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article imageOp-Ed: World first — Trial ‘reverses’ cancer, restores cells to normal

By Paul Wallis     Sep 11, 2014 in Health
Melbourne - In what researchers are describing as a “serendipitous” discovery, use of an anti-malarial drug has effectively reversed a cancer in fruit fly tests, restoring the cells to normal function. Yes, this is a very big deal.
The research also identified a mechanism of mutation indicating a parallel between the survival of malarial parasites in the body and carcinomas.
ABC Australia reports that University of Melbourne researchers were studying a mutation of a protein which regulates cell shape. This mutation effectively “deregulates” communication between affected cells and the body.
The subsequent carcinoma, in the eye of a fruit fly, was treated with chloroquine, a common anti-malarial drug, which “restored the eye to normal”. Please note that the eye of a fruit fly is a particularly complex, multifaceted organ related to a significant neural system, so restoring function is no minor achievement.
This finding opens up a range of possibilities for human trials. Chloroquine is known to be safe for humans, so there are none of the usual checks and tests required prior to human testing of new drugs.
For those wondering, no, an actual reversal of a cancer hasn’t been recorded before, to my knowledge. It’s debatable if the possibility of reversal has even been seriously discussed, much beyond the purely theoretical, what-if stage.
“Reversal” in this form also effectively means countering the initial mutation, which implies that the entire process of cancer development can be corrected and returned to normal health. That’s good news for those to whom the world “relapse” is a curse.
The new discovery may also cure another problem for patients and the medical profession- The huge costs and difficulties of current treatments. Associate professor and researcher Helena Richardson describes chemotherapy as a “blunt instrument”, a description which few would dispute, and it’s a very tough regime for very sick people.
A reversal process obviates the need for massive medical infrastructure, complex pharmaceuticals, and ever-more bizarre costs, which are doing doctors and patients no favors in terms of accessibility or the realities of treatment. This drug could be delivered anywhere in the body, safely and quickly, without the need for traumatic treatments and years of suffering.
Again the same question - When do the new treatments become available?
It’s a sorry tale to have to add to this article in the light of such a major discovery, but it has to be mentioned, again - Successful research is no guarantee of fast action for availability to sufferers.
The issue of availability of fast, simple treatment of cancers yet again has to be raised.
This is one of a steadily increasing range of new discoveries which are un-invasive or minimally invasive, successfully treating cancers. Methods include growth inhibition hormones, sugar starvation, and immune system rebooting methods. Trials have shown some spectacular breakthroughs- And nothing much seems to be happening in the market.
These are just a few of the research achievements in this field I’ve covered on DJ in the last 7 years or so:
It's real — Gene prevents cancer, aids slimming and fights aging
Epigenetics – Possible “off switch” for diseases
Strangling cancer
Stopping the spread of cancer: New protein and method found
These new findings, using new methodologies and new approaches have been arriving regularly, like trains, for years. They don’t seem to be finding their way on to the market.
The question remains- When do these methods become available to the public?
Researchers are achieving wonders on a routine basis, but the commercial market seems to be dragging the chain on introduction. Promising research is typically followed by a “mumbling period” of years of further testing and non-availability.
The experimental testing phase for successful treatments can’t last indefinitely. If it’s unkind to suggest that a few suits are blocking introduction of treatments, it’s a lot more unkind for corporations to inflict years of unnecessary trauma on patients for spurious reasons like patents, prices, etc.
Does anyone really need to be forced to release new treatment methods? Given the chronic, abysmal, mismanagement of public health in the last 20 years, nobody would be too surprised.
Public trust in Big Pharma is zero or less, and Western governments are simply ridiculous in terms of managing major public health issues on any level.
My advice to researchers would be to ensure that fast-tracking availability should be the core subject of commercialization. Obviously, the benefits of new treatments and new options should be getting on the market ASAP. You’re the only people who can make sure they are.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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