Please vote as to when you think there will be an overall cure for cancer. I know that all cancers are different, but i am talking about when do you think cancer can be moved down in the list of causes of death.
I said 50 years.
Cancer can never be prevented (unless you can change the environment to prevent genetic mutations).
There are numerous cures for cancer like cis platinum or antibody-based therapies. These do not cure all types of cancer. There are numerous types of cancer alright, yes, but also the biggest problem is where in the body the cancer is. Brain tumours and leukemias are most difficult to treat.
To cure cancer is to repair the genetic disease or kill the tumour. Another problem with curing cancer is that tumours are like a thick tissue with no blood vessels and it's almost impossible to deliver drugs in the body to all the cells in the tumour, and only the surface of the tumour is treated. Surgery is most effective for external tumours, and some internal tumours. Radiation is newly being transformed using antibodies so that only tumour cells will be irradiated - next generation chemotherapy. Metastasis is where the tumour spreads like a virus from one part of the body and infects another part of the body. Once metastasis takes place the tumour is almost impossible to treat and the patient has little chance for a successful cure.
The field of nano-robotics is rapidly approaching the capability to effectivly cure most diseases.
I, however, would suggest custom designed viruses. Design a virus that attacks only cancerous cells, and temporarily suppress the immune system. That would work quite well. The only trouble is modifying the virus to only attack cancerous cells.
Yes, that virus approach sounds reasonable, but when you inject the virus it won't reach all the cancerous cells. We already have viruses and antibodies that attack only certain types of cancer cells. Needs a lot more work.
both of your comments are great and certainly worth the effort. Having said that... certain things to address:
1. There is a growing niche of scientists and healthcare workers who think/research seriously into the idea of chemoprevention. That is, the ability to take prophylactic 'vitamins' (for lack of a better term...) to specifically prevent carcinogenesis. Are there promising results? Absolutely. look it up and hopefully you will feel optimistic!
2. While I would certainly say nanotechnology is an inevitability, I wouldn't be so quick to think that we will be injecting the things into human, as standard care, anytime soon. why? well that brings me to my last point...
3. Viruses... primarily retroviruses and lentiviruses are now being used, experimentally, to directly attack cancer cells. There have been victories and setbacks. Viruses are, after all, viruses. Millions of years of evolutionary pressure have made these buggers the ideal smart bomb of death. Of course... they tend to be selfish and want to usurp their hosts for their own gain. We just gotta figure out how to convince them, genetically, to kill off our own bad cells and keep the rest of us okay. I assure you... this is where some breakthroughs will occur.
There are many different diseases all called cancer. We can actually cure some of them already. There probably wont be ever a point in time from which will be all cancer cureable. Instead, we will be able to cure more and more kinds of cancer gradually. The process already started.
The question is assuming that "they" want a cure. If there was a cure then they would have to invent another scam. They already tried that with AIDS and it didnt work.
I voted never because I don't think we will ever completely be able to cure all people with cancer. As I have understand it cancer is caused by mutations. Mutations happens naturally all the time so we can never stop it completely. Cancer can also be hard to notice in an early stage so it might be to late when you notice.
Well, I must say that I'm pleased to see some sensible and quite insightful postings here, although I don't know what timothymartin is on about I'm afraid. When anyone starts talking about 'them' as the hidden rulers then I'm afraid my attention is lost.
I agree with many of the comments here. Cancer is indeed a multi-headed beast. Some appears to be triggered virally, some have a major genetic component and some apparently just happen. Curing all of them is quite a goal but as has also been said we have made pretty impressive progress. Many cancers are now not only treatable but effectively curable. Not too long ago, if you were lucky, you went into remission. Even then the majority would survive only a few years more. Now more and more people are surviving to live a relatively normal life.
I honestly can't put a timescale on a cure for all cancers but I don't see a practical reason why one is not possible. In fact I don't think it will be one - I think we will continue to develop a range of treatments for the different cancers and they will improve until cancer becomes a routine illness and a routine treatment. We have seen AIDS treatment develop to the point where sufferers can live pretty normal lives for extended periods, maybe even normal lifespans. They still have the virus but it doesn't kill them. I think cancer may be treated the same way, before a complete cure is found. It will be a case of reducing any tumours to managable levels and maintaining that. This is already done with some cancers like prostate cancer. If I get prostate cancer tomorrow then I might not elect for surgery. At nearly 50, I expect about 20 more years healthy life and it may well be that I would decide to treat the cancer in a 'holding action' instead of aggressive eradication - on the basis that it could be treated for that long without destroying quality of life - obviously it would depend on how aggressive it was, but I see that model of treatment getting more common.
