortunate in that I've only been really unhealthy for a couple of weeks, following an operation with complications. My abdomen was full of drains and I was so coked up on painkillers that apparently it took me minutes to finish a sentence (I was conscious but felt completely numb - I wasn't really aware of what was going on). But I have recovered completely from that.

Compare my uncle, in his 60s, whose chemo a couple of years ago made him "feel awful" but he remained walking wounded throughout, carrying on and getting through it. My girlfriend's sister won't be so lucky - she has a few months to live following a late diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

tl;dr The human body can take a lot of shit. If you are worried about any symptoms, don't fear, but run to your doctor for a diagnosis. If you find you have cancer and need treatment, don't fear, but receive it happily - you'll feel a little shitty, btu if you're not too old then your body can get through much worse things.

Re:But... (5, Informative)

andot (714926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482745)

I understand you. And I agree with you. I got 10 chemos and stem cell transplant 5 years ago. Yes, it was living hell. But seeing my kids grow up now makes it 1000 times worth it.

Re:But... (5, Interesting)

Chatsubo (807023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482219)

The way I understand it, is that our immune system usually waxes cells that have gone rogue, and we get 'cancer' all the time except those cells get killed quickly by our immune system.

However 'true' cancer has a mutation that prevents this from happening and this drug turns that mechanism on again, so things can work as usual.

In other words: normal cells should carry on as before.

(If I understand this correctly, IANAD)

Re:But... (3, Informative)

ildon (413912) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482587)

The article states that it also weakens the defenses of blood cells, but that the mice's bodies produced enough replacement blood cells to compensate.

Re:But... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482273)

The authors share your concern. From the paper [pnas.org] :

A concern in translating this therapy to human application is the potential for toxicity. CD47 is highly expressed on tumor cells, but also at varying levels on normal (nontumor) cells. However, here we demonstrate that blockade of CD47 in immune competent mice produces an effective antitumor response without unacceptable toxicity, albeit with a temporary anemia.

Re:But... (3, Informative)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482813)

Sadly anemia is a horrible symptom in itself. Best case is lightheadedness, extreme tiredness and complete inability to sustain even mild exercise ("look ma, the docter said I can't run and look !" <wham> patient lies unconscious on the floor, usually with a few bruises and a suspicious spreading discoloration in his/her face). Worst case it causes you to choke to death while your lungs are operating fine.

Re:But... (5, Informative)

bestalexguy (959961) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482327)

What about non-tumor cells, which also display this cell determinant?

They will die. But, from TFA: "CD47 is overexpressed on cancer cells". Cancer treatment is about destroying much more cancer cells than healthy ones.

Re:But... (3, Informative)

Huntr (951770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482599)

From TFA:

Although macrophages also attacked blood cells expressing CD47 when mice were given the antibody, the researchers found that the decrease in blood cells was short-lived; the animals turned up production of new blood cells to replace those they lost from the treatment...

Re:But... (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482627)

RTFA:

Analysis of patient tumor and matched adjacent normal (nontumor) tissue revealed that CD47 is overexpressed on cancer cells...CD47 is a commonly expressed molecule on all cancers, its function to block phagocytosis is known, and blockade of its function leads to tumor cell phagocytosis and elimination. CD47 is therefore a validated target for cancer therapies.

Still no cure for... (-1, Troll)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481991)

...

Nevermind...

Cure for cancer just around the corner (-1)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481993)

News at 11....

I saw this in a movie recently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39481997)

The I am Legend movie?

Re:I saw this in a movie recently... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482077)

Yes we've had this drug available here for...

**NO CARRIER**

Re:I saw this in a movie recently... (0)

Zuriel (1760072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482197)

The no carrier thing is so last decad-
Read from remote host: Connection reset by peer.

Re:I saw this in a movie recently... (1)

pbjones (315127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482253)

Decade?, more like quarter century.

New tool for *special* agencies (0)

citro (940077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481999)

What about a treatment developed that coaxes the immune system to destroy useful / healhy / viable cells?

Re:New tool for *special* agencies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482003)

That's called an auto-immune disease and that would be nothing new under the sun,

Mouse != Human (4, Insightful)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482009)

Very promising, but before we uncork the champagne, it's important to keep in mind that mice and humans are different enough that most cures don't translate 1:1 to humans.

