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Cancer Drug Found; Scientist Annoyed

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the serendipity dept.

Biotech 349

sporkme writes "A scientist was frustrated when the compound she was working with (called PPAR-gamma) destroyed her sample of cancer cells. Further research revealed that the substance was surprisingly well suited as a cancer treatment. Lab test results on mice resulted in the destruction of colon tumors without making the mice sick." Quoting: "'I made a calculation error and used a lot more than I should have. And my cells died,' Schaefer said. A colleague overheard her complaining. 'The co-author on my paper said, "Did I hear you say you killed some cancer?" I said "Oh," and took a closer look.' ... [They found that the compound killed] 'pretty much every epithelial tumor cell lines we have seen.'" Update: 02/15 17:27 GMT by KD : As reader CorporalKlinger pointed out, PPAR-gamma is a cellular receptor, not a compound; and this news is not particularly new.

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Tag Article Thusly: (5, Funny)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025186)

Best Headline ever!

Re:Tag Article Thusly: (3, Funny)

ccarson (562931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025408)

This is why we need more women in the work place. It's mistakes like this that really advance man kind.

Moo (3, Informative)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025192)

Cancer Drug Found; Scientist Annoyed

Um, no. The "Scientist Annoyed" came first. Indeed, had she not been annoyed she it may not have been brought to her attention that she suceeded.

A scientist was frustrated

And stop saying scientist. She is a researcher. The articles calls her a researcher. I'll bet she will even call herself a researcher. And, she is relevant because she was researching.

Re:Moo (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025268)

Forgive my ignorance, but what's the difference? If it's the source of his or her funds, I'm going to be severely disappointed.

Re:Moo (4, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025542)

I would consider myself a scientist, because I am interested in and conversant with science and the scientific method...In my case mainly physics, with a solid grounding in inorganic chemistry and biology.

I am not, however, a researcher specializing in one aspect of scientific inquiry.

It's becoming an important distinction these days because so many "scientists" who are no better qualified than I am, are none-the-less using their status as "scientist" to question the results put out by scientists with in-depth knowledge backed by significant practical experience in the study of their specialty (e.g. a researcher).

Scientist Vs Researcher (4, Insightful)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025700)

Seeing as the move to get people to call crackers crackers and not hackers never worked, I really doubt trying to get people call researchers researchers is every going to take off, especially as all researchers are, by definition, scientists anyway.

Anyway, why will changing the name stop ill-qualified challenges? One researcher in one branch of science could still challenge another researcher in another branch.

Re:Moo (4, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025622)

The seniority system goes something like this:

research director
scientist
research assistant/researcher

The research director can approve projects for research.
The scientist can propose projects for research - also supervise the project
The research assistant/research carries out the work required to complete the project

Re:Moo (1)

cavehobbit (652751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025270)

Umm, last I understood it, scientists ARE researchers...

Re:Moo (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025644)

Not true; what about theoreticians? They'd probably be pretty offended to be left out of "scientists," although they don't do a whole lot of "research" at least in the traditional sense. (Some do, though, but with theoretical stuff you have to have a fairly loose definition of 'research,' since a whole lot of it resembles 'preparing for publication.')

"Research scientist" is probably a better term for the woman in TFA; "scientist" alone is so vague as to be almost unusable. It's just 'someone doing science,' and could be pretty much anyone from a grad student to a Nobel laureate; it doesn't say anything about what type or kind of science they're engaged in, or what their goals are.

Re:Moo (4, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025284)

uhh, you know that a researcher is a scientist right? Last I checked, scientists researched things to figure out how they worked... and researchers did the same damn thing. The Ph.D. if you think that is a requirement, is not.

Re:Moo (1)

dantal (151318) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025366)

I don't know if I have ever read such a whiny post. Aren't biological researches scientists? The sure better be following the scientific method. Yes she was annoyed first, but she was annoyed. So quit whining a post something meaningful.

Re:Moo (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025548)

And stop saying scientist. She is a researcher. The articles calls her a researcher. I'll bet she will even call herself a researcher. And, she is relevant because she was researching.

