Saturday, May 14, 2011

Not profitable to cure cancer?

I am not sure why I'm into news articles lately, but there you have it. I am.

In this one, scientists in Alberta, Canada, have accidentally found 'a cure' for most cancers - but pharmaceutical companies won't fork up the money to do human trials.

Why? Because the chemical compound that they found by accident, is DCA, something that is already used to treat other illnesses.

Meaning it can't be patented. If they can't put a patent on it, they can't make money.

Which means they are not going to pay for human trials.
These scientists have completed Phase I and Phase II of their human trials (with donations from the public, and a small govt grant) but cannot continue to Phase III - too expensive.

What kind of world do we live in if we don't fund this important research?
The kind that looks at cancer as a money making business, that's what.

After some obsessive googling last night, I found the only clinic in the world (well, the first one anyway) that will treat cancer patients with this new DCA compound, along with chemotherapy. Their results seem to be optimistic, though, they have to prescribe this as an 'off-label' therapy since there are no completed human trials. Meaning it's not endorsed by Health Canada (other than in the illnesses that it was already approved for, but not cancer)

This clinic is located in Toronto, Canada, but of course, this is a private clinic so the government is not paying for this treatment
(But, in other countries most clinics are private anyway, aren't they? So I guess this is not such a shock. The treatment ranges between $160 - $190 per week)

Their patients are mostly Stage IV cancer patients whose doctors have told them that there is nothing more they can do for them... so as a desperate measure, they go there.

I find it incredibly sad that these promising steps in research are being ignored.

Finding a cure for cancer shouldn't be dependent on the pharmaceutical companies making money, but sadly, it seems to be that way.


Conquering Cancer By Living Well said...

It's very sad. Along this "journey" I've encountered so many people who have done actual research into it and found out that the cure is actually out there - but would take many dollars away from the pharmaceutical companies. These large companies are making money on you and I and other cancer patients/survivors. It's purely disgusting and I just can't see how they can get away with this type of thing. If something is found, some sort of cure, or anything at all that would help with slowing down the cancer process, it should be mandatory that research results be released to the public right away, and is followed up and hopefully used in the near future. And to think that it would have to be mandatory, instead of the morally correct thing to do by these companies, is absurd. I wonder how some of these people sleep at night.

Sayre said...

There isn't any profit, so our money-obsessed world isn't interested - even if it could save the lives of people they love. It doesn't speak very well of the human race does it? I feel that way about our government too. The main question asked isn't "what's best for the country" but "what's in it for me?" A sad state of affairs, indeed.

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

Conquering - I spent a lot of time on the clinic's website, it's so informative. They even developed the only (first) Chemo Fit test - which tests a piece of your tumor against all conventional chemotherapies, and within 72 hours they tell you which one it responded to best, and that's the one they'd recommend for the patient. I wonder how long before this test becomes main stream in oncology practice?

Sayre - Indeed. Whatever happened to rich private donors then? There are tons of people with money (hello Hollywood) why isn't that money going to this research? It's a global problem. I read that the 'donations' they received were around $800,000 (which is amazing, considering it was publicly funded) but for phase III something like 1 billion is needed for completion, so it's just not feasible.

Genkicat said...

Wow! I had no idea. And so now that we know - what do we do about it? I'll ponder it for a while.

I hope you are feeling well!

pinkunderbelly said...

This is blowing my mind. I'm speechless. Does this mean that cancer battles are being fought right now, by people like you & me, unnecessarily? If so, I'm going to be really ticked.

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

Genkicat - It's an outrage for sure. Not sure there is anything to do, except for spread the word.

Pink - I know. I couldn't breathe when I read that. And I also researched the clinic in Toronto, it's all true - they are offering the treatment 'off label'... why is nobody sponsoring Phase III???

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Absolutely fascinating! I hope more intelligent minds prevail and they get the funding for the last phase.

nancyspoint said...

I don't feel like I know enough here, but if what you are saying is true, it's quite disturbing to say the least isn't it? Thanks for bringing this out in the open.

Jeff said...

Hello again (from psychosomatic wit). I am sorry that I am lagging about getting back to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

As far as this post, this kind of stuff drives me in sane. We in the west, and especially in the US, treat capitalism (and its principles) as if it is a gift from God. Licensed greed, I am sure, sickens the Almighty as much as it does me. That is not to say it is completely bad, but the situation here with treatments, drugs, etc. IS completely bad. Hopefully, this changes. It is added to my prayer issues. said...

That is so sad.. I mean look at those that arent that lucky and need more treatment. It beaks my heart to know there isnt anything out there to help but they can have this testing for other diseases that can cure themselves and they are spending money on those instead of something that can be deadly.. Yikes..

Bernie said...

I live in Alberta and my breast cancer was treated at The Cross Cancer Institute, I think it is the best hospital/clinic in the world....I read this same article in our local newspaper, there must be some way to go around the pharmaceuticals and insurance companies to bring this cure.....if I only knew what....Hugs

McCrackens Mom said...

Hi Michelle. Just checking on you and wondering how you are doing these days? Worry when we don't hear from you. I wanted to ask if when you switched oncologists you switched hospitals? I'd still love to meet and give you a hug. Sending love and prayers your when you feel like writing.
Hugs, Andrea

embracingtherain said...

Michelle, That is very sad and wrong and frustrating! People should be put ahead of profits.

Anonymous said...

Maybe everyone who does the Cancer walks and Donates to Cancer could donate to these Alberta Scientists. Since they possibly found a cure for Cancer and this is the goal of all the Cancer donations. Then we would not have to worry about the pharmaceutal companies not wasting their money.