The only part of New Scientist mag I can read without gnashing my teeth is the feature called 'The Last Word'. The rest of the magazine is a Gaia-worshipping Inquisition, constantly burning those few remaining evil Galileos who persist in foolishly believing actual data showing that the Earth's climate revolves around the sun, despite all the carefully generated computer models which show that the Earth's climate revolves around Amerikkkan Capitalism.
'The Last Word' is a wiki-style interchange, in which readers send in questions about things they've always wanted to know, and other readers respond with generally authoritative answers. This week's question was "Why are the tissues of the heart less susceptible to cancer than other types of human tissue? Can we learn something from this to fight cancers in other parts of the body?"
The answer to the first part was quite simple: Heart cells don't divide, hence they can't be subverted into dividing too enthusiastically. But the second part contained a surprise.Most scientists and doctors are resigned to the fact that we will not find a single cure, and are looking instead at treating cancer as a chronic disease in a similar way to heart disease or AIDS, for which treatments are intended to prolong the life using a cocktail of drugs.
I wonder if donors to cancer research are aware of this resigned attitude? It was certainly news to me. I assumed that basic research was still aimed at finding absolute cures
to the many different conditions that fall under the name of cancer.
'Chronic disease' reminds me of Rumsfeld's 'Long twilight struggle'.
'Cocktail of drugs' reminds me of Rice's 'Basket of Incentives'.
The Second Ford Administration, despite an occasional out-of-context rhetorical burst aimed at keeping the donors (taxpayers) in line, is equally fatalistic about defeating the cancer of Allah. (Muslinoma?)
Jonas Salk and Winston Churchill are spinning in their graves.