Mortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 3874 posts, RR: 1 Posted (11 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 2008 times:
New radioactive medicine kills cancer
A groundbreaking Norwegian Medicine have for the first time applied radioactive alpha rays to kill cancer that has spread to the bones in prostate cancer patients. The drugs were recently approved in the United States.
The world's first
In 1993 nuclear chemist Roy H. Larsen and Professor Øyvind S. Bruland discovered that a certain type of radium, isotope radium 223, which gave off so-called alpha rays, could actually be used against cancer that had spread, without harming the patient.
Having taken 20 years
In May this year, 20 years and a billion Norwegian kroner development afterwards, came the breakthrough. Approval of the first medicine based on the alpha rays.
pu From Sweden, joined Dec 2011, 695 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1742 times:
It is hard to tell how to quantify this; a real breakthrough or more like another tool in the arsenal?
Just to add much-needed controversy to this topic I will submit that we should be spending less on how to live longer and more on how to live better. Most of the world dies too early from things we solved fifty years ago or from starvation. Once we get everyone on the planet to a reasonable health standard then we can resume figuring out complicated technologies like this which may allow Europeans and Americans to live into their 90s according to their life expectancy at birth.
comorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1664 times:
Not to be a Debbie Downer but killing cancer cells, alas, is not the same as curing the disease. We already have a whole array of radiological weapons that kill cells (I-131 comes to mind for Thyroid Cancer) but this mostly extends life by a few years once the cancer has metastasized. I say this not as an expert but as someone whose family was affected.
francoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3741 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1642 times:
Quoting pu (Reply 1): Most of the world dies too early from things we solved fifty years ago or from starvation. Once we get everyone on the planet to a reasonable health standard then we can resume figuring out complicated technologies like this which may allow Europeans and Americans to live into their 90s according to their life expectancy at birth.
It is remarkable that cancer is still seen as an old man's disease, that should not be given any more importance than treating senility or incontinence.
Cancer is affecting an increasingly younger fraction of the population, very often destroying entire families by preventing the provider to work, before eventually killing him/her, leaving parentless children and financially critical families. It is one of the hardest challenges one can face in his life.
So, yeah, fair enough if that happens to you at 90. You can pretty much blame old age there. Alas, it is increasingly not the case anymore.
Cancer is the disease of the century, and no one is safe from it. Its prevalence will keep increasing, and the average vicitm's age will keep decreasing.
So when I hear that untold billions are spend in dubious military programs or 'counter terrorism intelligence gathering', subsidizing rich farmers, bailing out crooked banks, etc. I get a little sad that cancer research is still a very fragmented, haphazard and underfunded effort, often through charity only...
As much as I love the CERN and the LHC, for instance, I do get somewhat heavyhearted when no such funding is given to cancer research. Europe is particularly lacking behind North America when it comes to per capita funding for cancer research.
The problem, unfortunately, is that it is one of these thing that only concerns you when you're affected by it. And then it's too little, too late...
Fact is, more than 10% of cancers happen in individuals less than 45, almost half happen in individuals less than 65.
Just being alive grants you a 40% probability of developing cancer at some stage, and about 20% chance of dying of it.
Let's raise awareness. Cancer is the disease of the century.
Quoting comorin (Reply 3): Not to be a Debbie Downer but killing cancer cells, alas, is not the same as curing the disease. We already have a whole array of radiological weapons that kill cells (I-131 comes to mind for Thyroid Cancer) but this mostly extends life by a few years once the cancer has metastasized.
It is true that most treatments merely increase your life expectancy. There is no such thing as being 'cured' from cancer. However, targeted therapies, like the I131 example you gave, give excellent results and an almost normal life expectancy average to patients.
There are rays of hope in this field, such as personalized gene therapies, vaccines, molecular targeted therapies...
The problem being that the fractional approach to research leads to several small advances in these therapies rather than major breakthroughs.
Before all, of course, the best way to treat cancer is to get diagnosed early.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...