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Medicine

Anti-Cancer Agent Stops Metastasis In Its Tracks 269

Posted by kdawson
from the of-mice-and-men dept.
Anomalyst writes "Mice were implanted with cancer. The control group died as tumors metastasized. The experimental group was treated with macroketone and survived a normal lifespan. While the cancer was not cured, metastasis was significantly (over 80%) inhibited. Even after metastasis had begun and additional cancers developed, macroketone inhibited subsequent metastasis. The original article is in Nature behind a paywall."
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Anti-Cancer Agent Stops Metastasis In Its Tracks

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  • Side effects (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:57AM (#31919050)
    Since the side effects don't appear to significantly increase mortality this should obviously be given an immediate fastrack for human trials and should get to Phase III ASAP.
  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:06AM (#31919096) Homepage Journal

    I know you need funding, but could you please not sell your research to publishing companies that have paywalls like this? There are open-access peer-reviewed journals for many fields nowadays.

  • Too late... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:08AM (#31919102)

    ... to save my father

  • by robertc99 (1366201) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:17AM (#31919132)
    You don't sell your research to Nature. You submit it for publication and are overjoyed if they accept it. Nature is the most prestigious publication in the field of biology bar none.
    But as far as I know, theres nothing stopping you from putting it up on your web site as well or submitting it in publication in other journals.

    So it being published in Nature doesnt stop it from being publically available. Its just that the other copies might be harder to find..
  • As usual (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:27AM (#31919182)

    Wonder drug could save human lives left, right, and center. FDA won't approve it without decades of testing because it's "too risky" to try an experimental drug out on patients who are likely to die anyway. Film at 11.

    Seriously, I've seen lectures in medical school by several researchers who ALSO have wonder drugs like this one. They can stick up a diagram showing exactly which molecular pathway it blocks in tumors. They can show Phase I results where 1 in 3 terminal patients in a hospice goes into complete remission from their cancer. Guess what...the drug still cannot be used...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:32AM (#31919206)

    Researches don't get paid for publishing, some journals even require them to pay "page charges" to get their work published.
    Paywalls aren't an issue because most people will not be able to understand scientific articles of this complexity. Those that would understand it already have access via their university or company. Science is reported to the public in news articles such as the one linked which has the benefit of glossing over the technical details and summarising the findings very well, something that can be extremely difficult to do by reading the paper itself.

    The issue for researchers is recognition. The more recognition, the more funding they will be able to get in the future. And the best place to get recognition is high impact factor journals like Nature and Science. Open access journals have nowhere near as much impact factor.

  • Re:Side effects (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bartab (233395) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:46AM (#31919252)

    You're dying. Six weeks to live.

    What do you care of side effects?

    This is the major problem with FDA interference with medicines that can control or cure life-ending diseases.

  • Re:Side effects (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cryacin (657549) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:54AM (#31919298)
    Yes. Proudly brought to you by the fine people who also say that you can't end your life under the same circumstances.

    Since when is your life not yours, but the government's?

    You should be able to take a risk on experimental treatment. You should be able to end your own life if it becomes too much.

    I had the unpleasant experience of witnessing my grandmother battling for 4 days to finally let her heart stop despite her pacemaker. Before she lost the ability to communicate, she begged the doctors, and I mean begged for them to be able to turn her pacemaker off. Do you know what they said? We're sorry, but turning off your pacemaker would be murder.

    So thank you do gooders, thank you so much. Nothing gets me brimming with red bubbling vitriol quite like the fine people who work for the Nanny State that disarm the honest and reasonable with their crap and ineptitude.


    end rant.
  • by yotto (590067) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:59AM (#31919314) Homepage

    Yes. If you are not doing scientific research why are you trying to read science articles, drone? Get back to work and stop thinking about things.

  • Re:Side effects (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Crc (151920) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:09AM (#31919352)

    I had the unpleasant experience of witnessing my grandmother battling for 4 days to finally let her heart stop despite her pacemaker. Before she lost the ability to communicate, she begged the doctors, and I mean begged for them to be able to turn her pacemaker off. Do you know what they said? We're sorry, but turning off your pacemaker would be murder.

    I'm sorry to hear. This was something that worried me when my dad's cancer became worse. I was hoping that they wouldn't force him to live for a few more months in pain, however I wasn't sure if they were legally obliged to try to save him or not.

    Fortunately, when the time came, it was up to him. After battling pneumonia for a day he indicated that he did not want to receive more oxygen. After the resident doctor was satisfied that he knew the consequences of turning off the oxygen, they did so.

    I'm very glad that they allowed him the choice.

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:19AM (#31919386)
    To be honest, the CEOs of most scientific publishing corporations need to be dragged out of their office and put up against the wall in the backyard, after expropriating them. Look at this business model:

    1) Research gets done by public money.
    2) Take page charges from the publicly funded researcher.
    3) Let other publicly funded researches peer-review for free.
    4) Put content behind paywall, overcharge the publicly funded university hugely on access. Oh, the original researcher mostly has to pay for reprints (digital reprints!) too.
    5) Profit!!!!