Re:Mouse != Human (5, Informative)

zanian (1621285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482031)

While, you have a point

that mice and humans are different enough that most cures don't translate 1:1 to humans.

at least it has been tested on

human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice

, rather than just on mice anatomy.

Re:Mouse != Human (4, Insightful)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482131)

Yes but I believe his point is that, a mouse is not the same as a human and therefore we cannot yet tell what detrimental effects the drug may have on humans that did not occur in the mice.

Re:Mouse != Human (5, Funny)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482671)

I have a theory that with enough research we’ll eventually be able cure any disease that mice are afflicted with.

Re:Mouse != Human (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482795)

at least it has been tested on

human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice

Yeah, it helps a mouse immune system kill the tumors. Its likely it would also help a human immune system kill them.
Now they need to make sure that it doesn't also kill the non-tumorous parts of the human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, liver and prostate in question.

Re:Mouse != Human (5, Funny)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482187)

Then let's test it on lawyers! They're almost human,

Re:Mouse != Human (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482261)

Yes, but what if it doesn't kill them?

Re:Mouse != Human (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482323)

Then it's not a cure for cancer.

Re:Mouse != Human (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482715)

But it is the cure for lawyers!

Re:Mouse != Human (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482799)

Yes, but what if it doesn't kill them?

Well, then it will make them stronger, obviously.

Re:Mouse != Human (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482315)

Do you really want immortal lawyers?

Re:Mouse != Human (4, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482473)

    It's a start. But you are right. People (scientists) are pushed to publish with even preliminary results. I'd prefer that stuff like this stay firmly in the scientific process, and not put out the press release until they have done enough testing to be reasonably sure of the result.

    10 mice is a start. A curiosity. Something to look more at. It's getting people's hopes up today, when we won't see it available to the general population for many years. Well, that's assuming that it does work as expected. They see a 90% success rate, with a sample set of 10. How does that translate out to a sample set of 1,000? How about humans of different ethnic origins, blood types, and other factors?

    I hope it does work as advertised. No one suffering from terminal cancer now, should hold their breath that it may work in their lifetime.

Won't happen (-1, Flamebait)

gusmolinadroid (2440828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482011)

It won't fly, as antibodies are cheap and not complicated to do. Seriously, do you really believe Big Pharma is going to let it happen ? A treatment simple like this would jeopardize their business, risking billions of dollar. They'll do something to stop this treatment in its tracks. They always do. Sound paranoid ? I wish. It's more like realistic. Their purpose is not really to cure cancer, but getting a maximum profit from it.

Re:Won't happen (5, Insightful)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482103)

It won't fly, as antibodies are cheap and not complicated to do. Seriously, do you really believe Big Pharma is going to let it happen ? A treatment simple like this would jeopardize their business, risking billions of dollar. They'll do something to stop this treatment in its tracks. They always do. Sound paranoid ? I wish. It's more like realistic. Their purpose is not really to cure cancer, but getting a maximum profit from it.

I call bullshit. First of all you don't risk anything by finding such a "simple cure". There are a lot of people and a lot of them will get cancer at one time so there is a very large customer base and no shortage thereof in the long term. For the length of the patent you could sell this stuff at almost any price. Do you really think one company would keep an invention locked up (and risk loosing it to someone else) that would bring them truckloads of money?
Not to mention all the free PR you'd get.
Also I don't really believe in conspiracies that rely on large groups of people to keep quiet, make no mistakes and act against their own private interests.

Re:Won't happen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482215)

Also I don't really believe in conspiracies that rely on large groups of people to keep quiet, make no mistakes and act against their own private interests.

OMG YOU'RE FUCKING BLIND MAN. It's not hard to keep quite when there's a risk of death! Harry Whittington was going to blow the whistle that 9/11 was an inside job so Dick Chaney shot him. He didn't die because it was just a "warning" of what was to come if he actually did say anything.

Re:Won't happen (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482405)

Expressed in other terms:
How may drug company execs will let their children, their spouses, or their friends die of cancer for better shareholder returns? Not all of them. It only takes one whistle blower, or potential whistle blower, to louse up plans like this.

One drug company supposedly had a drug for an inherited, fatal condition, but was going to can development of it, as there probably wasn't enough profit. A board member, who had a friend who's child had that condition basically said, "if you can this drug, I'm going to the press with it." Fearing the backlash, the company introduced the drug and now boasts about how good they are to bring drugs for smaller markets to market.

