Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Biotech

Cancer Drug Proves To Be Effective Against Multiple Tumors (nytimes.com) 81

An anonymous reader writes: 86 cancer patients were enrolled in a trial of a drug that helps the immune system attack tumors. Though they had different kinds of tumor -- pancreas, prostate, uterus or bone -- they all shared a genetic mutation that disrupts their cells' ability to fix damaged DNA, found in 4% of all cancer patients. But tumors vanished and didn't return for 18 patients in the study, reports the New York Times, while 66 more patients "had their tumors shrink substantially and stabilize, instead of continuing to grow." The drug trial results were "so striking that the Food and Drug Administration already has approved the drug, pembrolizumab, brand name Keytruda, for patients whose cancers arise from the same genetic abnormality. It is the first time a drug has been approved for use against tumors that share a certain genetic profile, whatever their location in the body."
The researchers say that just in the U.S. there are 60,000 new patients every year who could benefit from the new drug.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cancer Drug Proves To Be Effective Against Multiple Tumors

Comments Filter:
  • Here is the formula:

    Formula: C6534 H10004 N1716 O2036 S46
  • If approved by the FDA, it will be ready to use in 25 years for the 99% who can't afford it now.
    • You mean six months. [fda.gov] Assuming the drug actually works that is. The delays come in proving it works.
      • He means Merck is price gouging it. So people will be riddled with medical debt (and governments), but don't worry, they no longer have cancer while they eat their ramen soup cups under a bridge.

      • No idea if it works but it seems like it should already be approved given that I've been seeing ads for this drug for a while now. It doesn't seem like the company would be paying for ads if they couldn't recoup that money.
        • No idea if it works

          It works. For more information, try reading the article ... or the summary ... or the headline.

          .. but it seems like it should already be approved

          It has already been approved. For more information, try reading the article ... or the summary.

    • My country is single payer, so we will help you pay for it at a price that is acceptable to both parties.
      • Re:This is great. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday June 10, 2017 @04:30PM (#54593369)

        >"My country is single payer, so we will help you pay for it at a price that is acceptable to both parties."

        You just probably won't have any company ever actually invent any drugs in your country because there is no money to pay for the development.

        • Merick and Co can set the price to whatever they want to when they sell it to a single buyer country. If they don't set it high enough to continue development then that's not exactly the buyer's problem. Besides, there are plenty of people who do this to save lives, not get rich.
          • Drug companies routinely get extorted when they try to set prices outside the US. The country says to the drug company "Sell it for 50 cents a dose or we'll develop a generic and you won't get a cent." The drug companies almost always give in.
            • Again, it's up to them and the American government to come up with some trade agreement that prohibits this if it is a problem. You can't get benefits from the upside of capitalism without facing the downside.. That your product is worth what people are willing to pay for it.
        • You think that's where most of the money is going? Nah.

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          >"My country is single payer, so we will help you pay for it at a price that is acceptable to both parties."

          You just probably won't have any company ever actually invent any drugs in your country because there is no money to pay for the development.

          Guess again.

          From the fine article:

          The study started in 2013 and is funded by philanthropies; the drugmakerâ(TM)s [Merek] only role was to supply the drug.

          So it seems your User pays for everything, then we charge the government to pay for it again system is an utter failure. Merek would never have bothered with this drug if the tests were not conducted by someone else.

          The overwhelming majority of life saving treatments are developed using public money. There's no money in curing cancer, especially not when hardness pills and placebo vitamins are so profitable (yes, thats where the majority of private R&D goes, so-called

        • You just probably won't have any company ever actually invent any drugs in your country because there is no money to pay for the development.

          Ever heard of Beta blockers, or Losec? Just to name a few. Invented and developed by Swedish industry. A country that is very much single payer, with centralised purchasing of all drugs at set prices.

          And yet, there's plenty of money to be made...

  • I can only say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Saturday June 10, 2017 @01:14PM (#54592751)
    Such inventions which consist of a crazy amount of hard work, many sleepless nights, a lot of talent and ingenuity are the reason why I absolutely love science.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by haruchai ( 17472 )

      And the people most likely to profit financially from it don't know the 1st thing about science but everything about profiting from your loss.

      • Re:I can only say (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday June 10, 2017 @01:57PM (#54592915)

        The people that will profit are the people that paid for the research and clinical trials that made the drug possible.

      • Re:I can only say (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday June 10, 2017 @02:26PM (#54593031) Homepage

        And the people most likely to profit financially from it don't know the 1st thing about science but everything about profiting from your loss.

        True, but they do know a bit about risk management and they do have incentive to create something useful and then use that to profit big. No results means no income, it's a gamble. You could of course hire some public scientists, but it's very hard to say who is doing anything productive. What I've come to realize more and more about the public sector is that without competition you pass everything straight through to the end user. If McDonald's is losing money and is threatened by Burger King, they'll being doing some real soul searching about their concept, products, processes and all that. Hard decisions will be made on every level and excess fat trimmed.

        In the public sector, shit flows straight downhill. If they cut the funding to the planning office, building permits take longer. If they get more money, they can hire more people and do the same job faster. But at no point is there any real pressure to change the way building permits are issued. There's no competing office covering the same area that'll do it faster or simpler. You can't have competition on everything, it's hard to see how you could have competing police, military, courts, IRS, DMV, CPS and many other things. But very few of those are known for their cost efficiency and user friendliness. You can kill medical patents, fund a public behemoth of a research institute instead. But I'm not sure it'd be better.

