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Medicine

Cancer Cured By HIV 521

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
bluefoxlucid writes "Apparently cancer has been cured, by injecting people with HIV. From the article: 'As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal.' Nifty. Poorly edited run-on sentence, but nifty."
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Cancer Cured By HIV

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  • by rockclimber (660746) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:19AM (#37056962)
    most people with pancreatic cancer would gladly make that trade!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:22AM (#37057016)

    Using a modified, harmless version of HIV

    Yeah, that's probably something that should be repeated pretty heavily. Given what I've seen in some alternative therapy books over the years, people don't need to be *more* confused by HIV.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:23AM (#37057032)

    If what you got from that article is "cancer has been cured by injecting people with HIV", please abstain from posting any more summaries.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:24AM (#37057044) Homepage
    Even if it were the case where HIV was the cure of cancer it seems like given our current ability to keep people alive with HIV that might be the better option. Now this sounds even better as you don't end up with what is a disease that is treatable but still not curable.

    Now if I only hadn't already used my remaining mod points.
  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:25AM (#37057064)
    Even if it did use real HIV, in many cases the life-span for HIV is around 24 years after infection in the US. This is compared to what, 6 months-5 years for some of the worst forms of cancer? I think in many cases, people would very willingly make that trade. IN many cases it would allow people to live to almost a full average lifespan anyway.
  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:28AM (#37057120)
    You are just as bad a homeopathic advocates. You know damn well there is nothing related to nerves or anything similar when it comes to cancer. It is a problem with the genes inside the cells. You aren't just giving people false hope spewing lies and propaganda like this, you are killing them.
  • by DarthBart (640519) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:28AM (#37057122)

    FTA: Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research.

    Of course they did. If you cure cancer with one shot, the cash cow of chemo drugs dries up for Big Pharma and the cash cow of donations dries up for the American Cancer Society and other 'non-profit' organization.

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:31AM (#37057178)

    The eradication of polio did not mean the end of the March of Dimes. The NCI would simply need a name change and slight focus adjustment.

  • by BKX (5066) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:49AM (#37057490) Journal

    This argument is bullshit. Pure bullshit. If any "Big Pharma" company invented a cure for cancer tomorrow, you can bet your ass that they'd be all over it in a heartbeat. Why? Because, then that company would forever be known as the company that cured cancer. Every new product they make would be a pot of gold. Every ad they put out would be "Muhdikard, a new treatment for erectile dysfunction, from Drugco. We cured cancer.". Every drug company on the face of the planet would kill for that kind of marketing, not to mention the money from selling the cancer cure.

    Now, of course, "cure for cancer" is a worthless phrase as well, since cancer is a type of disease, and not a single disease, and therefore, it's extremely unlikely that one cure will work for more than one cancer let alone all of them.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:53AM (#37057552) Homepage

    I am not an expert on this, by any means, but from reading the article and a bit of deduction I *think* the answers are straightforward:

    1) The use of the modified HIV strain is outside of the body. It's used to "train" the white blood cells that have already been removed, so it's not likely to have much, if any, capability to harm the patient.

    2) The new "specialized" white blood cells are just that. Once their "target" is gone, they will likely die off. There's nothing for them to fight.

    3) Even if the treatment has a similar mortality rate to flu, that would be a huge and unimaginable improvement over the mortality rate for most types of aggressive cancer. The mortality rate for flu, especially if the patient is already in the hospital and everyone is prepared for it, is extremely low. The mortality rate for some of the more aggressive cancers is well over 50% even with treatment.

    Honestly, there exist several forms of highly aggressive, highly lethal cancers that people would look at a 20% base mortality rate for the cure and consider it a good deal. Not that this seems to be a problem in this case.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:08PM (#37057798) Homepage Journal

    So, 'slowly' dying in 6 months, mostly alone with a small group of friends is 'life' and living for the rest of your natural life capable of doing everything you can now isn't life?

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:10PM (#37057844) Homepage Journal

    "Even if it did use real HIV" They don't and if they would never try that because it wouldn't pass the medical ethics board for human testing if for no other reason than the risk of retransmission to a healthy person.
    All the rest of this discussion of if HIV or cancer is useless since it has no valid application to this discussion.

  • by PHCOSci (1771552) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:21PM (#37058000)
    HIV is being used here in a way similar to how lentiviruses are used to routinely introduce synthetic DNA constructs to human cell cultures. In summation it is a version of HIV where the actual viral DNA has been gutted and replaced with the chimeric construct providing these white blood cells with the ability to both rapidly divide and DETECT CANCER inside LIVING PATIENTS. The individuals citing their low patient count as "statistically insignificant" do not have a firm grasp on the field of oncology. The results published in the PRIMARY RESEARCH ARTICLE are astounding. The volume of highly specific cell death observed therein is unprecedented. Chemotherapy, radiation, and all other cancer treatments are non-specific. They kill healthy cells and tumorgenic cells alike. This is the first SUCCESSFUL application of an innate immune system targeting strategy for sustained destruction of cancer cells. It's revolutionary. It was a gutsy, bold move by the researchers. Their executed project combined some of the most advanced approaches in virology, cell biology, and biochemistry. I mean, give credit where credit is due. These guys just hit the nail on the head and you're all blabbering about nonsense.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:39PM (#37058346) Journal

    If I understand it correctly what they did was engineer a gene-tweaking organic machine by assembling the subsystems from HIV that enter the target immune system cells and reverse-transcribe an RNA payload with an unrelated payload to do what they want. The subsystems don't have to be purified from live virus, risking contamination with functional HIV: Instead they can be separately produced by such techniques as inserting the each of the desired HIV genes into another lifeform, such as E. coli, producing just one "working part".

    If so this is not a "modified HIV strain, nor any lifeform at all. It's some pieces of a virus with a completely unrelated (except for the "insert me" tags) hunk of nucleic acid "data tape". No program from the virus is left at all, just its cellular machinery.

    Given the target and the desired transformation, HIV was the logical virus to reverse-engineer for the moving parts.

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