Hype the hype: The New York Times on “curing cancer”

Radiation always hits the target

I stumbled on this link on the interweb and somehow got the access to their archives (don’t ask me how but it involves browser addons, some ad blocking and toggling off inline scripts behind a VPN 🙂

Hype the hype is a classical tactic used by the universities and “researchers” for grants. The process is so convoluted that I am calling it out specifically because it unnecessarily raises the hope for those affected. A “superstar” scientist with “hundreds” of “citations” (never mind the ever greening of publications), usually get away with this fraud. I am not specifically naming names, but if you read this through, it would become apparent. It is more than a filler and NYT has long perfected the art of mixing a press release with a wrap around weave of a “scientific article”. The clues are so subtle that it requires a considerable cynicism to unwrap the context.

This NYT write up is from 1998. Yep; over two decades and the anti-angiogenesis drugs are nowhere to be seen; unless you assume that progression free survival rates matter to someone. (Hint: They don’t except to those with perverted incentives).

Within a year, if all goes well, the first cancer patient will be injected with two new drugs that can eradicate any type of cancer, with no obvious side effects and no drug resistance — in mice.Some cancer researchers say the drugs are the most exciting treatment that they have ever seen. But then they temper their enthusiasm with caution, noting that the history of cancer treatments is full of high expectations followed by dashed hopes when drugs with remarkable effects in animals are tested in people.Still, the National Cancer Institute has made the drugs its top priority, said Dr. Richard D. Klausner, the director. Dr. Klausner called them ”the single most exciting thing on the horizon” for the treatment of cancer.

HOPE IN THE LAB: A special report.; A Cautious Awe Greets Drugs That Eradicate Tumors in Mice – The New York Times

I am not here to dispute an established old guard and a structure but genuine voices get sidelined. I had made a grant proposal of hypoxia (I couldn’t make through the University’s selection process) but I realised its value more than the “drugs”. Radiation Therapy is a far better option (better defined, a predictable response and known effects) but requires a deeper quantitative validation and hence the research dollars need to push towards a “realisable” benefit that would have a more profound outcomes. They have refined hypoxia targeting through other means in the clinic but drugs still merit “cautious optimism”. Oh well, it is not the “cure” here.