Terminal breast cancer "cured" by injecting patient with billions of her own white blood cells

That’s kind of the latest thing these days – checkpoint blockade. Basically you are turning off the immune system’s ability to not attack your own cells. Obviously that isn’t a good idea to do in general, but neither are poisoning yourself with chemotherapy or undergoing radiation treatment. The trick is to do as much damage to the tumors while minimizing the damage to healthy tissue.


Except in the good ol’ USA. “We don’t want none of that socialism to ruin our healthcare!” :face_vomiting:

What did Dr. McCoy say about 20th and 21st century medicine in… what was it? Star Trek 4? Barbaric?

That being said, it’s what we got right now.

I’m aware. Lots of cancer in my family in the past few years, unfortunately. Fuck cancer.


I think it’s just because we usually don’t talk about cancer being cured. We talk about five year and ten year survival rates, etc.



Mr. T was on some talk show (Conan I think) when he had cancer and said, “I pity the fool who pities Mr. T.”

It was the singularity of badass.


Maybe so? I dunno. I’m sure you’re aware that Cory’s a pretty strong proponent of profit-driven corporate healthcare; alternative and traditional treatments are in his view “woo” and ipso facto both dangerous and ineffective.

Historically, cancer may have been cured in fully metastasized patients using primitive immunotherapies as early as the late 19th century. But the history is complicated due to personal animosity between Coley and his boss James Ewing, who actively fought to prevent accurate representation of Coley’s work, and Coley’s lack of follow up on patients after their cures.

1 Like

I think this is an unfair characterization of @doctorow’s position; I believe he supports single-payer national health, and has posted articles critical of medical gougers.

Snake oil alternative and traditional treatments are often rather expensive, especially given they don’t have to spend any money on research. FWIW, your hero Coley was part of the medical establishment; his toxins were marketed by a big pharmaceutical company (Parke-Davis, now part of Pfizer).


I also support single payer - I agree with Cory on a lot more things than we disagree on, and I like and respect Cory. The differences between his opinions and mine are nuanced, and so perhaps I represent it unfairly as you say. Perhaps better to say I have no reflex of horror or revulsion for members of the so-called alternative tribe, nor do I believe an absence of evidence of efficacy is absolute proof of a lack thereof, and it seems to me that these have been generally the basis of the arguments he and I have had.

Parke-Davis actually had a lot to do with the failure of Coley’s famous toxins in the marketplace. And Coley’s tendency to treat more than publish (exacerbated by his boss’s attacks on his publications) had a lot to do with it, too.

But yes, William Coley certainly was part of the medical mainstream! A very good point, he got ret-conned into being “woo” by advocates of radiation therapy and has been only recently, partially returned to respectability.


On the other hand, people who live longer end up buying more drugs for headaches, allergies, colds, …


Because in this case, there has been zero detection of any cancer cells anywhere in her body, which never happens in metastatic breast cancer cases. The researchers, not the headline writers, stated that this appeared tentatively to be an actual cure.


Well that would really be something.

Fun nod to that kind of shitty, opportunistic mentality in Westworld:

James Delos, the man with the money behind the “theme park”, dies of an unnamed disease which his own company had defunded the research 15 years prior to his death.


It was IV. The one with the whales.


That’s what I thought. I love that one, especially since it has one of my favorite punk panic moments in it:


Boneitis, maybe?

@medievalist Maybe so? I dunno. I’m sure you’re aware that Cory’s a pretty strong proponent of profit-driven corporate healthcare; alternative and traditional treatments are in his view “woo” and ipso facto both dangerous and ineffective.”

I’m not sure of Mr Doctorow’s personal views, but there is whole host of choices between “Profit Driven Corporate Healthcare” and “alternative and traditional” treatments. These aren’t the only two choices.

Non-profit-driven, scientifically researched and evidence based medicine comes to mind.


Regardless of financial leverage, they WILL die just like the rest of us.

That guy went on to work for the Jim Henson Company and directed the muppets cover of Bohemian Rhapsody. What a career.

1 Like

It’s one of those things that the research is making real progress but that it’s not a cure all. It’s better to think of every new treatment as a strategy that can be employed by doctors. And in a way it’s like war in this respect. Some strategies work better than others in certain situations. We’ll never truly cure cancer but we’ll probably get a point that cancer becomes at worse a chronic condition rather than one which kills its victims. Too bad the media is always bad at communicating important facts.