Yes, and that research was relevant because it was part of science... [Origin [reference.com] : 1300-50; ME

By the way, I'm a scientist too. I use the scientific method, and my "faith" (if you can call it that, and I think you can) is in science. But wait, I am employed as a Graphic Artist! Holy shit, I guess you can't call me a scientist either. I guess I am just Man-who-uses-science.

Re:Moo (4, Funny)

Heem (448667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025598)

at least they did not say Scientologist.

Re:Moo (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025634)

Hey. Allow them some artistic licence. It's amusing that her first reaction to something that in retrospect is so useful was annoyance, and arranging the headline this way illustrates this a lot better than a strictly accurate one would.

Aether anyone? (1)

dgbrownnt (1012901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025856)

Not nearly as annoyed as Michelson and Morley [wikipedia.org] were, I'm sure ;-)

(Gotta love how science works sometimes)

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025202)

Never heard this kind of thing before, and the subsequent "it'll be 10, 20, whatever number of years away before you can use it yada yada".

Patents (2, Insightful)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025380)

Thanks to patents, it might be- apparently the compound that kills these cells is already patented. Whoever held the patents is now sitting on a potential goldmine- and they didn't even have to invest in it through research and development.

Homeresque (5, Funny)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025210)

"To pull a Homer": To succeed despite idiocy

Re:Homeresque (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025848)

Prefer to call it Serendipity

Re:Homeresque (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025854)

"To pull a Homer": To succeed despite idiocy

Idiocy? What's your PhD in?

Now that is a true nerd (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025212)

You can tell she is a true nerd because instead of saying "holy shit I cured cancer" she said "god damn it, now I have to start over."

Re:Now that is a true nerd (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025402)

Yeah, you gotta love candor like that. Admitting she did't immediately see the signigance of her miscalculation is priceless--human.

You have to wonder (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025216)

if the creator of Viagra had a similar epiphany

Re:You have to wonder (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025258)

Indeed. He thought he had failed, but continued his research with a stiff upper lip.

Re:You have to wonder (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025488)

No, his wife had the stiff upper lip. Later, he got round to wondering what the hell he thought was doing in the first place.

Re:You have to wonder (4, Informative)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025568)

Actually Viagra was invented to treat angina, at which it was a spectacular failure. The better-known use of Viagra was actually a side-effect that appeared in (if I remember) 80% of test subjects. So even Viagra was a sort of accident.

Re:You have to wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025762)

Someone watched "High Tech Sex" on the history channel last night. For real, they were just talking about this. Ha.

Yes. (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025614)

Yes. As I understand it, the drug was originally developed to increase blood flow to the heart. It missed.

Alexander Fleming said it best (4, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025224)

"Damn it! Who let the bacteria colonies get moldy? All of my staphylococcus samples died and now I have to start all over again."

A science teacher once told me (4, Insightful)

Trails (629752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025234)

"Most important discoveries are not accompanied with a 'Eureka!', rather with a 'Hmmm, that's odd....'"

So are a fair percentage of "last words".... (5, Funny)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025350)

that and "hey y'all, watch this!"

Re:So are a fair percentage of "last words".... (1)

andyh3930 (605873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025668)

Mod parent funny

It's from Asimov, I believe. (5, Informative)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025370)

It's an Isaac Asimov saying, as far as I know (though I haven't seen a primary source). "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discovery, is not 'Eureka' (I found it!), but 'That's funny...'"

Re:It's from Asimov, I believe. (1)

Manchot (847225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025826)

It may be the case that new discoveries are often made with a "That's funny," but it's certainly not the most exciting phrase in science. 99.999% of the time, it just means that something's been screwed up.

Very True. Discovery of Teflon is another example. (5, Interesting)

g2devi (898503) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025864)

"Dr. Plunkett was under contract with the DuPont Company and was doing research on methods of creating non-toxic refrigerants that would have very specialized uses; however, upon beginning his original experiment he realized that he had a problem . When he went to open the tank of gaseous tetrafluoroethylene, no gas came out of the cylinder; instead the only thing that came from this was a great curiosity . What perplexed Plunkett was that the weight of the tank indicated that there should be a given amount of the fluorocarbon present in the tank, and that it simply hadn't leaked out. This puzzled Plunkett and caused him to investigate what was actually still in the "empty" tank; however, it was not until he sawed the tank open that he realized what had taken place. Inside the tank he found a white, waxy powder and concluded that these individual gas molecules had bonded together to form this incredible solid, teflon, that had some very promising chemical properties."

