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Biotech Science

Researchers Find Potential Cure for Cancer 324

MECC writes "Researchers at Johns Hopkins University may have found a way to kill cancer cells without radiation or toxic chemicals. The group is taking the step of patenting the idea, as this new approach using sugars may hold real potential for the fight against cancer. This is not the first approach to use sugars, the article states, but is (by the researchers' estimation) the most successful. From the article: 'Sampathkumar and his colleagues built upon 20-year-old findings that a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate can slow the spread of cancer cells. In the 1980s, researchers discovered that butyrate, which is formed naturally at high levels in the digestive system by symbiotic bacteria that feed on fibre, can restore healthy cell functioning ... The researchers focused on a sugar called N-acetyl-D-mannosamine, or ManNAc, for short, and created a hybrid molecule by linking ManNAc with butyrate. The hybrid easily penetrates a cell's surface, then is split apart by enzymes inside the cell. Once inside the cell, ManNAc is processed into another sugar known as sialic acid that plays key roles in cancer biology, while butyrate orchestrates the expression of genes responsible for halting the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells.'"
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Researchers Find Potential Cure for Cancer

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  • All this... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Centurix ( 249778 ) <> on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:51AM (#17472428) Homepage
    And still no cure for ca... oh.
  • Drama, anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Adam J Stone ( 1018520 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:52AM (#17472448)
    In other news: Many other researchers are currently working on projects that might some day lead to better cancer treatment methods.
    • Umm, if you're trying to say this article is as unspecific as your comment with that comparison, you're wrong... :-p
    • Hell, I discover many potential cures to cancer every single day. None of them have panned out, however...
  • Old news (Score:2, Funny)

    by Fred_A ( 10934 )
    I found that you can easily kill cancerous cells by burning them in a chimney or crushing them in a bowl. No need for radiation or chemicals. Those scientists are always looking for overly complicated solutions when perfectly simple ones exist.
    • A cup of bleach works very well, too. This medicine thing isn't as hard as all those fancy doctors make it out to be.
    • Tell me about it. I've recently discovered that a poorly managed hot room kills cancer cells just fine.
  • Mmmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:53AM (#17472454) Homepage Journal
    "as this new approach using sugars may hold real potential"

    Mmmmm, sugar donuts. Is there anything they can't do?
    • by anothy ( 83176 )
      what's perhaps more ironic is that, given the link between obesity and certain forms of cancer, excess sugar donuts may cause the cancer in the first place.

      so, is it like an even/odd thing? one too many donuts and you're screwed, one more and you're okay? is it by donut unit, or pounds, or dozens? bakers or regular? we simply must know!
  • by PrescriptionWarning ( 932687 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:54AM (#17472462)
    and she's curing cancer like she's never cured before!
  • Patent ? Idea ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saffaya ( 702234 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:58AM (#17472510)
    Anyone else feels sour when reading the line :

    "The group is taking the step of patenting the idea"

    Patenting .. an .. Idea ?

    What the hell .. Like if the patent system wasn't abused enough. Sigh.
    • No; rather I was excited by the prospects of a cure for cancer.

      People who think the patent is the bigger story here need some perspective, IMHO.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mgiuca ( 1040724 )
      Hooray for patents - only they can make one of the most important discoveries in history and what is commonly considered genuine altruism into corporate gain, and worse, potentially restrict its usage.
    • Defensive? (Score:4, Informative)

      by dr_db ( 202135 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @12:36PM (#17474916)
      It actually did make me take a second look. Although I wonder if they are doing it to prevent some other company the chance to patent a part of the process and profit for themselves - i.e. patent it before someone else.

      For the guy asking about perspective, take a look at the sugars vs. hepatitis article from a couple days ago, where they were working around a patent for treatment to produce a low cost version, while the drug company charged $14,000/yr for treatment. A cure for cancer is worthless to most of the population if it costs a million bucks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gilesjuk ( 604902 )
      Indeed, while medical research does take a lot of time and expense, patents result in very expensive drugs while ultimately result in death and disease.

      The drugs cost very little to produce, you're paying for all the research and profits.
  • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
    ...but the chances of the healthcare industry letting this fly if it is real are slim to none. Think about it. Chemotherapy is a multi-BILLION dollar a year buisness. WHy do you think there have been no major cures in the past...what, 30-40 years?

