Are we winning the cancer war?18th December 2009
Professor Karol Sikora, medical director of CancerPartnersUK and Dean of the University of Buckingham Medical School, suggests the war on cancer is being won.
The fantastic feat of the complete DNA sequencing of two different cancers promises great improvements in our ability to cure cancer.
The most promising advances are in our understanding of the cog molecules that make cancer cells tick and that we can now compare the exact DNA sequences of five different cancers from real people. This will allow us to work out what went wrong and have a considerable impact on prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment.
In the near future there will be a shift in the type of agents used in the systemic treatment of cancer, more precisely targeted to the defined abnormalities found in individual patients.
These new therapies will be less toxic and more selective while preventive drugs can be developed too.
But with this comes the problem of funding.
There is already an inequity of access to life-extending drugs such as Sutent for kidney cancer and Avastin for colon cancer. But in future drugs will be more successful and their long term administration very expensive as by 2025 cancer becomes a chronic controllable illness in the same way diabetes is today.
Because prediction is fraught with difficulties, economic analysis of the impact of developments in cancer care is difficult too.
But while more patients will benefit from better diagnosis and newer treatments, this innovation will inevitably bring more inequality to health.
The challenge for future governments is to ensure health equity for all.
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Saturday 26th December 2009 @ 21:14
The dream of the oncology researchers to map out the genome of cancer and develop drugs against the various mutations is a very long term plan. The recent data showing the the genome of major tumor types is very variable and constantly changing has made this an even more difficult objective. The claim that this work is winning the war on cancer is optimism in the extreme. While waiting for all this to lead somewhere you might want to take the simple step of keeping your vitamin D levels up. The data in this area grows by the day. www.vitaminD3world.com has some good summaries of the progress being made in this area
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Title: Are we winning the cancer war?
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 13563
Date Added: 18th Dec 2009