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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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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:55AM (#31919046)

    This post is a thank you for your contribution. It is heartfelt.

    Cancer is bad. Implanting cancer into mice is bad for the mice. But it is good for humans.

    Because we hate mice.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Suiggy (1544213)
      Sugoi monogatari, aniki.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by leachlife4 (638543)
      But why, oh why, would you want to give the most intelligent beings on Earth (mice) cancer?
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      This is fantastic news -- cancer is a horrible way to die. However, there will still be cancer deaths; this wouldn't have helped Linda [slashdot.org] (although had we been able to talk her into seeing a doctor, she might still be alive)

    • by rwade (131726)

      Cancer is bad. Implanting cancer into mice is bad for the mice. But it is good for humans.

      Because we hate mice.

      So when we do trials for brand-new drugs, we can just do them on you, right?

    • 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".

  • 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.
    • 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.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lord Crc (151920)

          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 gla

      • 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.

        • This could be solved by taking the profit out of it. Allow experimental treatment on informed, consenting terminal patients, but disallow taking money for that treatment. The patient gets a chance, however slim, and the pharma industry gets volunteers for tests, while there is no way for profiteering bastards to prey on the dying.
          • by tgd (2822)

            Generally if you're part of an experimental trial, you're not paying for it anyway.

            So what you describe is exactly how it works.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by inf4mia (1583323)
          The FDA plods along for 10-20 years before blessing treatments for terminal patients. That's *totally* inexcusable.

          If the FDA were a private company, congress would be holding hearings and people would be literally calling for their heads.

      • Because then you're living with whatever side effects are present. Consider that an unknown side effect in 10% of the population is causing cerebromedullospinal disconnection.

        Picture telling a man who was just told he had six weeks to live that he now has a long natural life, but can only move his eyes for the whole duration of it.

        There are fates worse than death.
      • 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.

        Indeed. But we need some checks and balances. I've had a couple of friends die of horrible, slow cancer - towards the end they'd have done pretty much anything, (either to die quickly or survive, BTW).

        People in that state need some protection, even if it only against false hope.

      • by pnewhook (788591)

        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.

        If that were truly the case and you knew of an experimental treatment, you can ask your doctor to prescribe it. FDA would not interfere and would actually be interested in the results if you so wanted to be a guinea pig.

      • by jamesh (87723)

        You're dying. Six weeks to live.

        What do you care of side effects?

        On the other hand, what if someone is given six weeks to live and is given this medication because the FDA decides that a dying person is a good test case, and it cures the cancer but it turns out that one of the side effects is that your legs fall off after 6 months.

        Most would argue that it's better to have no legs than no life, but i'm sure that the patient could find a court who will take the case to sue someone over it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pookemon (909195)
        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.
      • The problem is you're only thinking of how it might affect the life of the person already dying, not everyone else. The FDA knows it's a bad idea to give wonder drugs out to the general population without extensive testing and you'll thank them when the zombies don't eat your brains.
      • You're dying. Six weeks to live.

        What do you care of side effects?

        I take it you've never been in a situation so horrible you pondered taking your own life?

        Believe it or not, but some things are worse than death.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        You're dying. Six weeks to live.

        You're dead; the only drug that will help you is morphine, or a similar drug. My friend Linda was admitted with stomach pains, and that day was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer on her gall bladder bigger than the gall bladder itself. She was given four months to live, and that was fairly accurate. The only bright spot was she didn't have to undergo chemo or radio.

        This drug doesn't cure cancer, it stops it from spreading. But even with four months you aren't going to have a

        • 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.

      • by toppavak (943659)
        There's a bit more fundamental problem here: reducing the rate of metastasis won't really save the lives of people with 6 weeks to live. This type of drug (if it works at all in humans) would need to be administered immediately after diagnosis to prevent metastasis, once the tumor has already metastasized into a critical organ and is growing large enough to be life-threatening its rather useless. This also complicates testing since you'll need to track patients on the drug over the course of their entire ca
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        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.

        I think hypothetical situations like one you just made are not good foundations for changing policy.

        For one thing, I'm uncomfortable with allowing companies to be in a position to exploit desperate people, which is what you're doing if you say "You can skip the safety trials and go directly to human testing if people are desperate enough."

        True, you also have added the caveat of "dying in 6 weeks." That's 6 weeks longer than the patient might have if the meds unexpectedly prove toxic in humans. And where's

    • I mean if the side effects are really as non-existant as it sounds in the article(but it probably isn't.) that makes me wonder about something. Could pretty much every healthy adult just take this medicine daily? Seriously, if there was a pill that you could take every morning and the end result of taking it was you can't get cancer and it had minimal side effects I think alot of people would take that as a preventative. (Even if the medicine was 5-10 dollars a day. I know I would if there was something lik
  • Nice. (Score:3, Funny)

    by danhm (762237) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:59AM (#31919070) Homepage
    So does this mean there is no harm in smoking a celebratory cigar?
  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:01AM (#31919080)

    Thank God! Mice of the world can now sleep easy at night.

    • by Tumbleweed (3706)

      Thank God! Mice of the world can now sleep easy at night.