        • True, but they do know a bit about risk management and they do have incentive to create something useful and then use that to profit big. No results means no income, it's a gamble. You could of course hire some public scientists, but it's very hard to say who is doing anything productive. What I've come to realize more and more about the public sector is that without competition you pass everything straight through to the end user.

          What you call "public science" is a pretty competitive career. The currency is just research papers and influence rather than pure financial profit.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Let's say this "cancer cure" is for real - in the sense of curing 50,000 cancers per year. And let's say that the scientists who discovered it were sufficiently clever and hard working that, had they not existed, it would have been another five years before another team of scientists made the same discovery. So, for the sake of argument, let's assume these scientists saved 250,000 lives.

            Now, being able to front up to a cocktail party, gaze into the distance drink in hand with a look that says you've been p

        • You could of course hire some public scientists, but it's very hard to say who is doing anything productive.

          No, not even remotely true. I'm working much harder and under much higher scrutiny as a publicly funded researcher than I ever did in industry (where I spent ten years of my life).

          This is especially true in medicin. Most new drugs are from publicly funded research in the US [nih.gov]. While private industry spend a lot of money it's later in the game, commercialising public results.

          The public can afford to take cheap (relatively speaking) risks that nothing will result. Corporations won't. They'll play it safe. (Just

      • by kanweg ( 771128 )

        "And the people most likely to profit financially from it don't know the 1st thing about science but everything about profiting from your loss."

        Priests. Praise the Lord!

        Bert

      • You seem to suggest stopping profits is more important than saving lives.

        Given the drooling over euthanasia and eugenics on slashdot I am inclined to believe your goal is really just wanting as many people to die as possible and marxism is just a stretch of a way to get there.
        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          You seem to suggest stopping profits is more important than saving lives.
          Given the drooling over euthanasia and eugenics on slashdot I am inclined to believe your goal is really just wanting as many people to die as possible and marxism is just a stretch of a way to get there.

          I'm suggesting nothing of the sort but have no control over your inclinations.
          US Pharma biz however seems to have had no trouble bleeding sick people dry.
          A former colleague of mine who has several serious health challenges throughout her life left behind a mountain of debt, well into the millions of dollars.
          She may be something of an outlier but still far from unique.

          • So your alternative proposal is the government just disallows this cutting edge tech and people just die?

            Maybe a government that forces people to make this decision is flawed?

            Or run by murderers?
            • by haruchai ( 17472 )

              If that's the conclusion, you reached by reading my posts, I don't think we share a common language family

              • I don't recall seeing anywhere in your posts what your alternative proposal is.

                You claim big pharma sucks people dry. How would you address that?
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Such inventions which consist of a crazy amount of hard work, many sleepless nights, a lot of talent and ingenuity are the reason why I absolutely love science.

      They say the defining moment of science is NOT "Eureka!" but "That's funny..."

    • According to the Ken Burns cancer documentary on Netflix the main reason why immunotherapy was so slow to get momentum was there was very little intellectual or academic effort involved. Science isn't really the hero here. Science is just introducing the immune system (which was not by any account created by science) to the cancer.

      The elites decided it didn't help their careers much so they were more than happy to throw the cancer funding into the furnace, annually. Business (*yes* BIG PHARMA) is saving
  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Saturday June 10, 2017 @02:23PM (#54593025)

    The explosion of drug TV commercials is getting annoying. Ok, Keytruda might be able to justify one now but how many people could possibly have "non-24" to the point of justifying the expense of a commercial? And what's the point of it anyway? You can't buy these things unless your doctor prescribes it and I guarantee you that he/she knows more about them that you do. Do not mistake your google search for their medical degree.

  • The summary is clear this drug works on tumors caused by one genetic mutation, affecting about 4% of the cancer patients. The tumors appear in many organs but they were all caused by the same genetic mutation.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday June 10, 2017 @03:41PM (#54593253) Journal
    Cancer is not a single disease. It is a collective name for all kinds of failures in the body when an age old covenant among the cells break down.

    Evolution can filter out diseases that affect the ability to reproduce very well very efficiently. If a disease takes so long to bake, it does not affect the ability to reproduce, those diseases will never be filtered out. All the cells in the body have the potential to become a cancer. All the cells in the body will become cancerous after so many generations of subdivision.

    This drug that helps the 4% of the people with a specific mutation will not help them against the 96% of the remaining kinds of cancer. Even after this treatment, they can get a different cancer. If the general population has probability p of getting cancer, these patients will have 0.96 * p probability of getting some other type of cancer.

    • You are a ray of sunshine.
    • by gringer ( 252588 )

      All the cells in the body will become cancerous after so many generations of subdivision.

      Naked Mole Rats suggest otherwise:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • Thanks for the citation. I remember some disgusting facts about mole rats, they eat each other's crap. But this is new.

        It looks like the naked mole rats have lower levels of metabolism, they undergo cell division at a lower rate. We have seen in humans, people who starve and live under 1000 cal/day live much longer. So one mechanism is known but not very appealing to humans.

        The other mechanisms seem to be highly error free cell division, and much lower rates of mutations per generation. R&D here migh

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

          If we reduce the mutation rate, effects of ageing will slow down and it would actually be the fountain of youth.

          No. DNA degradation is not the main driver of old age. If it was the main problem we'd be living for a couple of centuries. There are numerous other issues with aging that are more pressing.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      So?

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet

Working...