Re:Won't happen (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482643)

I'm pretty sure this calls for a "don't feed the trolls." GP didn't even pretend to make a sound argument supporting a logically sound conclusion. Just spouting tinfoilhattery.

Re:Won't happen (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482767)

It won't fly, as antibodies are cheap and not complicated to do. Seriously, do you really believe Big Pharma is going to let it happen ? A treatment simple like this would jeopardize their business, risking billions of dollar. They'll do something to stop this treatment in its tracks. They always do. Sound paranoid ? I wish. It's more like realistic. Their purpose is not really to cure cancer, but getting a maximum profit from it.

I call bullshit. First of all you don't risk anything by finding such a "simple cure". There are a lot of people and a lot of them will get cancer at one time so there is a very large customer base and no shortage thereof in the long term. For the length of the patent you could sell this stuff at almost any price. Do you really think one company would keep an invention locked up (and risk loosing it to someone else) that would bring them truckloads of money? Not to mention all the free PR you'd get. Also I don't really believe in conspiracies that rely on large groups of people to keep quiet, make no mistakes and act against their own private interests.

I suppose that if this treatment is as effective as advertised, we will soon see just how powerful Big Pharma's influence is. There is no doubt that there will always be a "customer base" of cancer patients (unless this becomes some sort of vaccine, which that will NEVER be allowed to happen), but it's rather difficult to put a price tag on a single injection and then convince your insurance company that it is something they should cover. The latter challenge is what may prove to be the most difficult for many, and therefore everyone will continue to profit from the "traditional" million-dollar treatment "packages" of surgery and chemo.

There is far more money to be made treating diseases than curing them. This mantra has held true for a very long time, and I don't see this changing that trillion-dollar industry.

Re:Won't happen (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482829)

It doesn't take a conspiracy, just your normal, average, seen everyday, everywhere corporate greed.

Do you not believe that corporations like to maximize their profits?
Do you not believe that corporations generally have no ethics beyond what is forced on them by law?

I can all too easily believe that a drugs company would check how much they make selling the current crop of drugs versus a cure and might very well make more money with the current crop. I can continue to all too easily believe that they would then shelve the cure and continue selling what they're selling. I could only hope that the scientists involved couldn't be bought off.

Re:Won't happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482107)

While i can understand your concern and partly admit you are right, if you do the math, you will realize that more patients = more profit. You can only sell medicines to living patients, so keeping them alive is also in their advantage. The type of medication may shift yes, but a growing market is something the pharmaceutic industry should welcome.

Re:Won't happen (3, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482129)

It won't fly, as antibodies are cheap and not complicated to do

What does cost to produce have to do with price, other than to set a minimum? Besides, you can get generic painkillers for 12p a box here in the UK, or you can buy the name brand stuff for £3.50; the two co-exist just fine. (Though I wonder who on earth buys the name-brand stuff...)

They'll do something to stop this treatment in its tracks. They always do.

Links or it didn't happen.

Because the no-brand stuff is India or Chinese (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482757)

And we all know how those countries attitudes are towards optional ingredients.

Most here can easily afford brand name medicine. We are the 1%, enjoy it.

Re:Won't happen (4, Insightful)

black3d (1648913) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482137)

They're not stopping the treatment. They're going to make megabucks off it.

>> Conflict of interest statement: S.J., M.P.C., R. Majeti, and I.L.W. filed U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/321,215 entitled “Methods for Manipulating Phagocytosis Mediated by CD47."

They've already applied for the patent for treating cancers in this way. If granted, 17 years of income for a cancer cure which they control the market on would make them a trillion dollars. Each. Although, they could just be patenting it to prevent anyone else patenting it, although naturally whomever funded the study is going to want a sizeable return on their investment and it's fair enough they get it.

Re:Won't happen (0, Troll)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482163)

I agree. There is far more money to be made by treating symptoms then curing people. This is the sad state of the American medical industry.
You can call bullshit, but in 5.. 10.. 15? years.. you may start to wonder whatever happened to this discovery.

So a general cure for most cancers is found... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482013)

And the most one quoted researcher can say is that the results are "promising?" Anyone else get these sense that these "cancer researchers" don't like the idea of the end of their job security and having to find a new line of work?

Re:So a general cure for most cancers is found... (5, Insightful)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482017)

This "The doctors are evil conspirators" crap really, really gets old...

Re:So a general cure for most cancers is found... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482091)

You're quite right, doctors are better characterised as highly egocentric, moderately intelligent fragile personalities usually pushed into a role with status by their parents, who follow a system that is to this day still closer related to a religion than to science. Is that closer for you?