    I think we can safely omit the ??? step here.
  • Re:Side effects (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:23AM (#31919398) Journal

    This is the major problem with FDA interference with medicines that can control or cure life-ending diseases.

    Heh, if only people were not bitching about losing their teeth in a life-saving treatment and asking damages to the company that did not go through the whole FDA process...

  • Re:Side effects (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:23AM (#31919404) Journal

    I created this miracle cure guaranteed to extend a terminal patients life by a significant amount of time. If you are ever terminally ill, you can look me up and pay me $10,000 for each use of the device. It may take several uses before you see the results. It's still experiments and doesn't always work but it's your only chance to live longer then the couple weeks the doctors told you. The device is revolutionary, it's basically a hair dryer with a bunch of magnets arranged in a specific pattern around the air chamber that blows on your while you ingest aspirin and sugar pills.

    If you don't have the money, sell your house, all your worldly possessions, beg your loved ones, but get this experimental life extending treatment.

    Can you see why the FDA has some reservations about opening the flood gates on medicines and procedures like that? People will bankrupt themselves trying to stay alive or to keep loved ones alive when someone claims there is a chance. What the FDA generally does is determine if that chance is there and if they would be better off with it. Sure, some experimental treatments and medications should have a fast track, but there should still be some safe checks that stop people like me from making a fortune because you lived two weeks longer over a process that is no more effective then not stepping on a crack to avoid breaking you mothers back.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:25AM (#31919406)

    "While the cancer was not cured"

    yes lets not CURE cancer. Instead lets just treat it with a drug the person has to take over and over and over for the REST OF THERE LIFE.

    Oh and of course that drug will be wicked expensive.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:37AM (#31919462) Journal

    How much? Cuz for a whole bunch of people like me, every single medical advance means squat.

  • Re:As usual (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jorgandar (450573) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:38AM (#31919470)

    Sorry, you're wrong. I work in FDA compliance so I happen to know a little more about this subject. There are PLENTY of provisions in the CFR (Code Federal Regulations) governing use of experimental or not fully tested drugs on terminally ill patients. Look up "Compassionate Use". A miracle drug that saves 1/3 of hospice patients from cancer would certainly be funded by a biotech/pharma company or the US government. But guess what, drugs cannot under any circumstances go to large-scale populations because if they are untested, you will end up killing more people than you save. In your example, sure the drug may have saved 1/3 of hospice patients, but it very well could have caused the other 2/3 of them to die faster, or suffer a stroke, or whatever. Unless these risks are known, its completely irresponsible for the government to allow it to go into widespread use without a proper clinical trial. There are very valid reasons to the FDAs laws governing drugs. There is no evil boogyman that is trying to prevent miracle drugs from coming to market.

  • Re:Side effects (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:42AM (#31919498)

    Since when is your life not yours, but the government's?

    Sparta

  • Re:As usual (Score:5, Insightful)

    by javilon (99157) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:30AM (#31919732) Homepage

    drugs cannot under any circumstances go to large-scale populations because if they are untested, you will end up killing more people than you save

    This is where you are wrong. You have one fact. The fact that this drugs cures 1/3 of the people taking it in the tests.

    You do not have the fact that it kills any one. You just think it could. If we are talking about terminal cancer patients, they should be given it.

    Also, even if the drug do kill people, it can be a risk worth taking. Lets say that this drug is tested in a group of people with late stage cancer and an average six months to die. Even if the drug kills 2 out of 3, but it cures 1 out of 3, it is a risk I would take. I would happily accept the risk of an "early" dead if I would get a chance to get cured.

    In my mind it is morally wrong for the government to tell me that I can't make an informed decision with the information at hand and take the drug.

  • Re:Side effects (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jesus_666 (702802) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:09AM (#31919872)

    Or at least, that's how it's been for decades in Europe.

    I hope I never get to visit the Europe you heard of. It's not anything like that in the one I live in.

  • Re:As usual (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zarzu (1581721) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:22AM (#31919964)
    and how do you compare these uses to a non-treatment? are you just going to allow everybody to take it, not have any control group and do the best with the crippled data you got from that? studies aren't just here for fun, you will have a really hard time explaining to me how you're going to come up with proper data when you simply let everybody take the experimental treatment they want. and once you allow someone to just start experimental treatment who is going to join a study that only gives you a chance of actually receiving said treatment? no one, so you'll end up without studies and people just trying out whatever is out there, which could be anything since there is no approval process.
  • by ZirbMonkey (999495) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:35AM (#31920042)

    The purpose of submitting one's research to a publishing company like Nature is peer review. Once a paper is submitted, Nature goes through the task of tracking down other experts in the field. These experts are use their valuable time to analyze, critique, understand, and provide educated proofing that if/when an article is published, the science is verifiable, testable, and valid. Inevitably, many of the papers submitted don't make it past the reviewing process. There's very substantial administrative costs in coordinating all this reviewing as it marches towards being publishable. It ensures every issue contains valid and worthy results that meet high standards. And there's lots of projects fighting for the same ink space.

