I found an article that speaks about the use of internet searches to find and correlate data from various online databases that may offer help in finding new treatments for cancer. The title of the paper is The Power of the Web in Cancer Drug Discovery and Clinical Trial Design: Research without a Laboratory? The article caught my attention, and appears to have good information for use by medical professionals. But as you probably already suspect, I have a few concerns with it.
Although it is a good idea to use the internet to find new treatments for cancer, the authors of the article give away their bias right in the title. They speak of the power of the web in cancer drug discovery. The assumption here is that the only treatment that has any chance of working is a cancer drug. Just because a substance is a drug does not mean that it is not a chemical, nor does it mean that it is prohibited from having a positive and/or curative effect on cancer. So right from the title of the article, we are to believe that the only substances that can offer help to cancer patients is a drug. This is an incredibly large bias on the part of the authors.
One of the reasons why the authors wrote the article is because of the exorbitant cost to bring a pharmaceutical drug through the rigorous FDA approval process. It requires approximately $1 billion. This is a prototypical ‘barrier of entry’ to anyone who would hope to introduce a treatment to the market as a drug. This effectively makes it impossible for someone outside of the medical establishment to bring any treatment to the market.
It also means that any treatment that is not expensive to the end consumer (i.e., the cancer patient) will not have enough profit potential to interest a pharmaceutical company. This guarantees that any cancer drug or treatment MUST be expensive enough so that the pharmaceutical company will be able to pay the $1 billion cost to pass the FDA process AND THEN generate hundreds of millions of dollars of profit thereafter. This is a tall order. Natural substances, which cannot be patented and sold exclusively for profits, do not have these market characteristics. Cheap substances that are readily available or have a low cost are not suitable to this approach either.
This is why pharmaceutical companies are not interested in anything outside of drugs, gene therapies, expensive procedures, expensive complex machines, and anything else that guarantees that they can earn large amounts of money. Any treatment that is ‘do-it-yourself’, cheap, effective, natural, non-poisonous, readily available, or non-patentable is not suitable for their purposes. The goal of the corporation is to earn profits for the owners (i.e., the shareholders). Any other considerations (despite attestations to the contrary) are strictly secondary. If you want treatments with properties above, you will have to find them yourself, or from people outside of the medical establishment.