Re:So a general cure for most cancers is found... (4, Interesting)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482159)

I have an M.D. from Harvard, I am board certified in cardio-thoracic medicine and trauma surgery, I have been awarded citations from seven different medical boards in New England, and I am never, ever sick at sea. So I ask you; when someone goes into that chapel and they fall on their knees and they pray to God that their wife doesn't miscarry or that their daughter doesn't bleed to death or that their mother doesn't suffer acute neural trama from postoperative shock, who do you think they're praying to? Now, go ahead and read your Bible, _Dennis_, and you go to your church, and, with any luck, you might win the annual raffle, but if you're looking for God, he was in operating room number two on November 17, and he doesn't like to be second guessed. You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something: I am God. ~~ Dr. Jed Hill (Malice 1993)

Re:So a general cure for most cancers is found... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482119)

I don't think they're evil but when someone's job is to cure cancer and other researchers come up with a possible cure and their reaction is "ehhh that's ok I guess..we'll see though" it comes across as resentment of the possible loss of job security not optimism mixed with some skepticism.

It was the same with the cured HIV patient. Most HIV "researchers" stated "Well that's nice I guess, but it's not applicable in most cases."

Well of course it's not applicable in most cases, it was an extremely difficult procedure, but the man was actually cured of a diseases that was till then believed to be incurable, so at the very least the cure can provide a possible template for other treatments in the future, but these "researchers" said nothing of the sort and seemed to resent the disease being cured at all.

Re:So a general cure for most cancers is found... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482749)

This "The doctors are evil conspirators" crap really, really gets old...

The doctors are not evil conspirators, the pharmaceutical lobby in Washington is evil. And I hate to say it but if they have their way then the only ones to benefit from this treatment (assuming that it scales to humans and still is effective) will be a very small percentage of the population that can afford the drug. Same as most of Africa when it comes to AIDS drugs...if it were not for Bill and Melinda pulling some serious strings the AIDS epidemic in Africa would be one hell of a lot worse.

I have news for you guys the drug companies answer to share holders and this means that they could care less about anything other than max dollar. There are some exceptions but by and large they spend more money by far lobbying in Washington than they do on charitable activities unless that charity gives them tax breaks which means it only applies to patients in the US.

And just in case you have not yet noticed the place where they get the biggest tax breaks is when they give a sponsored cost break to patients for things like cheap designer pain killers for arthritis. In reality they get government tax breaks to do this...non of the really expensive drugs ever get subsidised, Medicare pays through the roof for them if they are approved and covered.

Re:So a general cure for most cancers is found... (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482033)

Or perhaps they don't want to commit to a cure for human cancers when they've just found a prelminary positive result in an animal model?

That couldn't be it, possibly?

No, must be a conspiracy. *facepalm*

Re:So a general cure for most cancers is found... (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482241)

Everyone knows that cancer already has a cure, just eat these all natural leaves.

They just bury all of the evidence. And doctors kill people with their drugs. It's all a conspiracy to make money!

Re:So a general cure for most cancers is found... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482483)

I don't think anyone expects them to commit to preliminary results, and using loaded terms like conspiracy to undermine criticism isn't necessary, but their responding to a possibly revolutionary treatment after 50 years and billions expended on cancer research by basically saying "ehhh that's ok I guess," shows at least some of these "researchers" don't really care about curing anything.

Furthermore, the quoted researcher worries about how this treatment would interact with chemotherapy, instead of looking at the possibility that this treatment could obviate the need to use such a primitive method of treatment.

/b/ (3, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482019)

I propose to perform the next experiment on /b/.

Then maybe we will be able to continue this thread there.

Re:/b/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482093)

Too late, it's already metastasized to /sp/, /v/, /co/, and /a/.

Interesting times we live in... (4, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482029)

I'm a little over 30 now. Me getting cancer is relatively probable at some point in my life. The big question is will they cure it first?

Oh, and if cancer doesn't get me, will I have robot attendants at home when I'm old and fragile, or will they just upgrade my body? Medicine is progressing at an amazing rate, really...

Re:Interesting times we live in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482185)

No, you'll just choose voluntary euthanasia when you're 70. Or maybe compulsory euthanasia.

Re:Interesting times we live in... (4, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482227)

Remember that over 60% of cancers are environmentally caused (eating, drinking, smoking, sun, exposure to chemicals) and live accordingly.

