"Husband and father of 3, age 31, high grade spindle cell sarcoma, stage 4 with mets- help! email@example.com or find me (spouse) on fb, Heather Cimino in Fort Myers, Fl, willing to travel anywhere, just save my husband!"
"my wife has tumor that are killing her will you hurry up and get this sorted - is there anyway one can volunteer for a trial firstname.lastname@example.org"
There has got to be a way to address this need.
Yes, there is. Fight for the right of each individual to follow his best judgement in regard to all matters pertaining to his own life. (If someone doesn't know enough to make the call, he knows enough to choose a physician who can.)
Right now, timely experimental treatments are basically outlawed. What good is it to say that there's an FDA procedure to get around the controls if you're treated too late? What right does anyone have to deprive anyone else of what might be their only shot at life?
It can be frustrating, but the rules weren't created in some blind bureaucratic power-grab. They're responses to actual problems that existed in their absence. They aren't without their downsides, but they remain better than the alternative on balance.
The gullible are already getting snake-oil in the form of herbal remedies and homeopathy.
Ben Goldacre's book Bad Pharma details the serious personal and social costs that come with poor drug trials. Everyone urging the abandonment of caution here seems to assume this new drug already works or, at the very least, the effects of its usage could not be worse than the grim prognosis patients already confront. But that's what proper trials are meant to establish. Snake oil can come in pill form, too. And even with the current precautions, we've ended up with a number of ineffective, expensive, and sometimes deadly drugs on the market.
As with the drug war, we drive people into being basically criminals when they're in reality suffering from a medical condition.
So rather than being allowed to experiment with extremely desperate volunteers who could likely one day provide some real EUREKA therapies, we send those folks to the dark side where they're much more likely to spend a great deal of money and be taken advantage of.
That's a huge practical loss, but an even greater ethical loss. At its very core, we are throwing away people's right to choose what to do with their own bodies. Being okay with that ethical tragedy is like being okay with rape or torture for some poorly proven "greater good".
That's not a credible claim. Tell that to either of the two people that left those comments.
Sure, there's risks inherent with experimental drugs, but these people are dying or losing loved ones. They don't give a damn, and none of us has any right to stop them from taking those risks with their own persons. Their bodies are their own, they are not yours.
And frankly, the snake-oil salesman claim strikes me as little more than FUD. People can get recommendations from multiple MDs before making up their minds.
Why is it morally acceptable to have laws intended to help the people that don't care to tell the difference? Those laws come at the expense of those who do care, who take the trouble to figure things out.
Why shouldn't we live in a free society where the best within us can make a difference, and take humanity forward?
Our free society lived with the alternative. And they collectively decided "the right to be defrauded is a false liberty, this is no the way forward, let us try another way."
And you know what? We've moved further forward, faster since these regulations were put into place. When people have trust that they're not being defrauded, they participate in the market to a far higher degree. When companies don't have to compete against charlatans, don't have to balance every dollar of research with a dollar of trying to educate the public about what is and what is not medically sound, they invest far more into their research efforts.
All the drugs that turned out to be dangerous over the last few decades and had to be withdrawn spring easily to mind, but how many people know about the deaths of the people whose heart attacks could have been prevented if the FDA had allowed the first beta blockers at the same time as they came into use in the rest of the developed world? Not many, despite the death toll of the later dwarfing all the former combined.
Or perhaps we've moved further forward, faster in spite of these regulations being put into place.
Honestly, your position sounds like so much FUD to me, and I ultimately reject it because it boils down to this: "The US government has more of a right to determine what Heather Cimino's husband can do with his own body than he does, even should he die."
I'm not arguing for the "right to be defrauded."
(Aside: fraud is a violation of an individual's rights, by definition. Your phrase steals the concept of "rights" - it uses "rights" while simultaneously attempting to deny or undermine the very same concept of "rights.")
We need a government, and strong laws to ensure that fraud and other instances of force [including theft, murder, etc.] are identified objectively adjudicated justly, after it has been shown that someone's rights have been violated.
We shouldn't treat anyone - physicians, patients, businesses, etc. - as guilty before they've acted. That's what regulations do: they are based on the assumption that people are guilty, and that need to be stopped before they act.
I'm for treating everyone as innocent until specifically proven guilty. Why aren't you?
> "We shouldn't treat anyone - physicians, patients, businesses, etc. - as guilty before they've acted. That's what regulations do"
No, they don't. They regulate activities, not people. They're distinct from laws only inasmuch as we recognize that while not just everyone should be allowed to do a thing (say, drive on public roads) some people should be allowed to do those things. So we don't outlaw those activities, we regulate who is and is not allowed to do those things.
