Saturday 10 July 2010

The War on Cancer - the first 40 years.

Here are two recent and thought provoking pieces on cancer.
(1) - A summary of the period 1971-present describing Nixons' 'War on Cancer'
(2)- A discussion of changes in cancer theory that seek to explain multiple paradoxes. In particular the tissue organisation field theory (TOFT) model which proposes that cancer is a tissue-based disease. This theory has been developed and championed over the past 10 years or so by Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein at Tufts medical school.

One interesting character in this story is the Nobel laureate Peyton Rous. 

" In 1959 Peyton Rous published an essay into which he distilled 50 years of observations and experimentation on cancer. The central conclusion of this essay startles us today. It is the statement that somatic mutation does not play a role in the causation of cancer. It is difficult to understand how such an astute observer, a man who had such a comprehensive knowledge of cancer, could be so far off the mark. " [This is from Peyton Rous: homage and appraisal. PK Vogt - The FASEB Journal, 1996. The paper he refers to is Nature 183, 1357-1361 (16 May 1959) Surmise and Fact on the Nature of Cancer P. Rous ]

His previous cancer discovery in 1911 took 55 years to be acknowledged by the Nobel committee. Perhaps he was always 55 years ahead of his time.

1959 + 55 years = 2014!

So perhaps 2014 is the date to look at.