Source: http://users.wfu.edu/starbt5/Serendipity%20Project /website/Serendipity.htm [wfu.edu]

I found a cancer drug, darn it (0)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025236)

Probably afraid (s)he's going to get sued now because they violated a cancer-cure patent? Well, but just as a lot of 'inventions' and breakthroughs, they happen by accident.

Or maybe they're not happy because now they can't earn money anymore looking for the ultimate cancer-killer (how would you feel if a program was made that automatically created perfect code by letting your manager put in all his wishes).

Re:I found a cancer drug, darn it (4, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025306)

She wasn't even looking for a cure for cancer, but rather a cure for an intestinal disease. She just used cancerous cells in the trials because they're quicker to grow and more resistant to experiment.

Re:I found a cancer drug, darn it (4, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025486)

"how would you feel if a program was made that automatically created perfect code by letting your manager put in all his wishes"

That would be fantastic! It would prove that mutually exclusive wishes can be programmed in. "I want it red" followed by "I don't like red" followed by "I wanted it red", followed by "I told you not red".

Now if a program could code that, I would pay top dollar for it. Seriously.

Re:I found a cancer drug, darn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025748)

hahaha if a manager put in all his wishes you'd get the most mangled piece of confusing garbage you've ever seen in you life :)

Typical science (2, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025240)

for all the logic and deductive reasoning they use, it ends up being pure chance and blind luck that gives us some of the best discoveries.

And how many problems could have been solved by now, if instead of someone saying "Hey, this isn't doing what I wanted it to do!" instead they said "Wow, not doing what I wanted it to do, but this effect is pretty darn useful too!"

Re:Typical science (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025372)

My mom always said (Forrest Gump inferrence somewhat intended), "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade". It's true. This is actually how the microwave oven was born, as well as many other inventions.

Re:Typical science (3, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025510)

what, they tried using a large microwave parabolic antenna to squeeze lemonade and invented a microwave? To celebrate they mixed some alcohol with orange juice, wanted to warm it up in the microwave and discovered napalm?

So what you are saying is that if life hands you a lemon, use napalm?

Re:Typical science (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025518)

my favorite is rubber

Dangit, I spilled the sticky useless-tree-goo on the stove...

Wait a minute, this new stuff is interesting...

Re:Typical science (1)

Duct Tape Jedi (802164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025398)

for all the logic and deductive reasoning they use, it ends up being pure chance and blind luck that gives us some of the best discoveries.

And how many problems could have been solved by now, if instead of someone saying "Hey, this isn't doing what I wanted it to do!" instead they said "Wow, not doing what I wanted it to do, but this effect is pretty darn useful too!"


And this is exactly why there needs to be more "research for the sake of research" regardless of whether there is any potential direct commercial value from it.

Don't Be Daft (4, Informative)

Petersko (564140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025562)

"for all the logic and deductive reasoning they use, it ends up being pure chance and blind luck that gives us some of the best discoveries."

Oh please. You make it sound like the researcher was walking down the street one day with a dish of cancer and somebody bumped into her with the right chemicals. Like it was the scientific equivalent of "You got chocolate in my peanut butter!"

The decades of previous work, including her education and work experience, worked steadily towards her being a cancer researcher who was following a logical chain that brought cancer cells and compound together for the discovery. If any of it was blind luck it was perhaps a tiny little sliver at the end. Really not even that was luck. After all, even though the results were unexpected, clearly she was on the track to something. No luck required.

I think it's insulting to her dismiss the roles that logic and deductive reasoning played in arranging these circumstances.

Re:Don't Be Daft (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025664)

sorry, but had she not made the calculation mistake (LUCK) she would never have gotten the result.

Maybe she was working down the right path, but she likely would not have gotten to this step without the luck.

additionally, the other part of my comment, according to the paper, she almost dropped it right there, and wouldn't have published/presented the results except one of her coworkers heard her complaining and said something that made her put two and two together.

