The Daily Mail, in its rather sad “two sensational-health-scares plus two sensational-advances (and all for women mostly) per week per front page” editorial policy, trumpeted today;
“The mouse that can’t get cancer”.
I object to this popularly-journalized demonization of cancer – not because it’s an often painful and sometimes currently incurable condition – but because news about our progess towards its being made nugatory, such as with colds and flu for instance, has fallen into the hands of those who drive popular culture and popular-use-of-popular-media.
Molecular biophysicists have known for some years that there are genes which act, sort of like a “dead-man’s handle”, in cells which become what we call “neoplastic”; that is to say, cancerous. these cells have “lost” the ability to respond to ordinary chemical signals from their host body, telling them all the while “don’t divide”. So? They divide. Then they do it again…..and again, and again, and again, and…… the result is? Cancer. Some genes exist in multicellular organisms exactly to respond to this scenario, and they shut down any such cell line. Sometimes, tragically, these genes can become broken, in the course of many many cell replications in one’s life. (That’s why cancers are often conditions of middle or old age.)
But “The mouse that can’t get cancer” is I think a premature stab for us at some confidence in the future. Let’s not get too excited in England in 2007….for…………
Gordon Brown still wants you to die painfully, for a few decades more, like his political forebears still rationed foods and petrol and clothes (even CLOTHES for f***’s sake?) for years after the War. After all, if such was available on the NHS, then rich-people would queue up for it first, and we can’t have that.
There is no doubt that Man will beat cancer generally and in detail. It may even happen in our lifetimes. But there is also no doubt that, as soon as such treatment whatever becomes available, it will “not be available on the NHS in England”. Probably in Scotland. Most probably in Poland too.
A freer market in university research in the USA has brought this new insight about. isn’t it interestingly tragic that a thingy called “NICE” (the national institute for clinical excellence) often forbids stuff automatically to England, which is permitted to be “funded” elsewhere. Well, there’s socialism for you.