    Because the money isn't in the cure. The money is in the treatment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CyberZen ( 97536 )
      WHy do you think there have been no major cures in the past...what, 30-40 years?

      It couldn't have anything to do with cancer being difficult to successfully treat, could it? Or that most of the really nasty cancers (lung, pancreatic, bowel) are detected pretty late in the game, huh?

      Naw, must be greed.
      • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:14AM (#17472678) Homepage
        you quite obviously do not work in the healthcare industry. I know that this study was done by an academy, but me. The healthcare industry does not give a shit about health. It is money, plain and simple. If this were NOT the case, all healthcare companies and pharmeceutical companies would be registered non-profit.

        I've worked in the healthcare industry for years. Trust me when I tell you that they are about money first, second, and third.
        • You are so GD right! (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          If this were NOT the case, all healthcare companies and pharmeceutical companies would be registered non-profit.

          Non-Profit is just a tax status. Meaning, you're more than welcome to make as much money as you want, but you are limited to what you can do with those profits. Some non-profit CEOs do in fact make eight figures a year.

          The other thing, to support your argument further, I once knew a nutritionist who worked with folks to reduce their heart disease risk by helping them with their diet. The CEO of t

          • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

            Some non-profit CEOs do in fact make eight figures a year.

            And your point is? A non-profit needs to pay competitive salaries or they won't attract good employees. Whether or not a CEO is worth $10,000,000+ is another debate but the mere fact that the CEO makes good money doesn't mean they are in the business of "making money".

            A non-profit exists to meet whatever need or provide whatever services that they have outlined in their charter. They don't exist to pay dividends to shareholders. That is the d

        • by AutopsyReport ( 856852 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:44AM (#17473104)
          The healthcare industry does not give a shit about health. If this were NOT the case, all healthcare companies and pharmeceutical companies would be registered non-profit.

          Just a clarification: just because an organization is registered as not-for-profit does not mean it is not in the business of making money. Not-for-profits need just as much income to operate as regular businesses. The primary difference is the after-expenses dollar doesn't go into pockets, it returns to the organization (or funder) to spend it during that fiscal year. However, salaries can still be high and spending can be furious, just like other businesses.

          I'm not saying you are wrong about health companies being driven by money, but many people commonly mistake not-for-profits with Mother Theresa, and that is usually false.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Shakrai ( 717556 )

          I've worked in the healthcare industry for years. Trust me when I tell you that they are about money first, second, and third.

          Oh, give me a fucking break! Let me just list three reasons why your point is completely stupid:

          • The vast majority of hospitals and health care agencies in my area are either owned by the county, owned by a charitable organization or operated as not-for-profits. Their mission statements are helping people, not helping people while making a profit for our shareholders. There ar
          • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
            "The GPs point (chemo is a multi billion dollar business) is quite valid here"

            I made that point, numbnuts.
        • you quite obviously do not work in the healthcare industry.

          No, but this guy does [], and he agrees with the parent that you're full of it. You sound like that loon who told me that the American Heart Association didn't want the public to find out about the [spooky]dangers of aspartame[/spooky] because they were making too much money off of heart disease.

        • by mnmn ( 145599 )
          Of course they care about money. That's the 'industry' part. It means they need to pay their bills and do not work out of a monastary (even that needs funds to function).

      • by henryhbk ( 645948 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:37AM (#17472966) Homepage
        I do work in the health care industry (I am a practicing physician) and the parent post is absolutely correct. I fact I will expand that the primary problem is that "Cancer" is not one thing, but a collection of many, many diseases each with unique biological pathways. It is remarkable how resistant many cancers are to even In-Vitro killing, let alone In-Vivo killing. Remember we are essentially giving poisons (whether direct poisons, immunologic or genetic inhibitors) which go after slightly altered human cells, without killing "good" cells. Anyone who works with oncology patients knows that every day we read about "miracle" meds for a given cancer, which later cause horrible long-term (or short-term) side effects which are worse than the disease.

        Everyone who is whining FUD about there being a money grubbing axis of evil, clearly doesn't work in the real world. Having been completely federal grant funded for 2 years at a university, I can tell you, the lights don't stay on by themselves, the phone bills don't get paid, failed trials still cost the same as succesful ones... Even "non-profit" organizations can't lose money continously (and grants are being slashed every day), especially when conducting trials which can take years to conduct and hundreds of millions to complete. I'm not saying big-pharma is the least bit altruistic (and yes, they would sell their grandmother in a heartbeat) but since we don't live in the era of star-trek-the-next-generation where poverty has apparently been eliminated, and work and funding is apparently universal, one must make money to stay in business.

