Do we have the wrong type of scientists trying to cure cancer?
A NY Times article suggest that computer scientists may well be the right people to cure cancer. Read the article here
I have often said to patients that there are businesses that thrive on cancer and if they ever truly cured it, they would disappear. Sloan Kettering cancer center comes to mind because even though they are known for groundbreaking treatments and science, that science is within a limited paradigm that uses horrible convoluted treatments to treat the cancer with mixed outcomes.
What if computer algorithms could lower the cost of gene mapping for individual cancers, similar to what Steve Jobs spoke about in his authorized biography. If you have not read the book or at least listened to it on CD’s in your car, you should. He was a remarkable visionary who realized that the disjointed care he was receiving was costly and inefficient and not well coordinated. He personally reworked the way his care was done and had them gene map the cancer to focus the right drugs at his tumors. Unfortunately, for him, even though his approach was more effective (see my earlier post on what if Steve Jobs reformed healthcare which came out before his book), he was too late in the disease to beat it.
The problem is the process, as Steve Jobs discovered. While the article in the NY times explores genome mapping different cancers, the assertion that there is a common link to all of them still lingers in my brain. What is the ultimate trigger. Perhaps, this is where we need to go.
Using the idea of computer scientists figuring this out is a great one. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. This seems to be the problem with our current thinking on cancer which is mostly about damaging the entire body to kill a tumor (s). What if we could scientifically figure out the commonality using multiple people who have been gene mapped, which is going to be more practical with computers reducing the cost and then comparing the data and finding the link, again with computers.
A while ago I heard of a health problem being solved by video gamers. There is a totally out of the box idea that may just work, since they are addicted to the game and killing the entity that is trying to take them out.
Finding the missing link would be bad for Sloan Kettering, and may even come back to what we eat or something we have in our diets. We need to be open to all ideas to solve the problem. Again, I love the idea of computer scientists working on a solution to a problem in the body. I hope this idea grows some serious legs.
What to you think? As always, I value your opinions.