Paradigm shifts in cancer treatment

Written by Simon Mitchell

A paradigm is a sort of cultural, consensual pattern of thought or model of something. For examplerepparttar 'current consensus in scientific medicine'. Paradigms change, likerepparttar 147232 impact of Galileo's work on disprovingrepparttar 147233 flat-earth theory or Copernicus' heresy thatrepparttar 147234 Earth moves roundrepparttar 147235 Sun. These new ideas met a great deal of resistance from orthodox philosophy but eventually gave rise to a changed perception ofrepparttar 147236 world we live in.

We live now in a time of 'paradigm shift' which creates fundamental changes in our assumptions aboutrepparttar 147237 world, and even this contributes to modern stress! A paradigm shift is a huge step that results in a change of consciousness. Although our physical sciences have discovered new fields of quantum reality, medical science is lagging far behind. Philosophy has traditionally been an important part of medical practice sincerepparttar 147238 medieval days of Paracelsus, even Hippocrates, an ancient Greek (and originator ofrepparttar 147239 Hippocratic Oath).

How we perceiverepparttar 147240 world and our part in it is central to how we perceiverepparttar 147241 role of dis-ease and our reaction to it. One ofrepparttar 147242 present problems of finding effective cancer treatment within Western scientific medicine is a 'paradigm gap'. There are different perceptions ofrepparttar 147243 world at work speaking incompatible languages. These have deep roots in our philosophy. This gap is presently condemning millions of people world-wide to suffer treatments for cancer that are often as destructive asrepparttar 147244 disease itself.

Paradigm 1: The mechanistic view This can be traced back to Descartes and other scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. The universe is a vast machine and we are all cogs, all with our part to play in its function. The healthy body is a well made clock and if it goes wrong we simply take it apart and tinker withrepparttar 147245 insides until it goes again. If it breaks it doesn't really matter because there are plenty more where that came from. Nothing exists unless it has been proven through logical methods.

cancer: something had gone wrong with this body, it has a lump. Cut it out and throwrepparttar 147246 lump away.

Paradigm 2: The anthropomorphic view This paradigm is central torepparttar 147247 philosophy of Darwinism and others who helped set humans as 'apart and above', or atrepparttar 147248 head of other life forms. Humanity isrepparttar 147249 supposed crown of creation, we are created to lord it over every other creature as 'head ofrepparttar 147250 food chain'. The planet is ours to dominate and exploit to our own demands. We must conquer every mountain and battle against disease. We arerepparttar 147251 most evolved and dominant species in a process of natural selection. We exist for no purpose and have just evolved through sheer luck. In this world our media fantasy industries create pigs and fish that can talk human. Animals are anthropomorphised through culture to haverepparttar 147252 same needs, desires and dreams as humans. The animals, forests, oceans and environment around us exist purely for our convenience. This paradigm is human self-centred and exploitative to everything including ourselves.

The Cancer Research Industry

Written by Simon Mitchell

Many volunteers world-wide commit themselves to raising funds for cancer research and cancer charities. Many hundreds of thousands more work inrepparttar industry as carers, or researching, prescribing, diagnosing and manufacturing drugs. Huge companies spend fortunes on cancer research. After so long and so many billions spent what exactly has cancer research revealed?

There have been regular breakthroughs in our understanding of cancer, but little progress in its treatment. Modern research into cancer began inrepparttar 147231 1940's and 50's when scientists isolated substances that killed cancer cells growing in a petri dish, or leukaemia cells in laboratory mice. Early successes in chemotherapy setrepparttar 147232 pace and received much media exposure, even though they only applied to 5% of cancer treatments at most.

