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judochop's avatar

If the cure for Cancer existed via vaccination, would you support the use of it even if it meant putting the drug industry in to debt thus failing other drugs that help support life?

Asked by judochop (16075points) February 8th, 2010

If the cure for cancer existed through a shot in the arm while you were just 6 months to a year old would you support this medical miracle even if it meant that it could potentially put all of the drug makers out of business? This could mean that other life supporting drugs would not get the funding needed to research their stability and effect thus never getting approved by the FDA for wide-spread use through out the world.
sidenote: I personally would fully support the vaccine no matter what the economic side-effects would be.

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28 Answers

Dr_Dredd's avatar

It would never put the drug makers out of business. They’d just concentrate more on making “lifestyle drugs” such as viagra and rogaine. The drug companies have a good thing going.

ragingloli's avatar

There are enough other illnesses and diseases the indstry can make money off with their various poisons. Eradicating cancer would only remove one part of their profits. Their profits or the lives of millions of people? Easy choice.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

There are some cancers now that can be prevented to some extent by vaccination. For example, some forms of cervical cancer. The key is having the politcal will to force the drug companies to make such vaccines available affordably. The recent “mandatory licensing” of HIV drugs is a good example of putting political clout to work in the right way. “Do the right thing or we’ll revoke your patent” is what many nations told Big Pharma.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Except I don’t think that would have worked. There are plenty of well-off people who need HIV drugs and who would raise holy hell if they weren’t able to get them (because of a revoked patent). I think governments might back down if they were faced with wealthy, voting constituents who didn’t care about third world countries and HIV.

life_after_2012's avatar

i would support it also.

shilolo's avatar

@ragingloli Poisons? Really? Have you ever received a vaccine or antibiotic? Because, those are really “poisons.” Also, how old are you now? I only ask because, if you are 25–30 years or older, then 200 years ago (by probability) you would have already been dead. It’s those same poisons that keep us going to 75–80, rather than dying at 30.

shilolo's avatar

@ragingloli I hope you stick to your guns then (though I doubt, highly, that you’ve never taken a medicine or vaccine). I’m a big fan of natural selection, as you also seem to be. Good luck.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Yes, I would support it and I’m in agreement with others here that it wouldn’t financially harm the pharmaceutical industry to any extensive degree.

ragingloli's avatar

the no was a response to “poisons, really”

Cruiser's avatar

A cancer cure would not put big pharma out of business…they have built there empires not on cancer treatments but on obesity issues such as heart medications, cholesterol, diabetes treatments. If you want to mess with big pharma…start eating healthy and get 20 minutes of exercise every day and watch big pharma s#!t their pants.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Cruiser has a good point…

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Dr_Dredd India and a number of other countries forced the pharmas to drastically cut their prices by threatening patent revocation and allowing local companies to manufacture them license free.

ragingloli's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land
This is also why medications are cheaper in Germany than in the US. The government says, “This is what we are willing to pay for the medicine, if you don’t like it, you don’t get to sell it in Germany at all.” And they have the leverage to do that, because 90 percent of the German population is publicly insured.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I hadn’t heard that. Thanks!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I’m not sure how creating a vaccination that 6.5 billion people will want could put anyone out of business unless they grossly mismanaged it.

shilolo's avatar

@judochop This whole thread, while nobel, makes a giant (unfounded) assumption. Namely, that all cancers are alike and can be dealt with in the same way. Unfortunately, that is as far from the case as possible. Some cancers develop due to bad genetics, others to loss of tumor suppressors, others to activation of proto-oncogenes, others from viral oncogenes, and still others from chronic inflammation. Many cancers combine multiple mutations (such as colorectal cancer). So, this is all very much a pipe dream. Cancer, broadly defined, encompasses hundreds of different diseases, which cannot be prevented or treated the same.

westy81585's avatar

Just making a note here that the cure for cancer will not be a “vaccination” in the sense of the word.

Cancer is basically caused by part of your cell’s DNA losing the stop codon that tells it to stop growing and replicating, or other things. In other words, cancer is your cells being mutated. It’s fatal because the cells often replicate with no purpose, without end, and with defective DNA coding.

A vaccination, which is typically just “dead” cells of a virus which prompts your body to begin building antibodies for that virus vs a weak version of it rather than the fully matured/healthy version of it, will not work on cancer, because cancer is not a virus.

Fun side note, cancer is immortal (so long as they have a steady flow of nutrients). The scrapings they took from a woman’s cancer tumor back in the early 50’s are still growing in multiple petri dishes worldwide and have been the basis for lots of cancer research.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Actually, they have been working on a vaccine for certain types of cancers. Cancer cells express abnormal types of receptors and other cell surface molecules. Antibodies can target those cell features and direct the immune system to destroy them. Furthermore, cervical cancer IS caused by a virus—the Human Papilloma Virus. And there is a vaccine out there which seems to work.

westy81585's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Yes but the vaccine keeps you from getting HPV, NOT the cancer that it causes. That’s like they have different ways of stopping/slowing down HIV… But once you have full blown aids, they’re useless.

The first example you gave is “sort of” like a vaccine. But kind of in a loose sense of the term.

shilolo's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Those are two separate entities. The cancer “vaccines” of which you speak to target oncogenes (or receptors specific for tumor cells) are treatment vaccines, not preventative. The second point is true, but as I said, is a vaccine specific for a virus, HPV, much like the hepatitis B vaccine protects against hepatocellular carcinoma. One could envision other anti-cancer vaccines as well (EBV to protect against Burkitt’s lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma, HHV-8 to protect against the rare Kaposi’s sarcoma, Hep C and hepatocellular carcinoma, H. pylori and gastric carcinoma, etc.)

shilolo's avatar

@westy81585 I’m confused about your point about AIDS. We can treat AIDS (HIV) quite effectively with anti-viral medications these days. Many a patient with an extremely low CD4 count has recovered to live a completely normal life.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@shilolo I know they are separate entities. I was just trying to address @westy81585‘s point that there can be no cancer vaccines. :-)

And, @westy81585, how is the first example “sort of” like a vaccine? It is a vaccine, which involves the administration of a substance designed to stimulate antibody production and/or cellular immunity.

westy81585's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Yes, but vaccines are in the sense of fighting a virus. Read shilolo’s response….. in fact he’d be better at explaining this than I. He’s clearly had more than the cursory education on it that I’ve had.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

No, vaccines are NOT just for fighting viruses. First of all, @shilolo indicated that there is more than one type of vaccine. Secondly, I’m a physician, too, so I’ve had training in immunology.

Here is an example of a cancer vaccine that’s being tested.

plethora's avatar

Polio was as much a dread disease in the 1950’s as cancer is today. It was prevented by a vaccine. A vaccine for cancer would first make the manufacturer a load of money. But further, there is no end to the ailments which the pharmaceutical industry could address. And I am thankful for benefits I derive from it.

snowberry's avatar

At first glance, I don’t think I would support it under any circumstances.

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