There is a nanotechnological solution being developed here in Canada that does not involve viruses, or robots (which is really not that feasible in the short term).
It involves custom molecules that attach only to cancer cells - i don't know precisely how because that's not my field, but it could be anything from looking for cells that have the tumour suppression gene turned off to identifying broken oncogenes. We are currently capable - only on a very limited level - to fabricate custom molecules. So imagine this: we fabricate a molecule that has a pattern on one end like a key, that only fits into cancerous cells. On the other end, a massive structure made of heavy atoms. We inject this into the body, and if there are any cancerous cells present, the key end attaches. If not, the molecules just pass harmlessly through the system until they are expunged naturally.
Next, we fire hard x-rays into the patient. Hard x-rays normally pass through most tissue, so they don't get absorbed easily, and thus don't do as much damage as soft x-rays (and if they do cause damage... *shrug*... who cares, this is the cure for cancer). The hard x-rays pass through most tissue, but they get absorbed into the heavy end of the custom molecules... which heats them up... which causes them to explode, taking the cancerous cells they are attached to with them.
Voilà, the cancer is cured.
This technique could cure all kinds of cancer - you would just need to adapt the "key" shape to different types. It has two main drawbacks: it requires irradiating the patient which may trigger a second outbreak of cancer (but that could then be cured later), and it requires the patient have a relatively healthy liver (and other toxin-removing organs like the skin) to clean up the leftovers after the procedure.
The challenge now is to develop more advanced nano- and pico-manufacturing techniques so that we can build the custom molecules quickly and accurately, and to determine the best ways to attach to all cancerous cells and only cancerous cells. But that's hardly science fiction at this point.
That does sound exciting - and feasible. Just think what a breakthrough it would represent...wow!
There's still a lot of work to be done on my end - i don't have anything to do with the biological part, i'm not a biologist, but on the nanomanufacturing front we still have years to go before we have the kind of technology that will make this kind of cure cheap enough for mass consumption (which is ultimately the goal - i have no interest in making a cure that only the richest 0.001% can afford). But there is a synergy of next-generation technologies coming together; in other words, this is not a case where we have to wait for this thing, then that thing, then that thing, and so on - all of the "things" are being developed in parallel, and will all come together eventually. While the engineers work on the nanofabrication front, the biologists will work on identifying the specific markers to look for and the kind of molecules that will attach to them, and the physicists will work on designing the best structure for the fuse end and the safest way to deliver the energy payload to explode them.
In the short term what you'll probably see coming - which you can consider the herald for the cure - is really cheap, really fast diagnostic tools thanks to microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip technologies. That won't be a cure, but it will make cancer diagnosis much, much, much, much, much, much, easier, quicker and more common, which means that cancerous cells can be identified even before there is much hyperplasia. Early diagnosis will probably reduce the occurrence of terminal-stage cancers significantly.
And then, the cure will come.
i'm an engineer, but whenever a kid asks me what to get into these days i always recommend medical research. The reason is that while we can always use more engineers, the field of medical research right now and in the coming half-century is where the real adventure and action is going to be (in the past half-century, it was information technology). We are on the cusp of breakthroughs beyond anything imagined even just a generation ago. We could, in the lifetime of most of the people here, actually cure death (as in, anyone alive now will no longer die, not that we'll raise the dead, but never say never) - it's a long-shot, but it's come out of the realm of fantasy and into the realm of real possibility.
So, you'll have to pardon me if i'm rather amused by the people who say we'll never cure cancer, just because it's hard. Really? ^_^; i mean, really? We are a species that has already wiped out a terrible, infectious disease - smallpox - and there are another half-dozen or so infectious diseases on the short list to oblivion, too (seen anyone with polio recently?). And other medical conditions, like bacterial infections like typhus or illnesses caused by lifestyle and living conditions like scurvy... gone or going fast. And you still think we're never going to cure cancer? ^_^;
It will never happen. There's been trillions of dollars given to cancer research. Viruses have been engineered and released and tested simply so people will buy vaccines and give money to these projects. The government doesn't WANT to cure cancer, they just want to LOOK like they do. I say pour money into cancer PREVENTION.