Re:Interesting times we live in... (3, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482247)

Remember that over 60% of cancers are environmentally caused (eating, drinking, smoking, sun, exposure to chemicals) and live accordingly.

I do. Meaning I expose myself to a reasonable degree, and accept the risk. Much more fun to live that way IMHO. (Never smoked and hardly ever drink though.)

Re:Interesting times we live in... (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482271)

Yes, but you've breathed in enough vehicle exhaust to more than make up for that.

Re:Interesting times we live in... (4, Interesting)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482285)

Hint: Drinking is OK as long as it's beer or wine and it's not so much that you damage your liver. It's the hard stuff that damages mucous membranes.

Re:Interesting times we live in... (4, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482345)

The big question is will they cure it [cancer] first?

Cancer isn't one disease, it is a rather diverse family of diseases. Today, medicine is able to treat some of them to the level where they are cured for most of the patients. Some of them, it can give patients years of extra life. For some of them, there isn't much we can do a this point. The advance to this level have been slow, but relatively steady. This will continue. We are probably never going to cure cancer, in the sense that all cancers are survivable by 95% of the patients, but we are slowly going to get better and better, so that more and more cancers fall in that category, and for most of the rest, the average number of years the patients survive will rise.

Optimisim (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482043)

I'm not sure why some people are so sure "big pharma" are disinterested in curing many diseases/conditions. After all, if you can sell a cure for cancer, you just landed in a bucket of money.

Beyond that, the need for a cure is overwhelming. Even corporate greed will often take a backseat because this issue affects us all. If it was a condition associated with a specific population, or with the poor etc then I'm sure the interest would be much less humanitarian.

Every day we get closer to a cure, every piece of research, even if it's only effective on mice takes us when step closer. I for one, appreciate every effort made in this regard.

I do not have cancer and no one close to me has it either. Perhaps just a matter of time.

Re:Optimisim (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482133)

Especially if the bucket of money is outrageously large and will provide a permanent revenue stream. Also there is a large risk of loosing all of it if someone else published it.

Re:Optimisim (0)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482151)

Somehow I don't think that "permanent revenue stream" and "cure" mix very well.

Once someone is cured, they are no longer a patient.

Re:Optimisim (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482211)

So does not curing them, because THEY DIE.
Your conspiracy falls short around every turn and faceplants into a wall every time.

Re:Optimisim (4, Insightful)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482231)

And once you cure one person, nobody else ever gets cancer again, ever.

Re:Optimisim (0)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482179)

The money is not in a cure for the disease, the money is in the treatment for the disease. If the big pharmas were in it for the good of mankind, they would be non-profits and their CEOs wouldn't make the money they do. [fiercepharma.com]

Re:Optimisim (5, Interesting)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482251)

You cannot eradicate cancer, like you would a virus (smallpox). Cancer is an inherent flaw in the design of the human body (living past it's intended lifetime, not dying to wild animals) and we will have to put up with it for a very long time (until our understanding of medicine reaches a point where we can manipulate our genes to prevent cancer ever occurring in the first place).

If you have a cure for cancer, you will market it immediately, and make a whole lot of money. We will not reach a medical level to eradicate cancer in the patent lifetime of such a drug.

Believe it or not, there are still some people in big Pharma who are in it for the patients, not the money. And even if cancer was gone tomorrow, there would still be many many other things for big pharma to make money on, if that was all they are interested in.

Disclaimer: I work in big Pharma, and I see every day, people working hard for patients, not for the money.

Re:Optimisim (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482633)

If cancer is the result of an inherent flaw in the design in the human body then it can still be eradicated by eliminating whatever "flaws" exist in the human body that lead to the development of the disease.

But thinking such as that is emblematic of the mindset that cancer must always exist representing a continual revenue stream for certain corporations.

Re:Optimisim (3, Informative)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482843)

Ok, so you're saying that if Big Pharma weren't evil, they'd be trying to rewrite everyone's genetic code at this point? Whereas if they are evil, they'll just try to treat cancer? If that's the choice, give me Evil anyday!

Re:Optimisim (4, Interesting)

gutnor (872759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482201)

Also there is more money to be made curing psychosomatic type disease than real one. I'm sure big pharma would be happy to get rid of scary sickness like cancer so that people live longer and pay more attention to take their variety of "psychological disorders'. Pill to cure sadness, boredom, ... that where long term money is.