Do you believe a law against murder is equivalent to treating everyone as a murderer before they've acted? How is a regulation over who can publicly make medical claims so different? If the law simply said "no-one can make medical claims", the way no-one can yell "fire" in a crowded theatre, would that be pre-judging?
If you actively pursue one of the many methods available to effect change, you can only do so via the same channels that allowed others to set up the status quo. Even securing a constitutional amendment against such laws would just underscore the right and ability of others to pursue their own amendment to overturn yours.
The only way to secure your victory would be to end representative democracy. And of course no other method of government would deliver a guarantee to respect your freedom to make such decisions free from their meddling.
So all that's left is no government.
That would be why I prefer a constitutional republic to a democracy.
Edit: to be more specific, a constitutional republic that pays actual attention to the Tenth Amendment.
Do you see anything in the Constitution that grants the federal government the right to tell me what medications I choose to take?
To reject the power of society to, by following constitutionally-specified methods, give government this power is to reject self-government.
The best snake oil salesmen believe in their products. There are already exceptions for allowing people to take highly experimental procedures when there likely to die without them. However, there are plenty of cases where highly trained well meaning doctors caused massive suffering without benefit to their direct patents.
As a recent example of fringe medicine, a few athletes have injected themselves with stem cells. Not to mention the modern version of doping which often involves substances that are known to be harmful or medicine has little idea what the long term effects are.
However, there are plenty of cases where highly trained well meaning doctors caused massive suffering without benefit to their direct patents.
No one is omniscient. The ideal in medicine can't be something impossible (i.e., medicine that cures all ills and everyone, and never has any risks or side effects). No one knows how to do that (now and for the foreseeable future), and we shouldn't deny people the best chance they have at life to chase an impossibility.
Yes, that's the point of peer review.
The implicit idea behind peer review can be summed up like this: "This is what I think about this work. (I have credentials X, Y, and Z, and I've published this stuff you many have heard of.) What I have to say is just another thing for you to consider. Take it or leave it."
I'm sure you mean well, but this type of thinking really bothers me.
For example, many of us here on HN, possess the critical reasoning skills to determine snake oil from a credible research lab. Given that there are almost no practicing oncologists present, we'd all likely qualify as lay people.
However the central issue is a medical doctor is not even qualified enough to choose, due to malpractice liability. On top of that even a specialist can find difficulty prescribing experimental treatment lawfully, unless it's part of an FDA trial. This is in addition to the incentives drug companies push. 
I speak from first hand experience dealing with Psoriatic Arthritis and establishment CYA (cover your ass) thinking. After spending $1000+ per month on Anti-TNF blockers , I'm doing just fine on lifestyle changes and have seen no disease progression after 3 years of being off meds. I wouldn't bother mentioning it if it weren't for the thousands of credible patient stories that point to fixing what we eat as a means to being healthy. Yet the paradigm for the last 30 years is one of treatment, not prevention.
Guess which makes more money for Pfizer, GSK etc? Hint: it's not vaccines (prevention). Chronic treatment (autoimmune, psych drugs, cvd etc) are dominating the top 10 sales charts. 
I would feel incredibly angry and upset if myself or someone close to me, were in a position to try an experimental cancer treatment, but were unable to, because of regulatory snakes and ladders.
I'm not saying the FDA is useless or provides no public benefit, but I would question the wisdom behind entrusting authority of one's life, to a single decision making body.
The fact that you think critical reasoning can help discriminate between a quack and someone selling real medicine indicates you don't have the ability to make that distinction.
The truth is, no one does. It takes a process with many checks, and even then snake oil makes it through.
Hell, the same people who make real medicine can have a lapse of judgment and make phony medicine. No one could tell, even their peers, without verifying the experiments performed.
It's not a far-fetched scenario. Prominent researchers fall from grace several times a year. Multinational drug companies sell medicines that perform worse than placebos.
What utter nonsense. If someone presented you with a homeopathic dropper  saying it would cure cancer vs a new gold nanoparticle experimental therapy , "no one" would be able to tell the difference?
While the new treatment may turn out to have issues (no one was suggesting experiments were risk free), to imply it's indistinguishable from quackery, is false.
Ah, how did we miss such an obvious fact! Of course we computer scientists are naturally smarter than all the other laypeople.
