It's getting hot for Big Pharma
June 19th 2009, 15:27 | Bryan Hubbard
Ever since doctors became little more than salesmen for the pharmaceutical industry, medicine has ceased to be a science, only occasionally is an art, and is almost always a commercial enterprise.
Research into non-drug solutions was rarely undertaken, simply because there was nobody to fund it, and so the scope of medicine has continued to narrow.
Doctors are beginning to wake up to the straitjacket they find themselves in, and some of the more pioneering souls are becoming like their Victorian forebears in their thirst for knowledge and zeal for new ideas.
These thoughts are sparked by news this week that cancer specialists in Texas are trying out thermal therapy as a way of countering pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal forms of the disease.
Not that the idea is exactly new. The observation that a high fever can kill cancer cells was observed as long ago as 1866 in Germany, and the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov was also aware of it.
It was actively pursued in the 20th century by Dr William Coley, who devoted his life to researching the best herbs, and the correct quantities, for inducing a fever in cancer patients. Sadly, America's drug regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, put a bar on the work, and conventional cancer therapy has been restricted to chemotherapy drugs and surgery.
As with heart disease, cancer is a disease that is far too much of a challenge to humankind to be left in the hands of commercial interests.
We hope the Texas oncologists receive all the funding and help they need, and without Big Pharma trying to sabotage their efforts.