Why Cancer Research's funding offer won't find a cure for cancer. (And the good news)!
October 12, 2015
Cancer Research UK has announced it will provide £20m funding to research teams to 'catalyse a revolution in how we prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer by bringing together the brightest minds around the globe.'
But before you get too carried away, please remember that there is no miracle cure for cancer. There will be no miracle cure for cancer.
There, now I sound like a party pooper.
But Cancer Research UK knows this too. What they are trying to do is target the research areas where they can make progress and find real benefits.
Hence they are looking for teams to contrbute to the following:
Develop vaccines to prevent non-viral cancers
Eradicate EBV-induced cancers from the world
Discover how unusual patterns of mutation are induced by different cancer-causing events
Distinguish between lethal cancers that need treating, and non-lethal cancers that don’t
Find a way of mapping tumours at the molecular and cellular level
Develop innovative approaches to target the cancer super-controller MYC
Deliver biologically active macromolecules to any and all cells in the body
In order to show you why they have picked these thought-provoking topics, take a look at how cancer works. It's not fun, but it's good to have an understanding as I'm sure it has affeceted or will affect someone you know, if not yourself.
This is where you also learn that comic strips have a place in science. This one thoughtfully explains how cancer varies hugely from one person to the next.
There are still the usual things we can do to try and prevent cancer in the first place. Granted, cancer affects some of the most healthy-living individuals on this earth. But it goes without saying really that limiting your exposure to chemicals (externally and internally), providing your body with the most nutritious and least processed nourishment and stimulating your natural chemicals and metabolic processes through exercise, as well as avoiding excess alcohol, will benefit your general health. Just remember that cancer isn't picky about who it targets. If you or a loved one find yourself with a cancerous growth, don't spend your time worrying about what you could have done.
If you don't think it will lead you into a constant state of worry and anxiety, then have a read of how cancer works and accept that a glass of wine or a doughnut really won't kill you and that a car accident or other health issue could strike you down.
It may not sound cheery but the real message is to make the most of your time however long it might be. Leave work a bit earlier sometimes, make that journey to see a friend, buy yourself a new jacket and tell those close to you what they mean to you.
Those are things you'll never regret!
In the meantime, research scientists all over the world are working hard to make sure that you have the best possible means of prevention, diagnosis and treatment. So let's take a minute to think how lucky we are.