Serving humanity by solving its major diseases has a celebrity status, there is a lot of kudos and an air of Hollywood involved in such things. Cancer research is high profile activity and every now and then a scientific treatment is discovered that gains wide recognition, such asrepparttar 147233 HPV-16 trial, but it only applies itself torepparttar 147234 treatment of a small percentage of cancers. Mass-media hype is part ofrepparttar 147235 problem of how we see cancer. Early discoveries set up an expectation that there was a cure-all treatment, a 'magic bullet' that would make its discoverer famous by curing cancer acrossrepparttar 147236 world. The idea stems in part from aspirin,repparttar 147237 original bullet that magically finds its way torepparttar 147238 pain and diminishes it. Even now boasts of 'paradigm shifts' in orthodox cancer care are exaggerated.

Inrepparttar 147239 1950's and 60's huge and expensive research projects were set up to test every known substance to see if it effected cancer cells. You might rememberrepparttar 147240 discovery ofrepparttar 147241 Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharansus Roseus), which revealed alkaloids (vinblastine and vincristine) that are still used in chemotherapy today. Taxol, a treatment for ovarian and breast cancer originally came fromrepparttar 147242 Pacific Yew tree. A treatment for testicular cancer and small-cell lung cancer called 'Etoposide' was derived fromrepparttar 147243 May apple. In 'Plants Used Against Cancer' by Jonathan Hartwell over 3,000 plants are identified from medical and folklore sources for treating cancer, about half of which have been shown to have some effect on cancer cells in a test tube.

When these plants are made into synthetic drugs, single chemicals are isolated andrepparttar 147244 rest ofrepparttar 147245 plant is usually thrown away. The medicinally active molecules are extracted fromrepparttar 147246 plant and modified until they are chemically unique. Thenrepparttar 147247 compound is patented, given a brand name and tested.

Inrepparttar 147248 first phase it will generally be tested on animals,repparttar 147249 second phase will decide dosage levels and in phase 3 it is tested on people. Byrepparttar 147250 time it is approved byrepparttar 147251 Federal Drugs Authority (in U.S.A.) orrepparttar 147252 Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency (M.H.R.A.) in Britain,repparttar 147253 development costs for a new drug can reach five hundred million dollars, which eventually has to be recouped fromrepparttar 147254 consumer.

In addition to 'treatment directed' research such as finding chemicals that effect cancer cells, basic research continues apace, into differences between normal and cancerous cells. Inrepparttar 147255 last 30 years this research has revealed much about our nature, but still no cure. Below are some current strands of scientific research into cancer.

antibody-guided therapy: this isrepparttar 147256 original 'magic bullet'. Cancer researchers use monoclonal antibodies to carry poisons directly torepparttar 147257 cancer cells without harming others.

chronobiology: much of what happens in our bodies is governed by cycles, fromrepparttar 147258 female monthly cycle torepparttar 147259 cycles of brainwaves. Human health depends on interacting cycles geared to acts of perception, breathing, reproduction and renewal. Chronobiology analyses these cycles in relation to different times, such as day and night. Hormones, including stress and growth hormones, have their own cycles. For example they may be at their highest activity inrepparttar 147260 morning and quieter at night. Cancer cells seem to no longer obeyrepparttar 147261 same cycle rates as normal cells.

Anti-telomerase: one part of a cell, calledrepparttar 147262 telomerase, governsrepparttar 147263 life cycle of a cell and how many times it may multiply. Some cancer cells escape this control and can increaserepparttar 147264 number of times they divide, becoming 'immortal'. Researchers hope to gain control over cancer cells by stoppingrepparttar 147265 action of telomerase.

Anti-angiogenesis: secondary tumours (metastasis) can persuaderepparttar 147266 cells around them to grow new blood vessels to feedrepparttar 147267 tumours, supplying oxygen and nutrients forrepparttar 147268 growing cancer. This process is called angiogenesis and research here is finding ways to stoprepparttar 147269 signals to normal cells that startrepparttar 147270 process.

Anti-adhesion molecules: Cancer cells form into clumps, unlike those in a petri dish which form into a flatter arrangement. When there are clumps of cells they seem to possess a quality that resists treatment. This strand of research looks at ways that can stoprepparttar 147271 cells clumping together, by dissolvingrepparttar 147272 clumps for more effective treatment.

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