        There is not a conspiracy for chemotherapeutic drugs to hold-down cures (as those would be the "new" drugs for sale by big pharma if they became useful therapies), but a conspiracy by cancer cells to continue living despite our best efforts. I have heard the same FUD about big-pharma sitting on miracle antibiotics, but in truth those would be huge sellers, it's just that bacteria have gotten very good at living over the last several billion years.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by quixote9 ( 999874 )

          I was looking for a comment like this so I wouldn't have to write it myself. Just to add to the notes of caution + hope, the research on cell surface receptiors, signalling molecules, and the like, sounds very promising. A couple of months ago, there was a report on the BBC [] about a different "sugar" molecule that is involved in cell signalling during blood vessel growth. Since tumors can't grow without lots of new blood vessels to supply them, this approach can stop them in their tracks. The trick is ge

      • While I'm in the IT industry, my mother has been a pediatric oncologist for decades with St. Jude, on the FDA, and is now at Astra-Zeneca working on lung cancer treatments. From all of these facets, I can categorically say that greed does NOT enter into the equation.

        Certain types of cancer have been very difficult to treat, either due to late detection, or the sensitivity of the surrounding area (e.g. brain tumors). Childhood leukemia, her specialty, has gone from a 50% survival rate in the late 70's to a 9
    • by beuges ( 613130 )
      It all depends on where the research is being done I guess - if the research was done by a medicine company, then yeah, but this was done by an academic team at a university. Pharmaceutical companies will focus their research efforts on treatments, but academic researchers will look straight for the cure.

      I seriously doubt that the pharmaceutical companies would be able to block this if it's proven to work - if their trials prove successful then they'll make that info public immediately, and once the public
      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
        While I agree if it is proven to work that they pharmaceutical companies would be hard pressed to keep it out of the hands of the public, I can assure you that they won't make it easy. Beyond that, if they are working to patent their findings, there are only two reasons: They don't want some company stealing it and making billions while they don't get "official" credit, or they want to have more leverage in selling the research to the highest bidder. In either case, it still comes down to money.
      • Oh no, man, it happens all the time. EVILBIGPHARMA finds out that some group of little bastard scientists at some university have the temerity to try to find a CURE for some disease, threatening the lucrative market for ineffective drugs from EVILBIGPHARMA, so they send in a special team of hit ninjas to wipe them out and suppress the research. Hell, they cured cancer 50 years ago, but it's so much more profitable to sell sick people sugar pills instead of real medicine.

        I know how snarky I sound, but Jesus
    • ...but the chances of the healthcare industry letting this fly if it is real are slim to none. Think about it. Chemotherapy is a multi-BILLION dollar a year buisness. WHy do you think there have been no major cures in the past...what, 30-40 years?

      Sheesh. You know, even mean, nasty, conspiratorial CEOs with giant handlebar mustaches get cancer, too.

    • by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:40AM (#17473022) Homepage Journal
      You are forgetting something.

      The "health care industry" can be relied upon to act in self interest of each of it's parts, not the whole.

      If Ford came up with a car that everybody wanted to buy (this is a thought experiment, so doesn't have to be anything short of pure fantasy) and it lasted four times as long so they could only sell a quarter of them. What do you think would happen? They call up Toyota and say "you know, we all make some money here we'll just shelve this".


      They go at it full blast and try to make as much money with what _they_ can do, to hell with every other segment of the industry.

      So, the first research place to come up with a better cancer treatment and even if it is cheap overall, if they can patent it and make more money than they do now (keep in mind, they know other smart folks are working on the same problem, they gain NOTHING by keeping it secret) they'll do it.

      You are stupidly assuming the paranoia about the big health care industry is correct. Big oil, big pharma, big lumber, whatever... they only act in concert because it's a mob rule where their self interest seems to make them do pretty much the same sorts of things. As soon as one can break out of that pattern and make more money, they'll do it. Or, perhaps some other company comes along with a "disruptive technology" and does it. Either way, the status quo is due to the issues involved, not due to collusion amongst the parts of the industry.
    • You do have a good point: A lot of money is spent by BigPharma (in both research and marketting) on things which aren't cures, but are instead on-going treatments. Many of these products make up the cash cows of the industry.

