Monday, 9 January 2012

New Year and a cure for cancer - I think not!

Apologies on the delay in writing since Christmas, hopefully I still have some of my four readers left *wave*.
This has been doing the rounds on facebook over the past week. With some of what I consider intelligent people all up in arms about how dichloroacetate (DCA) is apparently a new medical miracle providing a cure for cancer and no one taking notice because the monsters that are big pharma think it's too cheap to produce and would rather have you dying. Lots of comments thanking the powers that be on Facebook for getting this out there since mainstream media won't.
Two points - firstly don't trust anything you read on the internet or elsewhere without delving a little deeper, secondly definitely don't trust anything you read on Facebook for fuck's sake!
Anyway back to the DCA, if you follow the links from to the University of Alberta we find an entirely different story. Clinical trials in humans with cancer have not been conducted in the USA and are not yet final in Canada, emphasizing the need for caution in interpreting the preliminary results. Even the researchers themselves say that no conclusions can be made due to the small scale studies they ran, and also said that they didn't know if improvements in patients were due to DCA or other treatments the patients had been receiving. Following its initial publication, The New Scientist later editorialized, "The drug may yet live up to its promise as an anti-cancer agent – clinical trials are expected to start soon. It may even spawn an entirely new class of anti-cancer drugs. For now, however, it remains experimental, never yet properly tested in a person with cancer. People who self-administer the drug are taking a very long shot and, unlikely as it may sound, could even make their health worse. It is clear that DCA is an intriguing drug, and may become part of the oncologist's tool belt but we also have to remember that cancer is a wily little bugger, there will probably never be a 'single' cure for cancer because cancer is a set of diseases that are so diverse that the cures will also have to be diverse.
As to the Big Pharma thing - do people honestly think that it's beneficial to a pharmaceutical to keep a 'cure' for cancer under wraps. Yes they are in it for the money, do we seriously think that any pharmaceutical company in a recession wouldn't see the benefit of being the first company to produce a cure?
Sott is just blowing this whole thing out of proportion in a badly worded and factually confused article that is currently winging it's way to a Facebook page near you.

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