Wednesday, January 31, 2007


posted by The Vidiot @ 2:47 PM Permalink

There's been some blogabaloo (don't you just hate the derivative blog words?) over a possible "cure" for cancer that will never be explored because the drug is unpatentable and therefore nonprofitable.
Excerpt: It sounds almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their “immortality”. The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe.

It also has no patent, meaning it could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of newly developed drugs.

I was unwilling to post about it. During one of my incarnations in this lifetime, I did cancer research at NYU. And I can tell you, it's one helluva complicated thang. And while I'd like to believe that something as simple as DCA could be the silver bullet, I know better. I also know that it's been about 20 years since I even thought about biochemistry and anything I said would be more or less talking out of my rear. But, unlike me, this guy has a clue or two.

Excerpt: Yes, it's very easy and satisfying to take this promising preliminary study and build from it a conspiracy theory of evil big pharma "keeping cures from the people." It's just not very accurate and it adds too much heat and noise to the debate over the real shortcomings in our system of developing new drugs that make drug companies reluctant to pursue research on drugs that show promise but little profit potential. There are real, systemic problems with the financing of drug development and how drugs are marketed, but hyperbole and conspiracy theories don't address these problems; they obscure them.

Read the whole entry. It's a very good explanation of why hopes shouldn't be raised just yet. But frankly, this whole thing is faintly reminiscent of the Hydrazine Sulfate cancer "cure" of the 1990s.


Post a Comment

<< Home