I don't want to go offtopic, but really? Prevent death? Do you mean to say you'll live forever, or we'll stop ageing?
Coming back to the topic - I say 10-50 years. I've read about carbon nanotubes that could attach to cancerous cell and then absorb energy; burning the tube and the cell along with it. Possible right?
It is possible. We could get to a generation anytime now where as people get older medical science continues to advance just ahead of their aging and 'catches' each developing problem, so that very extended life becomes a reality. Too late for me I think, but there could be people born now who would ride that wave...
All very speculative of course and no more than a fairly small probability yet
"The government". ^_^; Please, no government on the planet could find their way out of a wet paper bag with a hole in the side and a map showing the way out. In the real world where the rest of us live, the government is made up of people, and people get cancer, so why would "the government" want to prevent the discovery of a cure for cancer? That's just absurd.
Cancer prevention is harder than curing it. Cancer happens because as cells multiply, replication errors sometimes creep in. To prevent cancer we would have to somehow monitor every single cell replication, and make sure there were no errors before letting it happen. It is much easier to identify already cancerous cells and just kill them.
Yes, really prevent death. ^_^; No fooling.
First we will cure senescence - ageing and death by ageing - then we will be able to recover from virtually any form of accidental death due to injury. Curing cancer is a necessary part of the process.
We're just meat machines. We're complicated meat machines, but ultimately just meat machines. All we need to do is develop technology sophisticated enough to maintain and repair our machinery fast enough that no "data" (our minds) gets lost before the repair is done. Or, alternatively, we could ditch the machinery completely and just copy our minds into a better machine. There are many different options, and it's too soon to tell which option will be the first one developed.
I don't agree with you. By "them" or "the government" I don't think we can refer to the people holding office. I think it's referring to underlaying interests behind this. And to deny this is to try to be blind when you already hit the wall - there are so many areas where you can see this-why are there wars? do you think it's because of freedom and democracy? or for money, oil, territory control and power? And money, control and power are the underlying interests everywhere. Medicine and laboratories corporative interests are handling the health care systems of all nations - and it's all about more drugs and more money to research and new diseases and new drugs-endless. And at the same time we're consuming cancer-prone-poison every day (nicotine, aspartame, etc)??
A cure for a type of cancer will be found, but another disease will appear, preventing the cycle to end.
Then on a different side of the issue, human technology and science is going on a straight line, specially medicine- denying any other form of development that's not in their books. And that's not healthy.
That doesn't make sense grammatically, or logically. ^_^;
Like i said, that makes no sense. You can't compare the campaign of wars in the Middle East to the "war" on cancer. In the first case, they are creating suffering and misery elsewhere for the sake of getting resources that will make them richer and more comfortable. In the second case, if what you say were true, they would be creating suffering for themselves for the sake of getting some extra cash that they're not even going to be able to enjoy if they get cancer and there's no cure. That would be absurd, and unbelievably stupid.
Not to mention that they'd get far more money if they cured cancer than if they let people suffer for it. Healthy people pay insurance, sick people collect it. And the money you get from treating cancer isn't really all that large since it more of it goes to the care providers on the front line than goes to pharmaceuticals. The profit margins for the pharmaceuticals is far higher when you're selling vitamins and supplements to healthy people than when you're treating cancer patients - just take a look at the profit margins for homoeopathy.
It makes no sense not to cure cancer, in the same way that it made no sense not to cure smallpox, and it makes no sense not to cure polio. Which is why they're doing those things, despite your conspiracy theories, and, of course, they're also working on the cure to cancer.
Well, now... That depends on which 'they' you're talking about.
Cancer is bad for health insurers, but for the people producing the cure, it would be far more lucrative to produce lengthy, expensive treatments, rather than a cure.
If they stumbled upon a cure, they would market it to get ahead of their competitors, but they're not actively looking for one... They're looking for reasons to need day-by-day treatment, their most lucrative product...