      However, I'm not so cynical to believe companies would prevent a cure for cancer from happening. They are simply guilty of not making big investements in this area, because of lack of profit.

      There are a number of practical reasons why it would be foolish for a company to try to preve
      • I believe it's mostly a result of pharmaceuticals focusing research on profitability rather than efficiency, but I'm also not so naive that I find it impossible that a few greedy people could collude for a bounty of hundreds of millions of dollars either. Even if it meant the suffering of many.

        Big business screwing people or putting them in harms way driven by profit is not exactly unprecedented.

        What needs to happen is the goverment needs to start funding areas that have little profit motive. Look at HDL, t
    • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @11:50AM (#17474196) Journal

      Only on teh InArw3b could this be modded "insightful".

      Let's see, there's a really complicated, deadly family of diseases.
      Why haven't we cured them? 2 possibilities:
      1) it's really hard, and we haven't figured it out yet
      2) a secret cabal of giant corporations is colluding to make sure nobody releases it so they can make more money.

      Obviously, 2 is the logical answer, right?
      I'm sure the recipe for the cure is on a 3x5 card stored right next to the Ark of the Covenant in that warehouse at the end of Indiana Jones. I believe Elvis is the warehouse guard, too.
  • Overblown story... (Score:5, Informative)

    by William_Lee ( 834197 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:01AM (#17472536)
    While this approach may be a promising avenue to investigate, it's pretty early in the game to get very excited over it. According to the article, this approach has not been tested in vivo AT ALL at this point. Treating cancer cells in a cell culture is a VERY large step away from even testing them in animals, which is yet another step removed from humans.
    • Yeah the article mentions briefly the "side effects" which have prevented the use of butyrate in the high concentrations to be effective, but fails to mention what those are. Must be pretty severe since butyrate's ability to attack a damaged cell was discovered in the 80's.

      One promising thing, it effects only the damaged cells whereas chemo and radiation have no such ability and just crush the immune system.

  • Patenting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Elentari ( 1037226 )
    "taking the step of patenting the idea, as this new approach using sugars may hold real potential for the fight against cancer"

    Nice to know they're spending their time filing for patents instead of, well, trying to use it to cure cancer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nice to know they're spending their time filing for patents instead of, well, trying to use it to cure cancer.

      Why can't they do both? Seriously do you think the scientists have stopped working and are now spending every second they have filing the patents or are lawyers hired to do this?

      Also what is wrong with people benefiting from their potentially groundbreaking work?

      Oh, I forgot, on communist slashdot people should work 168 hours a week for free, live in a van down by the river and starve to death befo
    • Yes, Gods forbid that patent might ever net them some royalty money that could be put back into, I don't know, further research. It always pisses me off when a bunch of research scientist sons-a-bitches work the system and find ways to continue their endeavors.

      Man, we should all reject the whole concept of money -- especially if it's derived from the evil patent system -- and find a way to just live on love.

  • Malignant Property (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:04AM (#17472564) Homepage Journal
    The group is taking the step of patenting the idea, as this new approach using sugars may hold real potential for the fight against cancer.

    The logic contained in that "as" apparently dictates that curing cancer is more important for making money than for everyone's health. Apparently without any explanation needed, or question expected. Also unquestioned is the vast amount of money spent by the public (you and your family, for generations) subsidizing all the research these "inventors" used to produce their new idea.

