Can cancer be cured in five years?

The mainstream media has been all over a new announcement from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas (the largest cancer center in the country). They have pledged to significantly reduce the number of deaths from eight different types of cancer in just the next decade.

Let’s hope their efforts are more effective than those of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the rest of the country over the last 50 years.

Researchers have been confidently predicting for years that cures for cancer are just around the corner. But the actual results of the last 50 years have been disappointing (see also “Can Joe Biden Cure Cancer).

While they may have identified more “biomarkers” for the early detection of cancer…in the end, early detection may only cause more harm than good. And while they’ve found some ways to treat some rare cancers effectively, little has been done for the majority of common cancers. And even efforts to find ways to prevent cancer are often focused on the wrong risk factors, or ignore other important research findings or facts of human biology.

But MD Anderson is finally stressing one important insight. One that my brilliant colleagues at the National Cancer Institute’s Laboratory of Cancer Biology have been talking about for years.

When it comes to cancer, one size does NOT fit all. Each cancer, of each type, is different in each and every individual. Every person must be treated individually.

This explains why most modern, mass-produced treatments for cancer simply don’t work well, or work at all. Each treatment must be individually tailored and individually applied to each individual.  

It remains a question how the mass-produced treatments of the cancer industry will respond to this reality.

A truly “new” approach is potentially being made possible by new genetic technologies like “genomics,” using the body’s own built-in abilities.

The mainstream media has devoted hours of air time to announcing this latest, well, “announcement.” One that’s not based on any particular new breakthrough, technology, or research result that has just been discovered. So, what is really so newsworthy about this latest announcement?

The Wall Street Journal followed the money on September 21 and reported the whole story. Rather, it seems the announcement is essentially a press release about MD Anderson’s new campaign to raise $3 billion for its cancer center.

This amount over 10 years is less than one-tenth the amount the NIH is now spending every year. And we can hope that it will be better and more wisely spent than the government largess from the NIH. But it probably just represents a recognition that the “era of big government” is over, at least when it comes to counting on more and more government spending each year from the NIH, realizing that the money is simply not there.

So, as has often been the case in Texas, MD Anderson is taking the matter into their own hand—with funding that will flow into their own pockets instead of through the bureaucrats in Washington DC. We can of course hope their results will be better.

But unfortunately, when it comes to cancer, we have learned over the decades, “show me the money.”