Without a Cure: Dripping into your Veins.

They are dipping our toes into the expansive ocean of cancer and chemotherapy.

How could I have not known all of this? I knew that cancer was due to damaged or mutated DNA, and that caused proliferation of cells which wreak havoc on the body. But how could I be so naive to only know a superficial 5% about a disease so prominent?

Do you know why most chemotherapies don’t work? They can play games with our drugs, like child’s play. Say we begin to treat a tumor with Drug X. This cancerous mass has the ability to change the physiology of the cell as it pleases, breaking every fundamental law of biology. It can ship Drug X back out of the cell, or remove the channels that allow it’s entry. It can change the protein targets that Drug X acts on so the drug no longer affects them. It can tell the cell to redistribute Drug X to a corner of the cell to block it off from acting on anything. Or, it can simply detoxify the drug and inactivate it. Say we then give Drug Y, to damage the DNA so the cell can no longer replicate. The cancer can simply tell it’s machinery to repair the DNA faster.

New oral chemotherapies cost an average of $15,000 each month. If you need the chemotherapy dripped directly into your veins, that costs an average of $40,000 each month. Many of the new IV chemotherapies developed in the last 5 years land in the range of $100,000 per month.

Can you even imagine? Sitting beside a loved one as they were handed their diagnosis and shown the image of their tumor. How are you going to deny them the chance to live if you fail to pay $300,000 for 3 months of treatment? Worse yet, imagine after 2 months of treatment, the cancer decides to simply lock your drug in a fat bubble inside the cells – rendering the entire treatment completely ineffective.

We have been working on this puzzle of curing cancer for over 70 years. And these drugs are our top-market solutions.

“We have created a multi-trillion dollar edifice for dispensing the medical equivalent of lottery tickets, and have only the rudiments of a system to prepare patients for the near certainty that those tickets will not win.”

-Atul Gawande

chemo

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