      Honestly, this just increases the chances that one of them will live long enough to take over the world.

    • by Pastis (145655) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:49AM (#31919540)

      Welcome to Green Scientific Experiments Ltd.

      Thanks to our Mice and Other Animals Recycling -MOAR (TM), we enable laboratories to save thousands of mice around the world, helping them to reuse mice across experiments.

      Done with the Infect(*), Let die, Dissect cycle, you can now use the moar efficient cycle: Infect, Cure, Analyze, REpeat ! (I CARE) (**).

      Call us today for a discount and get 10 (recycled) mice as gift.

      (*) currently MOAR only works against some types of cancers. We're working on a second generation solution allowing to work against other types of laboratory deadly experiments such as virus, radiation exposure, etc.

      (**) even if MOAR enables you to reuse mice ad vitam æternam, we advice our clients to not reuse them moar than 10 times due to psychological side effects. To end the I CARE cycle in a green and respectful manner, we work in cooperation with reptilariums across the world to help you fully recycle your mice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      Thank God! Mice of the world can now sleep easy at night.

      Funny, but definitely true. It's easy to cure cancer in mice. Researchers have come up with hundreds of different ways to do it. But while mice are biologically much more similar to humans when compared to say, koala bears, humans are still significantly more complex than mice.

      OBLIGATORY CAR ANALOGY: So when something works in mice, its kind of like using carfax - just because carfax doesn't report a problem doesn't mean the car doesn't have major problems, it just means carfax couldn't find any in the

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        Which is good for people who like mice. One of the major problems with getting female mice is their propensity for tumors.

        I know I know, a mouse is a mouse... but people get attached. If it was your puppy, would you not consider it?

  • 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.

    • 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..
      • ... a cousin of mine just submitted and got approved for a article on leukemia research [nature.com] in Nature and I don't think he regrets the fact that is behind a pay wall: it's success.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by chooks (71012)

        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

        A number of journals (and I would imagine that Nature is one of them) make stipulations that you will not discuss/disclose your findings until after the publication date. I've been to a number of presentations where the speaker can not talk about a certain aspect of his/her research due to pending publications.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          The reason to not talk about something when the publication is pending is to avoid having your work scooped by another researcher, not due to contract obligations with the journal.

          The only time an academic researcher is free to talk about their work is once it has already been published and their name is permanently associated with the results.
      • by RDW (41497) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:47AM (#31920786)

        '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.'

        Nature has exclusive publication rights for the first 6 months, after which you're free to submit the paper to a public repository or put it up on your own site:

        http://www.nature.com/authors/editorial_policies/license.html [nature.com]

        This is rather more enlightened than some other major journals, which still require a copyright transfer to the publisher, but obviously falls short of full open access from day 1. But I think most people who get a paper in Nature will happily accept this compromise! (at least for now).

        Incidentally, some form of open access is pretty much being forced on traditional publishers by major funding bodies, which now commonly require that most or all funded publications are submitted to journals that provide this (time delays are generally allowed), e.g.:

        http://publicaccess.nih.gov/ [nih.gov]

        http://science.cancerresearchuk.org/gapp/terms/openaccess_ukpmc/ [cancerresearchuk.org]

        So things are at least moving in the right direction.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nature is the most prestigious publication there is for biology research. Your life goal as a scientist is to get as many nature articles as possible. That is how success is measured, in part. Getting on the COVER of Nature is a once in a life time kind of thing.

      The paywall is not a big deal. Just sign in through your institution's library. If you do not belong to an institution you really have no need to read it at all.

      • 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.

        • by mapkinase (958129)

          I think you are having a little bit white and black view of publishing of scientific data. The actual scientific peer-reviewed article is behind the paywall, that's true, but the information from that article bleeds into News and Views section of Nature (which is probably behind the paywall as well now, used to not to be), then it bleeds into popular science magazines without paywalls like New Scientist.

          So there is a cascade of diminished scientific details combined with a cascade of increased accessibilit

    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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 (
      • by knarf (34928)

        "Scientific publishers" are parasites which have spread like a cancer. A healthy dose of these ketones would be in order to contain this threat. I do a lot of searches for veterinary medicine articles to help solve difficult cases. In most cases those searches end up producing a host of Elsevier/Wiley/etc pages demanding payment to read the article which they hold hostage. What have those publishers done to be allowed to put up this paywall?

        The sooner they are removed from the publishing cycle the better it

      • by dachshund (300733)

        Those that would understand it already have access via their university or company

        This really isn't true, and it's pernicious. For example I finished by PhD a few years ago and started a small company. Once I left academia I lost access to a huge tranche of research material, all of which was --- like you say --- being produced and funded by my colleagues at no cost to the publishers. Even within my previous, rather large, university I would occasionally run into publications that weren't electronicall

    • I just clicked the link in the summary and I'm reading the full article right now.
    • by ZirbMonkey (999495)

      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

    • This group has published a good deal of work in free-to-access journals, like this article [pnas.org] which was published in 2005 and is on the exact subject of this Nature work with just a little less information on the mechanism of action. They just sought a little more attention (not to mention funding) for their impressive work.