I tend to dislike elitist thinking (or though I'm still guilty of it at times), not for moral reasons, but simply because empiricism, in my admittedly subjective opinion, is routinely lauded over common sense in nerdy communities (HN, slashdot, SO etc), and is often a form of bias. Having a bias doesn't mean one is wrong necessarily, but it can be problematic too, especially if one lacks cognizance of said bias.
For example, my gf is the furthest thing from a computer scientist, but is routinely more observant socially and can spot bullshitting better than I in certain contexts (among other superior cognitive skills).
However in the past I've tried to pick too many battles in one post, and that makes it difficult for someone to upvote, as they may agree with some, or one point, but not another and creates a mixed cognitive dissonance. Hence I didn't want to launch into a large foray of intellectual elitism.
Hence the aim was, for the most part was to try to leave epistemological disputes (how do we know what we know, who knows what etc, do all groups have equally justified beliefs?), out of the debate and focus on the regulatory side of things and empowering the individual to be allowed follow their own life and death decisions.
That said, perhaps I could have left the opening paragraph off altogether in retrospect.
So because some people will be duped, let's doom everyone to death.
Unfortunately that is demonstrably not the case. There are many qualified, experienced, doctors who are happy to peddle nonsense. Even limiting yourself to conventional medicine it's hard to tell the effective medication from the less effective medication.
> What right does anyone have to deprive anyone else of what might be their only shot at life?
What right does anyone have to manipulate desperate dying people out of vast amounts of money on unregulated, useless, gambling?
I'd agree if you're suggesting that people should be able to volunteer for trials - but double blinding means they may not be getting the experimental treatment.
This already happens. I don't really see how allowing dying people to access experimental procedures is any worse than allowing dying people to pay for crystals, and "charged" water.
I think I've changed my mind slightly. So long as people are properly informed - with very easy to understand information - I guess I'd let them access random experimental meds. I'd prefer that to be part of a rigorous study.
Yes, it sucks for the people who won't survive until the drug reaches the market, but the overall outcome for society is better.
Also, at the end of the day, taxpayer money is used to pay for most EOL care. The taxpayers have a vested interest in not exposing dying people to expensive and unproven treatments which could make their conditions even worse.
Morally speaking, the judgement of a patient (and the physician he has chosen) must not be impeded even for an instant. The FDA renders individual judgement on these matters irrelevant, and the result is often death and slowed medical progress.
Edit: perhaps a set of crowd-sourced, extremely explicit instructions about how to manufacture, purify, and test such antibodies would be a start. With such a set of instructions, they might be able to find experts to help them under the table.
Even theft isn't an option here, unless you're somehow certain that a particular lab has exactly the right antibody. (In my lab, we often have trouble keeping track of that for ourselves...)
And don't forget that you need to be able to maintain sterile conditions, and have whatever other reagents you need to dilute things, etc.
Of course, to get CD47 depletion, you'd probably want an antibody that isn't conjugated (functional grade):
Also, some more help on the terminology: CD47 (and most, if not all molecules that fall under the Cluster of Differention [CD] nomenclature) vary on a per-species basis. So an antibody that targets CD47 in mice is not going to stick to human CD47. "Anti-" in this context means that the antibody in question will stick to specific molecule in the species that comes after the "anti-".
Note what it says on the bottom of the page. That's there because of regulations.
In brief: you will hurt people doing this and achieve nothing.
Cancer research is too important to use misleading, link bait headlines to attract attention.
Nothing more useful to add to this comment. Sorry
This is the original article: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/17/6662
You can actually get the antibody yourself, FTA: "The anti-hCD47 (B6H12) hybridoma was obtained from the ATCC" [http://www.lgcstandards-atcc.org/Products/All/HB-9771.aspx]
Purifying it is easy, if you have a lab.
However... you can't use that antibody directly in humans, since it is a mouse antibody, which the human immune system will recognize as foreign. So, even if this treatment were to work, it is necessary is to first "humanize" the antibody so it won't be rejected, and then you can see what effect you get in a clinical trial. I imagine this is what the $20mil funding is for.
You can find clinical trials for new drugs here:
May this be another 'lost' case, appeared once and never again?
That's great -- does anyone know if any other cells in the body express CD47? Especially ones that can't be replaced so easily?
That's why fighting it is so difficult. I highly doubt there ever can be one chemical substance that reliably fights all sorts of cancer.
And you can't really cure cancer anyway.
Our only hope at this point is genetic engineering.
Also, I believe there is an organization that helps cancer victims by arranging travels outside of USA for innovative treatments, LEF can refer you to them.