    Then there's the cost of publishing the ink and paper.

    Nature can't/doesn't pay for all this cost through ad revenue. Instead, other research institutions buck up to pay a substantial subscription fee to receive the newest results and advances available. Published scientists also receive notoriety in their field, opening up their careers to new projects with more funding. If you wish to read up on the latest issue of Nature or any other science journals, you can easily find them at your nearest university library for free viewing. Universities are happy to pay the subscription fess, since they are running these research programs in an attempt to get their university name in those very same journals.

  • Re:As usual (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:18AM (#31920292)

    This particular drug had no rational evidence for toxicity. It was an old drug candidate for something else back in the 70s, and in high dose testing on animals no lethal level was found. It did cure about 1 in 3 hospice patients during phase I trials. However, because it was for a rare type of cancer that only about 200 people have in the U.S. at any time, it was very difficult to secure the necessary funding for the next phase. As far as I know, my professor is still working on it.

    What upset me was obvious : the people this drug is for will die almost 100% of the time within 2-3 years. A 1 in 3 chance of surviving is worth it, especially since even with the limited Phase I data, there were no adverse events detected. Basic math : if 30 or so randomly chosen people don't have adverse events, the rate of adverse events is fairly low within a 95% confidence interval. No further testing is needed : this drug isn't intended for anyone but people with a terminal illness, and there should be a way to put it into immediate use for that.

  • by pnewhook (788591) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:18AM (#31920294)

    Nature is a business and they chose to set it up with a paid subscription model. What's wrong with that? Why do people insist on this communist 'everything should be free for everyone' attitude? If some other journal wants to provide content for free, let them and let them compete. That's what a free business model is all about.

  • Re:Side effects (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pookemon (909195) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:24AM (#31920344) Homepage
    Well - when the first side effect is that you (because you are not a mouse) have a 100% chance that you will die in 1 week, you'd probably care.

    Sure - it might be the greatest ever discovery in the treatment of cancer - but without proper testing it could be the next Thalidomide, Asbestos, Triple Cheeseburger...

    It could also be completely ineffectual in humans and a complete waste of time - which won't be shown without the proper testing.
  • Re:As usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djmurdoch (306849) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:24AM (#31920354)

    This is where you are wrong. You have one fact. The fact that this drugs cures 1/3 of the people taking it in the tests.

    No, it cured (not "cures") 1/3 of the patients taking it in the tests. The value of the additional studies is to learn whether this will happen in the real world too, and whether the long-term side effects don't outweigh the benefits.

  • by Rising Ape (1620461) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:46AM (#31920770)

    While I haven't seen this one, I've been able to get a reasonable handle on what's going on - as in, I followed them well enough to be useful, not understood them completely - for papers in various fields which were not my own. They're not all incomprehensible gibberish.

  • by mrops (927562) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @10:33AM (#31922822)

    Ideally, Drug companies would love it if they can make Cancer manageable instead of curing. Look at Diabetes.... its manageable.... meaning the patient spends thousands to stay alive but never gets cured.

    Where is the profit in a cure.

    A joke comes to mind,
    Back when trades were handed from Father to Son; A son proudly proclaims to his dad, "Dad I cured the wonman who had been coming to you for 20 years and yet you couldn't cure her". Dad replies, "You fool, she was our only faithful customer".

  • Re:As usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sgtrock (191182) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @10:34AM (#31922848)

    This is where you are wrong. You have one fact. The fact that this drugs cures 1/3 of the people taking it in the tests.

    You do not have the fact that it kills any one. You just think it could. If we are talking about terminal cancer patients, they should be given it.

    In my mind it is morally wrong for the government to tell me that I can't make an informed decision with the information at hand and take the drug.

    Don't you see the inherent contradiction in those two statements?

    BTW, I would STRONGLY recommend that you read up on the history of Thalidomide before blithely rejecting the work that the FDA does.

  • Re:Side effects (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dentin (2175) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @10:53AM (#31923196) Homepage

    One possible thing to consider here is that while some cancers are inoperable due to location/size, a good percentage are inoperable because they've fragmented/metastasized and there's no way to get them all. Take for example testicular cancer where the removal procedure is complicated and weird, not because they're trying to save the reproductive organs, but because the goal is to minimize leaving behind or knocking loose any cancer cells.

    If you can stop cancer spread, and assuming the growth rate is slow enough, some of these inoperables become operable. You administer the drugs to stop spread, then you go in and hit the biggest localized tumors that are causing the most pain/dysfunction. Wait for the smaller ones to get well-defined edges and grow big enough to find them, then remove them. Yeah, you're going to be pulling out tumors for years as they surface, but as long as they can't spread and stay contained in blobs, you stand a chance of being able to eventually get them all.

    Another interesting idea here is the combination of anti-metastasis and anti-angiogenesis therapies. With one preventing spread and one preventing large growth, you could conceivably live indefinitely with extensive inoperable cancer. Not an ideal solution, but better than nothing.

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