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Cancer Cured By HIV 521

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 Zaatxe ( 939368 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:41AM (#37057318)
    Your point is compelling, but some people might think that lifeSpan != life.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:04PM (#37057726) Homepage

    most people with pancreatic cancer would gladly make that trade!

    Well, there's some cancers associated with HIV/AIDS which themselves are pretty nasty.

    As I recall, HIV was identified because there was a cluster of people with Kaposi's Sarcoma, which was supposed to have a much lower incidence than what they were finding.

    If you've been going through cancer treatment, and already have a diminished immune system from the treatment, I'm not sure that's really a trade you'd want to be eager to make.

    I'm always glad to hear about potential advances in medicine, but I wouldn't rush right out to try to use this as a cure just yet. They're likely a ways off from that.

  • by RockoTDF ( 1042780 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:30PM (#37058168) Homepage
    To be fair, did they actually call it "ass cancer"?
  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:55PM (#37058638) Homepage Journal
    The amount of money that goes into cancer research, and pet projects pork-barrelled as cancer research, greatly overshadows all other medical and biological research budgets. I used to work on a lab that did neurodevelopmental studies in itty-bitty worms called C. elegans. It was, in large part, funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. The end of cancer research funding would utterly destroy fundamental research in molecular biology and biochemistry.
  • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @01:08PM (#37058862)

    Someone going by radagast posted the below in the msnbc.com comment section on TFA. It's very well said, so I'll just cite it to preserve it in case msnbc ever wipes their old comments (that wouldn't be the first time):

    Nowhere in the health care bill does the government "takeover" healthcare. They simply mandate that everyone be covered. The health care you would buy under the plan will still be administered by private, competing companies. Our system will not be a "socialized" version of Canada, nor will there be government employees administering your plan.

    Holy @!$%#, holy @!$%#. It's been two years and still this misinformed tripe continues to bubble up as "knowledge." Why don't some of you who hate progressives do something to better America? The only ones who seem willing to try are the progressives. Slandering what they do only defeats your own self interest.

    Drug companies do not develop cell therapies, they develop small molecule drugs. You might as well blame Ford Motor Co. when the crops fail. Cancer is a collection of thousands of different diseases which present differently in nearly all patients. It is one of the most intellectually and technically challenging problems in human history. Millions of people are working on it. Many cancers are curable right now. Many drugs are effective (despite your widely held belief that there are no cures). Other forms can be managed, while still other forms remain a death sentence.

    If you want cures - THEN ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO SPEND MONEY ON BASIC RESEARCH. Cutting government funding cuts basic science, which keeps scientists from advancing in a great many fields - cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, the list is exceptionally long. Putting academic scientists (the average scientist in academia makes ~ $30-40,000) out of work seems to be what some of you want. These men and women who have sacrificed much of their lives and money to solving these problems are starving for funding. There will be only one result. The quality of research will deteriorate. People will be forced to cut corners and make mistakes as they claw for the scraps from Congress.

    Even so, drug companies play their part because they have some of the best private funding and funding derived from their profits. The notion that they won't research cures or that they don't want cures because they will lose money is personally insulting to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who perform some of the most advanced research in these fields. Research that would put your simple minds to shame by its depth and breadth of ingenuity and know-how. When there is a cure it is gotten to market as fast as possible and gotten into the hands of doctors as fast as possible. There are endless examples of this.

    Do you really think that these private sector workers don't have family members who have died? Do you think that they don't read the same headlines? They know the challenge better than any of you and they know the face of the disease better than you. If there really was any validity to the notion that drug companies are standing in the way of cures, then the people who would be complaining the loudest would be those who work in them. They would be complaining very loudly that their work is not getting out because of the company's supposed policies. How many of those people do we hear from?


    You people who traffic in nonsense and politically motivated tripe are the reason our Congress is the way it is. Look at yourselves and the ignorance you spread as fact. Shame. Nothing but rumor mongers, denialists, and idiots. Our Congress is a reflection of the American people and the American people continue to prove they are shamelessly and willfully ignorant, belligerant, and infantile. If you can't handle the internet like adults maybe we should take it away from you.

    Grow the @!$%# up and get a clue. All of you.

  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @04:26PM (#37061646) Homepage Journal
    I was going to write an excited post about this [lifescientist.com.au], but further reading of the article has made me a little more sceptical. What the researchers did was create a kind of autoimmune disease, where their engineered T cells targeted and destroyed a subset of the patients' B cells. It's important to note that all of these cells were circulating in the blood, where the cancerous cells were easy to access; this technique probably would not work well against tumours, especially since it appears to wipe out the subset of non-cancerous B cells from which the cancer line had originated. If this technique were applied directly to, say, lung cancer, it would destroy all of whatever lung tissue had become cancerous. It's also left the patients with an immune deficiency.

    That being said, the leukaemia they treated is extremely common amongst cancer patients, and, in this case, it would be possible to fix the immune deficiency by adding a self-destruct switch to the T cells, and reintroducing healthy B cells, so the body can be put back to normal once the cancer is definitely defeated.

    Prior to this, we had no good way of treating blood leukaemia. Traditional chemotherapy relies on poisoning all fast-reproducing cells, which does huge damage to the immune system, intestinal lining, and hair follicles. Further, bone marrow transplants are often required to restore blood cell production afterwards. It looks like this technique was tried previously, but abandoned due to failures. So things are looking up—but other forms of cancer are still likely to be a part of life for a long time yet!
  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @04:30PM (#37061672) Homepage Journal
    I get to post this [rcn.com] link again, hooray! The randomness comes from chopping up a very long segment of DNA in a couple of arbitrarily-chosen places. There are only about 25 million possible combinations... and the body also has a bunch of mechanisms for detecting and protecting native molecules, like this thing [wikipedia.org].

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.