Cancer Cure on the Horizon?

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A new drug proved so effective during testing that, for ethical reasons, scientists pulled the control subjects off of the placebo and give them the medication, too.

The medical world is abuzz with news that a cure for all cancers may soon be available.1 Knapton, Sarah. “Cancer pill fights disease and gives lifelong protection.” 19 June 2014. The Telegraph. 19 June 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10893387/Cancer-pill-fights-disease-and-gives-lifelong-protection.html The hubbub began when British scientists ran clinical trials on leukemia patients to test the efficacy of a drug type already in use. The drug turned out to be so remarkably effective that the scientists decided that, for ethical reasons, they needed to pull the control subjects off of the placebo and give them the medication, too.

Inspired by these results, the researchers decided to try the drug out on other cancers. After recruiting some mice and inducing cancer in them, they administered the magic medicine. Once again, the drug proved exceptionally effective, and this time, it worked no matter the cancer type tested. In the case of breast cancer, for instance, survival rates doubled among those mice on the drug. Breast tumors spread less, and the new tumors that developed were smaller and fewer. Plus, the mice on the pill survived far longer after having a breast removed compared to their sister mice not on the drug.

The drug, which comes in the form of a pill, also showed exceptional efficacy in fighting lung, pancreatic, and skin cancers. It worked on both solid tumors and blood cancers.

This hopeful intervention is what’s known as a delta inhibitor. This means that the pill inhibits an enzyme called p100 delta that is involved in regulating the immune system, but when misbehaving can wreak havoc with that same system. When p100 delta goes wild, the immune system becomes so compromised that it can’t fight the growth of tumors or the spread of cancer cells.2 “Leukemia drug found to stimulate immunity against many types of cancers.” 11 June 2014. Science Daily. 19 June 2014. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611132034.htm

Study director Professor Bart Vanhaesebroeck of the University College in London says, “This [pill] helps your own immune system fight off the cancer better. The good guys win. And it seems to work on all cancers…It will work to a certain extent on its own, if the tumor is not too big, but it would be [especially] effective after surgery, to prevent spreading.”

The researchers were particularly excited that that the pill boosts the body’s overall immune system so that it’s more effective in fighting other cancers as well as the one being targeted. Plus, it seems to inoculate against the recurrence of existing cancers, “remembering” the cancer and reacting against it should it appear again in the body.

Co-director of the study, Dr. Klaus Okkenhaug Babraham of Institute at Cambridge University explains, “Our work shows that delta inhibitors can shift the balance from the cancer becoming immune to our body’s defenses towards the body becoming immune to the cancer… This provides a rationale for using these drugs against both solid and blood cancers, possibly alongside cancer vaccines, cell therapies, and other treatments that further promote tumor-specific immune responses.”

Unlike chemotherapy, which weakens the body and undermines the immune system in order to kill cancer cells, this approach actually centers around strengthening the immune system so it can fight off the disease. Of course, it’s hardly the first cancer remedy that works on bolstering the immune system. Jon Barron has written at length and for many years about the futility of the chemo, surgery, and radiation approach (in most cases), opting instead for an approach that minimizes toxic exposures, cleans the organs and blood, and works to build back the immune system–since one of the jobs of immune system is to fight cancer. In fact, the alternative community as a whole has long advocated strengthening the immune system to avoid developing cancer, and also, to address existing cancer.

Optimizing the immune system by way of alternative medicine protocols may offer a similar level of immunity against cancer that this new pill promises. The difference is that the pill comes through the medical establishment, and so doctors are paying attention to it. Apparently, it’s been fast-tracked for clinical research in the UK, and experts anticipate that if all goes well, it will be released to market in the next few years.

Ironically, many of the comments on the various sites that have reported the pill are cynical, insisting that the treatment won’t see the light of day because drug manufacturers make more money on chemo drugs than they’d ever make on this new pill. A reader named Art K, for instance, writes to The Telegraph, “It won’t be used here in the United States until after 10 years of testing – and by then they’ll think of some reason not to use it because BigPharma isn’t making any profit on it.” A reader of Business Insider writes, “This sounds like it could be a threat to the multi-billion dollar business using ‘established protocols.'”

The scientists, on the other hand, are more hopeful. Professor Nic Jones, director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre in the UK, says: “The good news is that because the drugs used in this study are already being used in the clinic, we could see rapid translation of this research into patient benefit.”

It’s true that to date, mainstream medicine has largely disregarded evidence of the efficacy of an immune-building natural medicine approach in treating cancer, but this new drug just might find its way to market more readily because it comes from inside the establishment. In any event, it holds promise for offering a less traumatic and debilitating treatment than chemotherapy, and for those who would never dare consider an alternative approach, it might provide a great option should it ever make it to market. And let’s keep in mind that things do change in the medical establishment, albeit slowly. It took years for radical mastectomies to be overturned as the treatment of choice for breast cancer…100 years to be precise. Ultimately we will see chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery displaced as the treatments of choice for cancer…if we live long enough.

References   [ + ]

1. Knapton, Sarah. “Cancer pill fights disease and gives lifelong protection.” 19 June 2014. The Telegraph. 19 June 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10893387/Cancer-pill-fights-disease-and-gives-lifelong-protection.html
2. “Leukemia drug found to stimulate immunity against many types of cancers.” 11 June 2014. Science Daily. 19 June 2014. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611132034.htm

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