    There's a lot of discussion on Slashdot of justifications for piracy of media content. Fighting the arbitrary assignment of all value from medical inventions to the last people to use their predecessors to cross a commercial threshold seems not only more obviously moral, but more relevant to basic survival. And a stronger study in the arbitrary contrasts between the "robber" and the "robbed".
    • by imadork ( 226897 )
      There's another way to look at this, though. Even after doing all this research and publishing it (which should render it impossible to get a patent on whatever they publish), there's the chance that someone will start patenting all the minor improvements on this technique they can think of in hopes that at least one will be part of the magic Cure For Cancer. Plus, with our patent office so screwed up, there's always the chance that someone else could patent the basic research even though it has been publis
      • Merely publishing the patent documents instead of registering them as a patent is protection against "patent trolls" who could try to stop the documented inventions from being produced and even commercialized. These "defensive patents" are BS. I know, because I'm currently cutting through the patent BS on a specific project so we can spend our money developing unconstrained tech, rather than wasting it licensing patents before development. Or wasting it on patenting stuff rather than just developing it and
        • by imadork ( 226897 )
          I understand your line of thought, but like I said in my prior post, even if the information gets published (and is therefore unpatentable), someone else can come along and start filing patents for every conceivable extension or modification they can think of, in the hopes that one of those extensions becomes critical to the progress of the research. Then, the researchers will be put in the unfortunate position of having to pay royalties to commercialize their own research. At least, if the initial research
  • Haven't they been telling us for a while now that high-fibre diets decrease the risk of some kinds of cancer? Is this just an actual explanation of the "why"?
    • by smchris ( 464899 )

      It's great to live long enough to see validation: Pritikin diet for heart disease, whole unprocessed grains and veggies for cancer. I'm old enough to remember when brown rice and Pritikin were fringe cult practices.

      Not that I'm against the futurist ideal that someday we'll consume purified total nutrition. But stories like this suggest that we haven't learned everything about nutrition yet, and, until we do, "natural" isn't such a meaningless _concept_ -- although, paradoxically, a rather meaningless foo
    • Also, similar stuff about moderate amounts of Beer protecting against colon cancer, which I suspect could be related as well. I have a very non-scientific and "gut" feeling that, one day, we are going to discover that a diet based upon whole, un-processed foods is probably the healthiest of all.

  • by MECC ( 8478 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:12AM (#17472662)
    But it wasn't what I wrote (the first sentence and the link are the same). Their post is better I think, but different. The next time someone has a thing about something they think is silly in the text of a submission, just remember that the /. editors change it before posting - a lot.

    Not a complaint - an observation.

  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:18AM (#17472722)
    ...still no cure for greed.
    • I know this has been said before so, perhaps it is redundant. However, if "patent" is the current rule, then it becomes necessary to use it defensively. I.E. if the university does not patent it, then someone else might. What is needed is a GPL for medicine.
  • Cancer stem cells (Score:4, Interesting)

    by brian0918 ( 638904 ) <> on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:18AM (#17472726)
    Is there any evidence this will be effective against the cancer stem cells [] that are thought to continually produce cancer cells? Those are supposed to be much more difficult to destroy, and if you don't kill them, the cancer will just keep coming back.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      You have to kill all the minions first with the sugar compound first, then you are free to take on the boss cell. The red bosses are easy to take out, but the blue ones move a lot faster. Best bet is to get past it and get the axe.
  • by ktulus cry ( 607800 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:23AM (#17472778)
    Thousands of compounds look like promising anti-cancer agents in cancer cell culture models. They haven't done any testing in normal cell culture or in any animals. It would be awesome if this worked, but it won't do anyone any good if it induces apoptosis in normal cells.
  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:25AM (#17472794)
    "The Johns Hopkins researchers cautioned that their double-punch molecule, described in the December issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology, has not yet been tested on animals or humans."

    Relevant information: not yet tested on whole living systems. They pissed off some cancer cells in a Petri dish. Big deal. You know what kills cancer cells in Petri dishes? A sledgehammer. Cyanide. Dynamite. Driving over the Petri dish with a Buick. None of these therapies are likely to be useful, however.

    Wait, you cry. Laetrile released cyanide in vivo, and that was an (alleged) therapy.

    Yeah, systemic poison-giving is already at hand. It is called chemotherapy, and it sucks. It can work, but it is never pretty.

    Infusing the patient with sialic acid, which will enevitably infiltrate by this method into every cell, cancerous or not, is twiddling with every biological pathway with which sialic acid interacts. Butyric acid (the essence of sour butter)? Rub it on. Hasn't harmed anyone yet - whats the LD50 for old butter?

    Maybe there is promise here, and maybe there is just breathless scientific prose in a self-serving PR release.