Re:Optimisim (-1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482217)

After all, if you can sell a cure for cancer, you just landed in a bucket of money.

I think you've misunderstood how it works for Big Pharma; curing something does not generate them bucketloads of money. Helping someone with the symptoms for several years without curing them, however, does generate bucketloads of money. As such it's defnitely in Big Pharma's best interests to not find cure for something and instead find something that relieves the symptoms.

Even corporate greed will often take a backseat because this issue affects us all.

Oh, there's plenty of history on that to go around!

Re:Optimisim (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482379)

I think you've misunderstood how it works for Big Pharma; curing something does not generate them bucketloads of money.

This is simply false, which you would know if you knew the prices for cancer drugs. A drug that is effective against a cancer will make you bucketloads of money. People really don't like dying, and they will pay good money not to.

Helping someone with the symptoms for several years without curing them, however, does generate bucketloads of money. As such it's defnitely in Big Pharma's best interests to not find cure for something and instead find something that relieves the symptoms.

But what if that is not the dichotomy? What if $other_pharma_company already have a patent on a drug to help with the symptoms, and you have the options of not going into that field, making no money, or try and cure the disease, making you a bucketload of money while costing $other_pharma_company money? What if drugs to help with the symptoms are out of patent protection? What if the drug you developed and tested turned out to cure people, in stead of helping with symptoms? Do you just ditch those billions of dollars worth of research because you might make more money by starting over, spending additional billions?

Re:Optimisim (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482673)

The thing that you, and all the other idiots like you overlook is that if Big Pharma Company A chooses to not pursue a cure for Disease X so that they can profit from treating the symptoms, they run the risk that Big Pharma Company B will develop it. Then Big Pharma Company A not only loses the potential profit from selling the treatment for symptoms, they also lose the profit from selling the cure. The other thing you overlook is that people who die no longer spend any money on products from Big Pharma. Big Pharma has an interest in keeping its customers alive as long as possible, so as to keep those people as customers. Thus Big Pharma has an interest in curing any disease which is terminal.

Really? | www.thanhlapdoanhnghiepvn.net (-1, Offtopic)

thanhlapdnvn (2604255) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482055)

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In Mice, and AutoImmune (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482067)

IANAMD but, note it says mice, and it might substitute chronic autoimmune disease for the cancer. But combining an anti CD47 drug with a system for making alerting the immune system to the cancer, e.g. Dendrons Provenge, ought to make immune threapy a high sucessful care. Without targeting the immune system on
a particular organ, an autoimmune response, could do mass long term damage, (long term isn't something we worry about in mice). A 90% cure rate is great through, modern cancer drugs have been getting approved for 30% cure rates or lower.

Re:In Mice, and AutoImmune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482303)

Honestly I'd be willing to be a lot of people would prefer the option of 90 percent or better remission, followed by autoimmune problems and possibly immunosuppressive therapy, rather than the long term effects of chemo/cancer progression.

While both might kill you, it's inevitable with the latter.

More important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482115)

How do we make it less effective so people have to take it constantly to keep the cancer in check? Where's the profit in a cure we need treatments not cures!

Re:More important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482183)

Bingo! We have a winner.

But will Obamacare cover it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482139)

or is it only for the 1%

How long it will take to turn it into medicament? (1)

YurB (2583187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482155)

...If everything goes well. Also, how much it may cost then?

Re:How long it will take to turn it into medicamen (5, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482335)

I'm no expert in these things, but AFAIK the process goes something like this:

  1. Test your idea in a petri dish. If it works, continue.
  2. Test your idea in an animal. If it works, continue.
  3. Test your idea in another type of animal. If it works, continue.
  4. Test your idea in a small handful of healthy humans at very small doses. If it doesn't cause them any harm, continue.
  5. Test your idea in a larger number of healthy humans at slightly higher doses. If it doesn't cause them any harm, continue.
  6. Test your idea in a handful of sick humans. If it works better than existing treatments, continue. (This is going to be awkward. Ethical clearance is an important part of any medical testing; there's little chance of getting ethical clearance of using this in place of existing treatments for cancer patients because if it doesn't work, you've delayed them treatment that could have worked. You could possibly use it in conjunction with, or in patients for whom existing treatments haven't worked, but then there's the question of is the treatment more/less effective when the cancer's progressed that far? Or if it's given in conjunction with existing treatments? Sure you can devise tests to deal with these issues, but they won't be as simple as "administer drug, keep a list of who's had it and what the results were".)
  7. Test your idea in a large number of sick humans. If it works better than existing treatments, continue.
  8. Release your treatment into the market.