I wasn't saying the whole thing was blind luck, but it is sheer ignorance to discount the fact that quite a bit of what happened, even if it was "at the end" was blind luck.

Re:Typical science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025662)

only an idiot on /. would refer to a lifetime of research as "blind luck."

Like it or not, chemists/biologists/pharmacuetical scientists work their asses off looking for that one compound that works without killing the patient. It takes A LOT of time; most of the research leads to dead ends. That fact DOES NOT mean that the one instance of success is "blind luck." Rather, it is the inevitable conclusion for of a tenacious and intelligent research team.

Re:Typical science (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025750)

What would you say about a person who uses insults in his arguments about someone else, and takes a comment about ONE SMALL ASPECT of a situation and then insinuates it's in regards to the whole situation? What would you say about yourself I wonder?

I've done plenty of science in my day, and there's nothing magical about it, there's a lot of work involved, and sometimes it can be EXTREMELY tedious and annoying. However occasionally steps are made due to blind luck. A mistake in a calculation or a step of procedure not quite correctly followed. I know it's happened to me before, though never in something quite this important.

I never said all success was blind luck either, I said that this one case was the result of blind luck. Maybe (probably) it would have happened without the luck, but it could have been days, months, years, even never, if they came out saying the results were inconclusive without realizing there was a slight detour they could have taken on their journey to get to their destination.

There really is an art to science.

Re:Typical science (1)

somepunk (720296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025836)

Which is why the core of science isn't deductive, but inductive reasoning. There's just no way to obtain all the axioms (if they even exist) and deduce all valid statements. You have to observe how things work in real life, make generalizations, then deduce the consequences of your generalizations and verify against real life again. Its usually referred to as the scientific method.

As good as it sounds... (1)

Xserv (909355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025256)

What's the REAL period REAL people would have to wait before this could be even remotely used with a human? 5-10 years PLUS FDA appoval??

Obviously, much more testing would need to be done but anything to battle cancer is a good start.

Xserv

Re:As good as it sounds... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025742)

The question is: which phamraceutical company would dare to jump on this first? After all, they don't make their money on cures but on treatments. Curing patients makes them non-customers and is bad for business.

Re:As good as it sounds... (1)

somepunk (720296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025756)

Killing cancer cells in a culture is hardly magic. A nice big dose of (fill in the blank) will do very nicely. Now try it without killing the subtly different noncancerous cells, not just in the short term, but no long term after effects either. This is not automatically a panacea. Maybe it is, but that will take time and testing to determine. You can't escape doing the work, folks.

Sure, it might be a good idea to put terminal patients on an accellerated track, but you can still open yourserlf up for consequences that are worse than the disease.

Amazingly not a dupe. (3, Insightful)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025278)

How odd; I was all ready to yell "DUPE!", but this isn't yet another DCA story. So, for this one, we have that it kills human tumors in vitro, and mouse tumors in vivo. We don't know if it's safe to give to humans. (Maybe we do; I haven't pulled the research paper yet.) Ah, well. Here's a picture of the molecule if anyone wants it. [wikipedia.org]

"Oh" (1, Redundant)

robably (1044462) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025282)

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..." "
-- Isaac Asimov

Asimov (0, Redundant)

jamie (78724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025288)

"The co-author on my paper said, 'Did I hear you say you killed some cancer?' I said 'Oh,' and took a closer look..." (Katherine Schaefer)

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science is not 'Eureka!' but 'Hmm, that's funny'..." (Isaac Asimov)

Re:Asimov (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025760)

I thought exactly the same thing. I'd guess that many of the most important scientific breakthroughs are accompanied by "huh, what happened there, it's not supposed to do that". Genuine "Eureka!" moments are probably few and far between (though just as important).


To whichever mod modded jamie down, you just killed your karma. Modding /. staff down means you won't be getting mod points again for a very long time...
I kid, I kid, of course /. employees would never abuse their positions like that. ;-P

"Oh, you wanted to *cure cancer*!" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025294)

"I misheard you. Sure, I've been able to do that for years. Here you go."