    My guess is that once whole animals come into the picture, these researchers, as many many before, will find out that biochemistry farts in your Petri dish's general direction.
  • by DJPenguin ( 17736 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:29AM (#17472850)
    It's only a cure for cancer, not a new operating system!
  • by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <> on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:31AM (#17472870) Homepage
    I hate to be pessimistic, but I doubt that this will work in animals. It depends too much on predictable cellular behavior (primarily that whatever enzymes are going to split this thing apart will be present) but cancer cells are by nature unpredictable. If even one cell in a tumor is immune to even one of the steps that this drug depends on, the entire tumor is going to come back resistant because selective pressure has been exerted for that cell's trait.
  • Again? (Score:2, Insightful)

    For years we've been hearing about breakthough in cancer therapies once every month or so. Now put yourself in shoes of someone who's struggling with cancer for life... Hope.

    Go find some interview with a journalist who had been or still is fighting with this illness. They all say they've become more cautions when choosing such news for headlines in their newspapers or tv news.

  • But we found that when the right sugar is matched with the right chemical partner, it can deliver a powerful double-whammy against cancer cells."

  • by cfan ( 599825 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:34AM (#17472922) Homepage
    but does someone know why muscle cell cancer is so rare ?
    Most of our body is made of muscle or fat cells, yet sarcoma is quite rare.
    Has someone studied a way to make the other kinds of cells so resistent to cancer ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lbbros ( 900904 )
      Muscle cells aren't your average cell types. You're used to a single cell having a membrane and a nucleus (ok, this is a HUGE oversimplification, but useful for the purpose). Muscle cells are made up by several cells fused together (they're called "multi-nucleate" cells) early in the development process. Aside that, like neurons, they're "stuck" into "non-replicating mode", that is, once they're fully formed they're permanently locked out of the cellular cycle.
      That's why sarcomas and neuroblastomas (neuron
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:40AM (#17473008) Journal
    High fibre diet produces large quantities of cancer inhibiting chemical. And the fibre content of our diet started going down as we started consuming more and more refined foods. And refined foods became more widespread after agriculture was industrialized and it met the high pressure marketing and advertizing campaign.

    If the claims are true, the vegetarians and those ethnic groups that have lots of fiber in their diet should have lower cancer rates. Some epidemiological (sp?) study should be able to figure out the patterns. Should study groups with highly off the norm dietary habits. Results would be intersting.

    insert your favourite big agro conspiracy theory that has depressed the natural and less refined food consumption in America

  • This will cause a sea change in the Fark headlines.
  • by oohshiny ( 998054 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @11:01AM (#17473332)
    This approach may turn out to be useful, but it's important to keep in mind that "cancer" isn't a single disease, it's hundreds of different ones (albeit related); as a result, there is unlikely ever to be "the cure for cancer". Also, note that the researchers have only shown that the treatment kills cancer cells, but it still remains to be shown that it doesn't cause other problems, something that's a real possibility given its mechanism of action.
  • by transmetal ( 904896 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @11:09AM (#17473470)
    I heard Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he's never cried.
  • With this tech advance, 2 unhappy citizens in each city are made content.
  • Here we go again. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @12:10PM (#17474538)
    Anyone who has seriously studied cancer, would hardly frame this kind of thing in terms of the prospect of "curing" cancer.
    The idea in the article sounds interesting, but it is clearly being framed in a way to provoke an audience to become outraged at the idea of "patenting the cure for cancer."

    Shirley there are researchers here on slashdot who have worked in cancer, who are rolling their eyes about now, in fact, I have an extended family member who is a PI on a long standing cancer research project and I can't wait to hear their take. I suspect this is old news among people in the cancer research community, but I'll have to wait for the school year to start before I can ask. I won't even forward an article with the title "Cancer Cure Patented", come on!

  • Cute (Score:3, Interesting)

    by carvalhao ( 774969 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @12:29PM (#17474828) Journal

    So they have found an high tech method to attack cancer based on the same principle you'd get by eating enough vegetables...

  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @12:35PM (#17474906)
    "But we found that when the right sugar is matched with the right chemical partner, it can deliver a powerful double-whammy against cancer cells."

    So, Mary Poppins was right! A spoonful of sugar does help the medicine go down! And in a most delightful way, too!
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @01:01PM (#17475390)
    Or at least find a simple, inexpensive treatment that allowed them to redner it cured for all intents and purposes?

    How would that effect our attitude towards things that cause cancer or are seen as highly carcinogenic? Would smoking become the equivilent of poor oral hygiene (probably not considering the other problems)?

    It's often interesting to wonder how or if our priorities or attitudes would change if suddenly what was a major problem for decades becomes considered an easily curable condition.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.