      I'm no fan of pay walls, but the fact that I didn't hear about the work published PNAS for five years, but did hear about the similar work published in Nature within a week of its publishi

  • More info (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:20AM (#31919150)

    See also http://www.physorg.com/news190482866.html

  • Nature 464, 1062-1066 (15 April 2010) | doi:10.1038/nature08978; Received 24 September 2009; Accepted 4 March 2010 Migrastatin analogues target fascin to block tumour metastasis
  • As usual (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040)

    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 comp

    • Re:As usual (Score:5, Funny)

      by feepness (543479) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:33AM (#31919214) Homepage
      Stop talking like a seditious teabagger. The government only has our best interest at heart and we certainly aren't smart enough to make these kinds of decisions for ourselves.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by leety (1762478)
      Because science is EBIL. Meanwhile lets make sure every parent can make an "informed choice" between Darwin and "intelligent design". Oh and cigarettes and alcohol, you guys can stay too. But no strange cancer curing drugs. (We've run out of surgeon general health warning stickers)
    • 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: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: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by zarzu (1581721)
          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
          • by javilon (99157)

            If you are a doctor, you should put the well being of your patient before your ability to get clean data.

            • by Criffer (842645)

              The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Getting clean data for evidence-based-medicine is absolutely necessary for the well-being of possibly thousands or millions of potential patients.

            • by Kythe (4779)
              Yes, you should. And part of "putting the well being of your patient" first is making sure what you're doing will actually help. Throwing crap against the wall in the name of doing something doesn't qualify. That's where clean data and studies come in.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by djmurdoch (306849)

          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.

          • Also wrong. The drug halted metastasis in mice. For all we know, it could kill every human who comes into contact with it.

            Hence, trials.

        • 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.

          That doesn't make him wrong. He has correctly noted that we know very little about this drug and it would be highly irresponsible to wantonly permit its use until we know more about it. It also means you are looking at a single patient and he is looking at the entire population. The FDA isn't charged with saving your individual life. The FDA is charged with ensuring that drugs and medical treatments are effective, reasonably safe and have known and tested side effects. The gold standard for doing this

        • by tgd (2822)

          Life is a terminal disease.

          The problem with your statement boils down to the fact that you never really *know* that its terminal until the patient dies. If you cure 1/3, and turn out to demonstratably kill 1/3, a few bad things happen: you get sued, and your trial gets shut down (likely forever).

          You don't get a chance to figure out if it was a dosing issue, or if there is some other condition or marker that could've indicated the risk to the other 1/3.

          Science works because it is meticulous. If you think you

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ahankinson (1249646)

          You only need to look up Vioxx [wikipedia.org] to see why your idea is a Very Bad One.

          You can't trust drug companies to completely list the side effects. They invest millions of dollars in a drug, and thus have a vested interest to turn it around and make money off it. Your "informed choice" might be a glossy brochure printed by the manufacturer. They might not even know that there are serious side effects, but you can be damn sure that if there are, they'll be left holding the bag and sued every which way to Sunday. And

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sgtrock (191182)

          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 t

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ShooterNeo (555040)

        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 ob

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      Actually, 1 in 6. The drugs works on 1 in 3, another 3 get placebo for reliable research results.

    • Re:As usual (Score:4, Informative)

      by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:19AM (#31919684)

      If only there were some sort of program to fast track the process through...

      http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/byaudience/forpatientadvocates/speedingaccesstoimportantnewtherapies/ucm128291.htm [fda.gov]

    • Release the formula and process of manufacture to the public under a GPL-like license. If it can't be sold by pharmaceutical companies, it's making no money anyway.

      Hell, market it as a plant food. It worked for Methodrone for a while.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "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.

    • Treat is better than cure for drug companies but, to be fair, treat is better than dying for patients as well.
      • by s_p_oneil (795792)
        Not if the drug companies decide it is worth spending tons of money to suppress real cures (which they will).
    • Nobody said it'll be the only cure, lemming. If all else fails, once you pinned those tumours so they don't spread all over, you can just extract them surgically when they start to grow.

      But metastases are _the_ major killer in any treatment we've developped so far. Whether it's surgical, radiological, chemotherapy, you name it. You can't irradiate the patient all over, without killing him.

      It doesn't help that all those are basically just based on the idea that healthy cells have better DNA repairs than canc

    • Seriously. My chances of dying are 100%. Based off my family history, it'll be cancer instead of heart disease.

      So if someone offers me the privilege of continued living for only 50K a year, I'll take it. I wasn't expecting to retire anyway. And I can always decide to step off the carousel at any time by not taking the drugs.

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

  • by X.25 (255792)

    We should call this agent... Agent Smith ;)

  • by Sans_A_Cause (446229) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:25AM (#31923760)

    Hate to be a buzzkill, but I've cured cancer in mice dozens of times with experimental agents.

    None of those agents have ever cured cancer in humans. Most of them have done nothing in clinical trials. Survival rates for lung cancer, for example, haven't changed since the 1960s.

    The lack of new cancer drugs has gotten so bad that some drug companies want to move the goalpost. Instead of objective goals like increased survival, the increase in more subjective things like "quality of life" is touted as the benefit of the drug.

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