Like other famous finds in history (1)

winnabago (949419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025300)

Many famous breakthroughs in history have been accidents or errors. Penicillin comes to mind. Maybe this will be a story we are all telling our grandkids someday.

Didn't we cure cancer 3 weeks ago? (1)

o517375 (314601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025310)

Re:Didn't we cure cancer 3 weeks ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025694)

DCA is overhyped. This probably is too, but all to the good. Cancer is extremely complex and has many different forms, we're never going to find a single "cure" for it, just ever more effective treatments.

Terrible article, facts wrong (2, Insightful)

rhombic (140326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025318)

Reuter's science writer should get the credentials revoked. Gawd, I wish I never RTFA'd the article.

"She was testing a compound called a PPAR-gamma modulator. It would never normally have been thought of as a cancer drug, or in fact a drug of any kind."

PPARg modulators are huge drugs, some of the most highly perscribed therapeutics for type II diabetes.

"Most of the drugs like Taxol affect the ability of tubulin to forms into microtubules. This doesn't do that -- it causes the tubulin itself to disappear. We do not know why."

So you dosed in enormous doses of a compound, and it killed cells. Every type of "cancer" cells they tested died. They haven't tested primary cell lines (non-cancerous cells). Nor have they tested any tox in mice. They've got no mechanism of action. WTF??? I can kill cancer cells in the lab with large doses of damn near anything. High concentration table salt will kill cancer cells. Doesn't make NaCl an anti cancer agent. Crap. Spit. I hate write ups like this.

Re:Terrible article, facts wrong (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025446)

You're not doing to much better. "RTFA'd the article", so you read the fucking article the article?

Re:Terrible article, facts wrong (4, Informative)

Retric (704075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025498)

RTFA again "It also killed colon tumors in mice without making the mice sick, they reported in the journal International Cancer Research."

Re:Terrible article, facts wrong (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025610)

So headline should have been, "Cancer cured for 10th time this decade...In mice."

This is cool and all, and very interesting, but I've seen a lot of cool and interesting stuff that works great in mice that's fallen flat in human testing. Maybe this will be the one that finally does it.

Hey hey calm down (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025630)

Can you please calm down a bit and realise that even if the article is wrong, this is still potentially valuable if the scientists believe it?

Re:Terrible article, facts wrong (1, Redundant)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025666)

They haven't tested primary cell lines (non-cancerous cells). Nor have they tested any tox in mice.
Maybe you missed the part of the article where they state, "It also killed colon tumors in mice without making the mice sick, they reported in the journal International Cancer Research."

Re:Terrible article, facts wrong (4, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025706)

You should read TFA, no, not the one linked there but the one published by the researcher. it is available here [wiley.com] . Of course you can only enter if you have a subscription OR your university has access to it. Mine has, and I took the time to take a look to the article :

"PPAR Y inhibitors reduce tubulin protein levels by a PPAR, PPAR and proteasome-independent mechanism, resulting in cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and reduced metastasis of colorectal carcinoma cells"

Measurement of metastasis in vivo

Male severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice, 6 weeks of age, were maintained in a specific pathogen-free environment. Experiments were performed according to the guidelines of Yokohama City University. At day 0, 2 106 HT-29 cells were injected into the spleen. After inoculation, the mice were randomized into 2 treatment groups (each with n = 6) and 1 control group (n = 6). Starting at day 1 and daily thereafter, T0070907 (1 or 5 mg/kg/day) or control (1% DMSO vehicle) was administered orally. These concentrations were chosen based on initial pilot experiments to detect morbidity based on T0070907 alone. At 1 or 5 mg/kg/day, no increased morbidity (based on grooming, activity and food intake) was noted in mice with or without injected tumor cells. Four weeks later, the number and size of metastatic lesions in the liver were determined. Tumor volume was calculated as previously described.
and in the conclussion:

hese results demonstrate that treating CRC cell lines with high doses of PPAR inhibitors leads to disruption of microtubule function, alterations in cell morphology, cell migration, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In addition, definitive antitumor effects are seen in vivo, after oral administration in a CRC mouse model.
So yeah, they tested in mice and yeah it looks promising. Of course it might not be as "newsworthy" as media wants to make it look. Hundreds of similar articles can be obtained via scoups.com any day :)

Re:Terrible article, facts wrong (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025768)

NEWS FLASH:

Lab researcher discovers that high concentrations of 1 mole Hydrochloric acid kills cancer!

