The “war on cancer” has been around since the National Cancer Act was passed in 1971.  40+ years.  It has been estimated that over $200 billion has been spent on research to “find a cure.”  But will we ever find a cure for cancer?

The rates of most cancers have increased at possibly leveled off.  Few cancers have truly declined in the past 40 years.  If they have, the drops have been insignificant.  Overall, this really makes it look like we will never find a cure for the vast majority of cancers.  Sure, we have very toxic “cures” that have good success rates for certain cancers.  This particular news story from a former research scientist at Amgen really puts our wasted money into perspective.

Dr. Begley, in a commentary published in the journal Nature, made multiple points in regards to cancer research:

  1. His team looked at 53 “landmark” publications — papers in top journals, from reputable labs and found that 47 of the 53 could not be replicated.
  2. The war on cancer’s failure may a new culprit: too many basic scientific discoveries, done in animals or cells growing in lab dishes, are wrong.
  3. At Bayer, of 47 cancer projects at Bayer during 2011, less than one-quarter could reproduce previously reported findings, despite the efforts of three or four scientists working full time for up to a year.
  4. The National Academy of Sciences has heard testimony that the number of scientific papers that had to be retracted increased more than tenfold over the last decade; the number of journal articles published rose only 44 percent.

So basically, we are spending uncountable billions of dollars on basic cancer research to determine a path to a new drug, and the bulk of this research may be worthless.  While this may sound a little hard to believe, how many true “wonder cancer drugs” have been produced in the past 40 years?  Certainly Gleevec for leukemia and Herceptin for breast cancer are on the list, but very few others come to mind.

As I also say, what if these billions of dollars went to educating on cancer prevention?  On funding to help low income families grow or by healthier food options?  This kind of money geared towards prevention could, without a doubt, pay much higher dividends that what we’ve seen over the past 40 years of cancer research.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.