Each of these steps can take months. Some of it's political and administrative wrangling, some of it's just that the test itself will take some time before you can be sure of the results. A drug can fail at any one of these stages and it's back to the drawing board (or maybe the test tube).

The whole process takes years. Yet newspapers often start reporting about "miracle cure" drugs that have only just completed the first round of live animal trials. Which is why you hear about all sorts of miracle cures that never see the light of day.

Re:How long it will take to turn it into medicamen (1)

YurB (2583187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482453)

Thank you for the information.

They waste all there time on this... (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482205)

And still, no cure for cancer. ... oh.

Re:They waste all there time on this... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482649)

... and still no cure for confusing "there" and "their"! :-)

"do not eat" normal function (2)

anwyn (266338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482223)

What is the normal function of the "do not eat" signal? Just what normal function is going to get messed up when you turn this off?

I'll hazard a guess. (3, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482359)

What is the normal function of the "do not eat" signal? Just what normal function is going to get messed up when you turn this off?

I'm not sure which "do not eat" signal they're talking about. But one that I do know a little about is the one that prevents rejection of a placenta and multiple sclerosis.

The immune system apparently recognizes and avoids attacking its own body primarily by:
  - Editing the sections of DNA coding for antibodies to produce a bunch of small clones of proto-antibody-producing cells that randomly react to all sorts of stuff.
  - Shortly after birth (when most of mommy's random cellular components have been purged from baby's body) letting these clones take a grand tour of baby's body - and anybody who recognizes anything dies off.
  - Then the survivors (who don't recognize any tissue in baby) turn themselves on and get ready to do a growth spurt if they recognize a target at the same time they're getting an "I'm being damaged" signal (i.e. histamine).
Result: A no-autoimmune immune system. Well, almost.

A significant problem is that there are a few tissues that aren't deployed yet when the baby is just born. One such tissue is the myelin sheaths of the nerves. Another, of course, is placental tissue from a pregnancy. (Unlike tribbles, humans aren't born pregnant.) If nothing were done about this, the immune system tissues would be a time-bomb, ready to go into attack mode if it happens to see a damage signal near a nerve or a placenta. This would result in multiple sclerosis or spontaneous abortion - both very big negative scores in the evolutionary game. So the immune system has a patch.

The main myelin protein has a short sequence that tells the immune system that this is a late-blooming tissue, so leave it alone. (I'm guessing this may be the "do not eat" signal they're talking about.) Placental tissue has the same sequence. There are lots of opportunities for failure, of course. (Defects in the signal molecules, disease organisms mimicing it, etc.) But when this patch is working right the nerves and a new baby are protected without significantly degrading the immune system's response to diseases.

This, by the way, is the reason nursing on cow's milk is a risk factor for MS. Milk has a protein related to the myelin sheath protein, but with the "do not eat" signal slightly different. As a result a baby may develop an allergy to that component of cow's milk - and thus to the common stretch of the myelin protein. Result: Autoimmune reaction to the myelin sheaths.

Re:"do not eat" normal function (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482387)

What is the normal function of the "do not eat" signal? Just what normal function is going to get messed up when you turn this off?

OMG, I hope it's not the "do not fuck" signal! If I have to leave the basement every saturday night, I'm never going to finish watching my TNG DVDs in time for batlhjaj!

Sounds like Burzynski therapy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39482435)

http://documentaryheaven.com/cancer-cure-dr-burzynski-therapy/

Documentary on Stanislaw R. Burzynski’s revolutionary cancer cure treatment based on his discovery on the mechanics of cancer, which lead him to the creation of the Antineoplaston Therapy. Dr. Burzynski’s Therapy has successfully cured thousands of terminal cancer patients for the last 30 years and has demonstrated to be 3 to 5 times more effective than the conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

In spite of the success of his therapy, he has faced the prosecution of big pharma and the FDA which has tried to stop his therapy from spreading in the United States.

Re:Sounds like Burzynski therapy (4, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39482463)

Probably because he's a fraud:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislaw_Burzynski [wikipedia.org]

Miraculous claims require miraculous proofs. And doctors aren't just sitting on the sidelines waiting to be paid more to kill more people, despite what you might think.

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