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In clicking on the link today, I saw this story highlighted from the NY Times:
"Despite promising discoveries and multibillion-dollar investments, cancer research is quietly undergoing a crisis. Few drugs are being marketed, and most of those that have been introduced are enormously expensive and provide few of the benefits that patients expect. Officials of the Food and Drug Administration suggest that the failures may result from an obsolete testing system.â€?
Any adult with half a brain could have, and probably already has, arrived at the same conclusion. We are in a scientific quagmire of our own design.
"Although every field has suffered, cancer has had the greatest chasm between hope and reality. One in 20 prospective cancer cures used in human tests reaches the market, the worst record of any medical category. Among those that gained approval in the last 20 years, fewer than one in five have been shown to extend lives, life extensions usually measured in weeks or months, not years.â€?
"True cancer cures are still exceptionally rare. Medicines have been approved for colorectal cancer. Patients who take every one of the high-tech drugs has to spend, on average, $250,000, suffer serious side effects and gain, on average, months of life, according to studies.â€?
Here's another interesting fact: There has not been a significant new development in antibiotic therapy in over two decades, yet we have probably over twenty different drugs that your doctor can prescribe to lower your cholesterol.
Ever wonder why?
Well, it is simple math. Getting a pharmaceutical house interested in researching a drug that people take for a week is less likely to excite the in-house accountants than a drug that people take for the rest of their lives.
Add to that the increasing drug resistance seen to virtually all antibiotics and we have a formula for disaster. Thirty years ago, I remember Dr. Bastyr turning to me during a clinic shift and muttering that '"these things are not going to work forever" after we had examined a child who was on his seventh different antibiotic for a slew of ear infections.
In my early years of practice, I worked with Dr. Jules Harran, an archetypical kindly Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood MD, who often regaled me with stories of his medical years in the army during World War II. Dr. Jules was fond of recounting how 10,000 units of penicillin would completely erradicate a case of venereal disease back then, compared to the often ineffectual doses of over several million units used nowadays.
Natural product research? Forget about it. Going nowhere. As one Drug Company researcher told me in a blunt aside during a conference at which we both were presenting: "We're not interesting in things people can grow on their window boxes.â€?
The harsh reality is that in current day dynamics, doctors prescribe drugs developed by the pharmaceutical interests based upon sophisticated market analysis, and which have their path to market cleared by pharmaceutical insiders that flit back and forth between jobs at the drug companies, academia and the federal regulatory agencies. This is then parsed to the insurance interests, who bestow further scientific credibility by agreeing to pay for the whole thing.
Reminds me of a quote from the famous English artist William Hogarth:
"The sad thing about the ancient physicians is that they attempted to make medicine an art and failed; but the even sadder thing about our modern physicians is that they have attempted to make medicine a business, and have apparently succeeded."
Received my complementary copy of the Textbook Of Natural Medicine edited by my friend and mentor, Dr.Joseph Pizzorno. It was a real treat to see how well the new chapter on the Non Transfusion Significance of Blood Type (that I authored for this new edition of the Textbook) looks on real paper. I'm very happy with the information, which is clear and up to date. As far as I know the only new information on blood types that did not make this article was the association reported between blood types and p-glycoprotein that I had written about in an earlier blog. If you work with natural medicines, or just want the most authoritative reference work on the subject, you'll probably want to invest in a copy of the Textbook.
Hey, today is the winter solstice, first day of winter, at least for all of us on the upper half of the planet. Enjoy the next few days, in whatever manner works for you!
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