A fascinating article on cancer, its treatments and how scientists and doctors must change to be more effective in curing the disease
Cancer cells are basically broken says Sid Mukhergee MD in a recent NY Times article. The pace of research and the willingness to try treatments that are often avoided are interrelated, since according to Dr. Mukhergee, the lack of a pioneering spirit in trying different things has made improvements in cancer treatment very slow and unhelpful.
Years ago, doctors would try methods that might seem dangerous, with drugs not meant for certain usages, and find that patient would be helped by unorthodox regimens. The doctor believes that without a willingness for improvise, cancer diagnosis and treatment will take for ever to improve, as we have seen over the past 50 years.
In the article, he explains why cancer forms, what tumors are, and what metastasis is, and the different approaches that are taken to disturb the pathways allowing the damaged cells to grow uncontrollably. Newer treatments now being developed are using the immune system to attack those cells, but other approaches may actually be helpful in combination with these genetic approaches now being developed to improve the overall outcomes of any treatment.
Check out this fascinating article in the NY Times
The Improvisational Oncologist
In an era of rapidly proliferating, precisely targeted
treatments, every cancer case has to be played by ear.
By SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE MAY 12, 2016
The bone-marrow biopsy took about 20 minutes. It was 10 o”™clock on an unusually chilly morning in New York in April, and Donna M., a self-possessed 78-year-old woman, had flown in from Chicago to see me in my office at Columbia University Medical Center. She had treated herself to orchestra seats for “œThe Humans” the night before, and was now waiting in the room as no one should be asked to wait: pants down, spine curled, knees lifted to her chest “” a grown woman curled like a fetus. I snapped on sterile gloves while the nurse pulled out a bar cart containing a steel needle the length of an index finger. The rim of Donna”™s pelvic bone was numbed with a pulse of anesthetic, and I drove the needle, as gently as I could, into the outer furl of bone. A corkscrew of pain spiraled through her body as the marrow was pulled, and then a few milliliters of red, bone-flecked sludge filled the syringe. It was slightly viscous, halfway between liquid and gel, like the crushed pulp of an overripe strawberry.