"I dumped 30ml's of it in the petri dish and after 5 minutes all the cancer cells were not only dead but GONE!"

Her assistant was not available for comment as he was screaming "MY EYES!" in the chemical shower.

fago8z (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025328)

PPAR-Gamma is a cellular receptor, not a compound (5, Informative)

CorporalKlinger (871715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025342)

It might be wise for whomever posted this to read the article more completely before publishing. PPAR-gamma is a receptor found within/on cells, NOT a separate "magic compound." This is old news, anyway - PPAR-gamma's effects with respect to cancer have been well understood for months now.

Source:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=g ene&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=Graphics&list_uids=5468 [nih.gov]

Notice how it says "implicated in cancer"? That information has been there for quite some time. Time for people to stop posting this antiquated junk as "new news."

Re:PPAR-Gamma is a cellular receptor, not a compou (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025508)

I thought the same thing, but TFA says: "She was testing a compound called a PPAR-gamma modulator". So it's the /. editors who messed up.

Re:PPAR-Gamma is a cellular receptor, not a compou (0, Troll)

IainMH (176964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025626)

Time for people to stop posting this antiquated junk as "new news."
n00b

From TFA (3, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025356)

As the compound is already patented, her team will probably have to design something slightly different to be able to patent it as a new drug.

FTW. I found a cure for cancer, sorry patented. And for AIDS too, sorry patented. I found a cure for all sickness and death, sorry patented.

Further investigation (2, Funny)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025360)

Further investigation later revealed that the substance she had been using was in fact sulfuric acid...

the cure's owned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025384)

"As the compound is already patented"

no one gets this without paying the powerful

The focus is to narrow! (2, Interesting)

Buddy_DoQ (922706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025396)

This happens to me quite often, I will dig into a project trying to solve some major issue or another (Wi-Fi's down again!) and hours later I've solved it. The problem is I've already forgotten the original issue and found three others that are really quite trivial. Sometimes I look up and notice, sometimes I just keep working away, creating new issues and solutions with complete disregard for the original major issue. It's like my focus becomes so narrow, that I can't see the bigger picture without someone else stepping in.

This is where a good project manager should step in. "You do realize you've been painting the same tiny bit of trim for the past three hours, right?"

Forest before the trees (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025410)

Something about not seeing the forest with all these damn trees in the way comes to mind...

Relevance in vivo to be determined (1)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025418)

PPARs have been under investigation for a variety of ailments for some time by pharma companies (specifically, diabetes; some of these drugs were recalled from the market). Whether or not this discovery will translate into an actual effective drug is not even remotely close to being established.


Seems like every week we get one of these "cure for cancer" stories. It's great that the research is ongoing, but the breathless headlines are premature.

Where is the kaboom? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025430)

There is supposed to be a kaboom! or some bells ringing or something... Finally, a cure for cancer and the reaction seems just a little too ho-hum.

Shouldn't someone be shouting holyfsck and doing back flips up and down the halls of the AMA?

Maybe we're just shell shocked, or quietly waiting for the sticker shock?

why the AMA? (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025632)

What does the American Modelers Association have to do with it?

stuff is patented: Sorry, can't cure cancer today! (2, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025452)

"Schaefer's team plans more safety tests in mice. As the compound is already patented, her team will probably have to design something slightly different to be able to patent it as a new drug."

Another plus for having a "Great" patent system.
You have cancer? Go to China or India.
After a few years of people doing this,
China and India will be as rich as the USA was 5 years ago.
(Today, the USA is actually poorer!)

Re:stuff is patented: Sorry, can't cure cancer tod (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025830)

Another plus for having a "Great" patent system. You have cancer? Go to China or India. After a few years of people doing this, China and India will be as rich as the USA was 5 years ago.

