The New York Times reports on an emerging new cancer drug that is being co-developed by the US government and a private pharmaceutical company. The cancer treatment is a form of immunotherapy called CAR-T where T cells are activated to fight cancer. The new cancer therapy, a one-time treatment, is expetect to cost $200,000 per patient. The stock price for the company developing the CAR-T therapy is said to be $50/share with no product yet. Government is sharing the costs, and then will pay via Medicare for the treatment, and the pharmaceutical company will kick back a small royalty. The pharmaceutical company’s leadership can be characterized as a mix of greed, ego and charlatanism. [New York Times Dec 19, 2016] Sounds like Theranos all over again.
CAR-T therapy addresses blood malignancies (leukemia-cancer of the blood) and lymphoma (cancer of the lymph). Solid tumors are not cured with CAR-T therapy. [Annual Review Medicine Nov 17, 2016]
The National Institutes of Health lost its compass long ago. Medical research ignores economical treatments in favor of over-priced drugs, particularly injectable drugs that cut doctors in on the treatment fees.
The reason for immunotherapy is that the human immune system is largely dysfunctional in old age due to the shrinkage of the thymus gland that produces a hormone (thymulin) that activates T-cells (white blood cells that kill cancer cells). Supplemental zinc restores the shrinking thymus gland to its normal size and primes T-cells to restore immunity in humans. [Journal Nutrition May 2007]
The immorality of all of this evokes revulsion.