Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Someone needs to find 100% cure against this deadly disease. So much money is spent on cancer research every year and what are the results..almost zero.



Wrong, stop, I can personally name forty people working on it right now. Cancer is not a single thing, and progress is made on every front, every day.


I won't challenge you for their names, but if so many people are working on the issue, why don't we see any progress?

Sure we have 30 ways to cure cancer in rats, but the best we can do for humans is either to poison them with chemicals (some of them radioactive, no less) or laser beams that are only slightly less likely to kill normal cells than cancer cells.

Meanwhile we throw a fortune at the problem and throw a fortune at ever more expensive treatments -- for what?

The only recent success I know of is against prostate cancer but that was only because some ex-con got rich and started to found actual, aggressive, of the beaten path research - and that is still not a cure and only against one form of cancer.

So since you know these people, what do they need to get some useful research out there? Money and fame upon success is a given (Jonas Salk comes to mind) but what stops them?


There have been huge advances in, for one, breast cancer treatment over the last 15-20 years.

When you say "for what?" I can only point to the aggressive variant of BC my wife was diagnosed with 3 years ago. A death sentence literally a few years ago, she is now recovered and has good prospects for a long and productive life.

This is only possible because of the "fortune" of research thrown at her particular form of cancer in recent years; but it goes deeper than that. Because of the expense of the (relatively new) treatment and limited history of efficacy/results, her specialist had to personally argue the case for her to receive the treatment with our local health authority (I am in the UK btw so perhaps this is different to the US).

As more women (hopefully) successfully recover with the use of this treatment, resistance to spend on research will hopefully fade in the face of such positive results.

From the brightest cancer researchers in the world down to the people working in your local chemotherapy unit, progress is being made at a better rate than ever before. It's just very hard work, and I don't think money and fame really come into it - there are easier ways to achieve that:)


No. Just, no. The progress is freaking immense. Childhood leukemia used to be a death sentence - now? 95% survival. That's just one. My stepdad just got cured of prostate cancer, and no, not with weird-ass stuff either. Incremental progress. I've got a cousin who's surviving breast cancer.

Cancer is way, way weirder than anybody thought. It's not a single-bullet thing. Cancer actually evolves right inside you, for one thing. They can actually chart the genome of different parts of the tumor and trace the cell lineages. So any one drug has different effectiveness against different parts of the cancer.

So there's been slow, steady progress over the last couple of decades, and survival rates are way better than they used to be - and just getting better. But "treating cancer" is kind of like "treating viruses" - you need a whole array of techniques. And we're building that array. Nothing's stopping anybody.


Results are not almost zero. Cancers that were once a death sentence before are now an inconvenience. Even though Roger Ebert ultimately died because of cancer, his life was extended at least a decade entirely because of treatments. This is progress.

The term "cancer survivor" didn't even exist prior to modern research.


As it turns out, fighting cancer is hard. Really, really fucking hard. "We have met the enemy and he is us." Or rather our own cells, mutated through a million different gene changes with a million different causes. Progress is being made every day; it only seems like nothing compared to the massive multidimensional scope of the problem.


I am not quite sure that makes sense - polio is was pretty complex too and yet there weren't that many years between the early attemps by Maurice Brodie (36) and Jonas Salks success (52).


Polio for all it's complexity has one root cause, a viral infection. The poliovirus was first isolated in 1909, by which time the concept of vaccination was relatively well understood. It still took decades to get a working safe vaccine, after root cause, and generalized course of action were known.

Cancer as a whole has none of those characteristics.


I just read "The Emperor of All Maladies", an absolutely great book about cancer, the history of cancer discovery and history of cancer treatment. It goes into a lot of detail about exactly what progress is being made, why it is so hard, and what is on the horizon.

After reading it, I came away with the impression that the scientific fight against cancer is 50-60 years, but only the last 20 years has been very fruitful. Prior to that the treatments that worked were found largely through trial and error.


Seriously -- My mother died when I was 2, 24 years ago. The type of cancer she had took her quickly -- however, today, the available treatments would have likely given her a relatively normal life.

Back then there was nothing. No one knew really what to do with her particular type. It was all a gamble with a lot of "Go to Mexico to try some experimental treatments"


I know a lot of people (including my grandmother) that extended their lifespan significantly thanks to cancer research.

It's still far from perfect - my grandmother ultimately died from cancer-related complications, but she got a 10-year extension on life, I'd say it has advanced.


A "cure for cancer" is roughly the equivalent to saying "a cure for disease". Ph.D Comics did a great piece on this a few years back.

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1162


When I was a kid - childhood leukemia - pretty much a death sentence.

Now - 5 year+ survival rates are well above 80%.

Long, long, way from zero.


Cancer is about two hundred diseases, at least. It's a case of undesirable evolution: cells evolve toward radical individual fitness at the expense of the organism. The body has ways of protecting against that, but the most "fit" cancer cells can sometimes overcome those. It's an ongoing arms race. This selection phenomenon (clonal evolution) similar to anti-biotic resistance is what makes it so hard to treat.

This is one reason why I have little patience for creationists. One of the most important problems (curing cancer) is an issue directly involving evolution (at the cellular level).

The cancer research is returning a lot of yield, but this is just a very hard problem. The body has about 10 trillion cells. Some are good, some are bad. The bad ones become increasingly able to survive treatments due to clonal evolution. The good ones die as well, because these are systemic treatments (highly powerful drugs) that interfere with cell reproduction. You have to kill all the bad ones, or the cancer will probably return. If you kill too many good ones, the patient dies a horrible death that's much worse than a regular cancer death. It's not easy to do.

It's just a fucking hard problem. We should be putting 10-20 times as much money into it. How many things are more important than fighting cancer? Not these fucking social media startups.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: