There are a couple of additional articles in the cancer feature of The Scientist that should be of interest to FI Space.
One is called, “Into the Future.” Interestingly, there is no unified vision presented of the course that more effective cancer diagnosis and treatment will take. Some scientists cited see more “personalized medicine” with more tumor profiling, refined biomarkers, or treatment regimens that evolve with tumor changes during the course of the disease–sort of a more accurate rifle-shot approach. Others see less specificity or drugs with more “floppiness”–the ability of drugs to be more versatile in binding with alternative cell target sites. Still others pin their hopes on ever more powerful computational approaches to figuring out proteins, pathways and effective drugs.
The upshot of the discussion, however, seems to be in the article’s concluding quote:
Whatever treatments the long term may hold, (Charles) Nicolette speaks for many researchers in foreseeing that cancer will not be vanquished over the short term. “Certainly, there will be no slowdown in efforts to effect cures, but I think the way we’re heading is toward cancer as a manageable, chronic disease.”
The second article is entitled, “The 21st Century War on Cancer.” It recaps the history and politics of Nixon’s War on Cancer and concomitant cancer funding controversies. It quotes familiar participants in events such as Vince DiVita, John Bailar, Bruce Ames, and, from my neighborhood, Diane Feinstein. The conclusion seems to be that the war to beat cancer and the war of words about how to do it–started in the 20th century–will continue well into the 21st.