Once again, we have a report of a ‘new’ treatment for pancreatic cancer. In case you didn’t know, pancreatic cancer is reported to be one of the most deadly cancers that one can contract. It is very difficult to diagnose in the early stages because there are no symptoms, and even when they do appear, they are often mistaken for other health problems. To date, there appears to be no reliable diagnostic test to detect it early. It is claimed that the cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown, but the authorities do readily admit that only a small percentage of cases are the result of heredity. They say that it is rare to catch pancreatic cancer in the early stages.
After reviewing an article on this ‘new’ treatment for pancreatic cancer, I couldn’t help analyzing it. In short, this ‘new’ treatment utilizes a ‘pancreatic cancer-specific radio-labeled antibody combined with low-dose gemcitabine chemotherapy’. In plain English, this means that an antibody that has an affinity for pancreatic cancer has a radioactive nuclide chemically attached to it. The antibody then has a higher tendency to attach to the pancreatic cancer cells, and kill them with the radioactivity. To enhance the effect, the gemcitabine is given in a ‘low-dose’ chemotherapy treatment.
As far as the monoclonal antibodies are concerned, there is always a level of nonspecific binding of antibodies to receptor sites. I haven’t researched the level in this study, but I do know this. This just means that some of the radioactively-labeled antibodies will bind to non-cancerous cells throughout the body. FYI, there is no known safe level of radiation exposure.
They report that this method has resulted in about 68% of test subjects experiencing a significant reduction in tumor size. They also report that test subjects had a longer survival rates, reduced pain, and better quality-of-life because of a reduction in side effects when compared to other more conventional cancer treatment methods.
I almost lost it because I thought this was a news article, but it is actually a press release from a producer of monoclonal antibodies, a company called Immunomedics Inc. You can probably already sense that I had a problem with the article. It is understandable that this company would seek to promote this therapy because that is how they make money. Their profits are based on the patents for complex molecules. They cannot patent natural molecules, so that precludes them from earning profits on them. Hence, natural treatments are routinely ignored by Big Pharma.
The major problem I have with these substances is that they are poisons. Gemcitabine was the replacement for fluorouracil as a treatment for pancreatic cancer. Fluorouracil is basically a DNA poison. This means that when it is administered to a patient, it inhibits the synthesis of thymidine in DNA, which means that the cell that is trying to replicate will die. Gemcitabine, which is a DNA poison that replaces cytidine in DNA synthesis, replaced fluorouracil as a treatment about 12 years ago. Both of these treatments are termed antimetabolites because they inhibit the use or production of chemicals that are a part of normal cellular metabolism.
The theory is that faster replicating cells (such as cancer cells) will be more affected than healthy body cells. But the reality is that all cells in the body replicate, so it is just a ‘crap shoot’ to see if cancer cells are killed off faster than body cells. It just doesn’t make sense to me to use poisons as treatments for medical ailments. There HAS to be a better way!