Amen! By the same token, I think that if you're an individual valuable to business or scientific progress living in the US, and you don't like to see what the US is doing with its power, you have a responsibility to either enter politics, or leave the country.

Otherwise you're just lending your power to the country with whose actions you disagree, and I find that more than a bit hypocritical.

Scientists have often wanted to be apolitical, but even refusing to take a specific political stance is itself a political statement. It's simply impossible. Be part of the solution, or... you know the rest.

BREAKING NEWS (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025468)

That's great. A fantastic new cancer treatment, and the "BREAKING NEWS" on MSNBC is about Anna Nicole Smith.

Re:BREAKING NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18025686)

That's great. A fantastic new cancer treatment, and the "BREAKING NEWS" on MSNBC is about Anna Nicole Smith.

Hmmm... I think I see what you're saying...

There's a connection between the dead bimbo, PPAR molecule thingy, Barbados, cancer cells, unknown father of a baby, and mice.

I need a car analogy here...

We need a new meme (4, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025474)

For the love of RB Woodward's wine-guzzling ghost, I am sick of stories about compound X and how it is the next big thing and how it kills cancer cells stone dead in a Petri dish.

Every other compound you can order from Aldrich will kill cancer cells in vitro. So will a ball peen hammer. Drano, playground sand, double-acting baking powder. Pledge will kill them and leave a lemony-fresh scent.

When this compound gets to stage III clinical trials and does not leave a trail of bodies and does show some efficacy, then you can post the story.

Until then, Netcraft confirms it. These cancer cells are dying.
In the Soviet Union, cancer cells kill new drugs.
etc

Re:We need a new meme (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025800)

Why don't you actually read the article? They tested the modulator in mice and found that it killed cancer cells in them with no ill effects. So the important part of the article is not that it kills cancer cells. It's that it kills cancer cells without major damage to other cells.

Way to go, captain obvious!

Duh (1)

Gerocrack (979018) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025558)

Damn it, why do I keep getting more energy out of this reactor than I put in? Piece of junk...

Funding cut (3, Funny)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025566)

Watch her grants get cut since she is reporting a result she didn't write into the grant application.

hee, hee, don't wash up. (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025576)

penicillin was found the same way... contamination on the sample cells. instead of washing up, fleming looked further.

this probably means the coffee cups in cubicles will be allowed to grow another couple inches of fur, but to the delight of kid hackers everywhere... don't wash up.

Patents (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025584)

From the article: "As the compound is already patented, her team will probably have to design something slightly different to be able to patent it as a new drug."

So is the public at large now generally accepting the beliefs that not only are biological compounds [wikipedia.org] patentable, but that slightly changing them results in something sufficiently different to also be patentable?

I had a similar problem. (4, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025590)

I tried making a perpetual motion machine, but it just kept getting faster and faster. I mean what use is a device that creates free energy? And it's just damn irritating when the fundamental laws of physics stop applying.

Re:I had a similar problem. (2, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025672)

In this forum we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Nice! (1)

SQLz (564901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025602)

Smoke em' if you got em boys.

So even with rocket science (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025612)

So even with professions that goes in the rocket science section it still works by trial and error.
forget all the calculations and fancy formulas, most breakthroughs are still done by "mistake"

Re:So even with rocket science (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025792)

forget all the calculations and fancy formulas, most breakthroughs are still done by "mistake"

I think it's more a matter of the successful mistakes get better reporting as the "it was a mistake" makes for a better story.

Just Like Penicillin (3, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025624)

Penicillin [wikipedia.org] , the panacea [wikipedia.org] of the last generation of medical science, was discovered accidentally by Alexander Fleming [wikipedia.org] . Now a cancer cure, our era's "holy grail", has perhaps been found in a similar accident.

It seems that the "error" part of the scientific method's "trial and error" process is even more important than the planned "trial" part.

Maybe we should have more scientific research conducted like jazz, which is sometimes described as "gracefully exploiting errors".

Fluxalicious (0, Redundant)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18025860)

"Damned Flux Capacitor made my car shoot up strait through the garage roof and float around. Took me three @#&*! days to get the damned thing down and another 8 to fix the garage."
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