Which is why we get a treatment for 'restless leg syndrome' rather than a cure for cancer.
Of course they are actively looking for a cure:
Here's just a small snapshot of some of the research near me in the UK
Lucrative up to the point that they or someone they care about gets cancer. That's the element all you conspiracy theorists seem to miss. We're not talking about a flu here, we're talking about cancer, which is a long, slow death sentence in most cases, and however greedy you think these pharmaceutical people might be, they're not that desperate for money that they'd be willing to die a slow death (or watch their loved ones do the same) just for a quick buck. Come on, man.
Just use your head. You're going to get a ton of money whether you develop a cure or a "length, expensive treatments". Sure you may get more with the latter, but you're hardly going to suffer in the former case. And you then get the benefit of not dying should you - or someone you care about - get cancer. What would any sane person with an IQ in double digits do in that case?
i'm not saying these pharmaceutical people are saints. i'm just saying they're not as stupid as the conspiracy theorists think they are.
That is a bald-faced lie, and anyone who has spent any time near a research hospital knows it.
The truth is that - even at my own university - there are dual programs working in parallel for "supportive" cancer research (researching treatments, not cures) and there are programs actively seeking a cure along dozens of different routes. At my own university, i know of one group using gene therapy, another looking into the way stem cells develop in the hopes of "replacing" cancerous growths with non-cancerous ones, and then there are the nanotech solutions (which, technically, the medical side isn't being done at my university, but the physics and engineering side is). And that's not even counting the dozens of groups that are looking into early detection and other such stuff (in fact, just last week there was a huge breakthrough in early breast cancer detection).
i can't think of a more reasonable way to put it than: of course they're looking for a cure, don't be an idiot. The reason you have a "treatment" for restless leg syndrome rather than a cure for cancer (or even a cure for restless leg syndrome!) is because IT'S FRICKEN HARD. That's all. There's no conspiracy. It's just a lot harder to cure something than it is to treat it, which is why we've been treating cancer for decades (ah, your little paranoid conspiracy didn't take into account the fact that we have had remarkable and increasing success treating cancer for decades before anyone even heard of restless leg syndrome, hm?), but haven't cured it yet. And, in point of fact, we have cured several forms of cancer... the cures are just not all that reliable yet, and the side effects are often extremely bad.
But we are working on it, despite your paranoid lies.
They are desperate enough to take the risk of that though.
Yes, universities are still looking for cures. But drug companies are not.
If a university does find a cure, the drug companies will buy the patent and sell the drug, but the corporations are not going to spend money on an expensive search for a less-lucrative cancer cure when they could instead spend their research money for cheaper research for lucrative treatments of chronic conditions. (Conditions that may or may not actually exist, and may or may not be worse than the side effects of the drug.) And though they try to hide it with clever accounting, most drug companies spend around twice as much on advertising as they spend on research.
(Though any attempt to regulate them will immediately bring up protests of cutting money for vital cancer/AIDS/whatever-cure research.)
Which leaves the only people actually searching for a cure- universities; usually funded by government or philanthropic grants.
Just saying, don't buy the drug companies' line that they are being altruistic at the expense of their profit margins... They aren't.
The governments and charities financing the real research -- and the occasional scientist doing research at reduced cost -- are the altruistic ones.
You're really naive. Do you really think that people who care about lucrative business really come and stop to think about what if some of their family gets cancer? is that the flaw you see in the "conspiracy theories", really? that is more delusional than what you refer to as "conspiracy therories". Please. If you think like that, I congratulate you, and you are a good person. But don't think that everyone in the world thinks like you, that everyone thinks about their family, people around, like "beloved" ones - you have more than enough proof that there are more people who give a damn about their fellow men than people who do. At least there are more people who are in positions to do something about it and don't give a damn. And that's why the world is going wrong. So why the pharmaceutical business should be any different?
Anyway, I'm not saying that people like you are not looking for a cure to cancer, as well as other people out there. What I'm saying is that there is no "conspiracy"- a group of people plotting together so that there won't be a cure for cancer- but that there are underlaying interests that are about money, and money is in there for them where there are always more and more (new and different) diseases to research about, and create "test" drugs, etc. And I'm not talking about cancer only, I'm talking about AIDS, H1N1, etc, you name it.