Rebooting Pseudogenes: The Reverse Engineering of All Mammalian Disease

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Rebooting Pseudogenes: The Reverse Engineering of All Mammalian Disease

A Protein Killer Could Treat All Cancers, and Possibly All Illnesses

Since last April, 19 cancer patients whose liver tumours hadn’t responded to chemotherapy have taken an experimental drug. Within weeks of the first dose, it appeared to work, by preventing tumors from making proteins they need to survive. The results are preliminary yet encouraging. With a slight redesign, the drug might work for hundreds of diseases, fulfilling the promise that wonder cures like stem cells and gene therapy have failed to deliver.

The biotech company Alnylam announced in June that its drug ALN-VSP cut off blood flow to 62 percent of liver-cancer tumours in those 19 patients, by triggering a rarely used defense mechanism in the body to silence cancerous genes. Whereas conventional drugs stop disease-causing proteins, ALN-VSP uses RNA interference (RNAi) therapy to stop cells from making proteins in the first place, a tactic that could work for just about any disease. “Imagine that your kitchen floods,” says biochemist and Alnylam CEO John Maraganore. “Today’s medicines mop it up. RNAi technology turns off the faucet.”

Here’s another analogy: If DNA is the blueprint for proteins, RNA is the contractor. It makes single-stranded copies of DNA’s genes, called mRNA, which tell the cell to produce proteins. In 1998, scientists identified RNAi, a mechanism that primitive organisms use to detect and destroy virus’s double-stranded RNA and any viral mRNA. Mammals’ immune systems made RNAi’s antiviral function irrelevant (although all vertebrates, including humans, still use RNAi to regulate mRNA activity), but researchers found that introducing small segments of double-stranded RNA to cells could trigger the ancient mechanism and selectively halt the production of specific proteins.

That ability makes RNAi a potential fix for many diseases, including cancer, that arise when abnormal cells produce excessive amounts of everyday proteins. In theory, manipulating RNAi to kill proteins is simple. ALN-VSP, for example, consists of synthetic double-stranded RNA designed to match tumour mRNA that codes for two proteins: VEGF, which cancers overproduce to help grow new blood vessels, and KSP, which sets off rapid cell division. The researchers send the synthetic RNA into liver cells, and the body’s RNAi system kills both the synthetic RNA and any matching tumour-grown mRNA. Knock out the mRNAs coding for those proteins-which in the liver are produced only by cancer cells-and the tumour stops growing.

“We can turn off any one of 20,000 genes with RNAi,” says Bruce Sullenger, a molecular biologist researching RNAi at Duke University. “The challenge has been to get a drug into only the desired cells and not harm others.” Researchers have worried that a drug might disrupt normal protein production in a healthy cell, or that the immune system will destroy the drug before it reaches its target.

Alnylam overcame both concerns by packaging the drug in a fatty envelope that is absorbed primarily by the liver. This allowed doctors to administer the drug through the blood, rather than by an injection to one spot, which improves results by ensuring that the entire liver receives an even dose.

The technique’s ability to attack single genes could lead to drugs for the 75 percent of cancer genes that lack any specific treatment, as well as for other illnesses. Alnylam is already testing RNAi therapy for Huntington’s disease and high cholesterol in cell cultures; other researchers are tackling macular degeneration, muscular dystrophy and HIV. The potential has driven nearly every major pharmaceutical company to start an RNAi program.

Because the approach is fundamentally simple, RNAi therapy could be ready within two years, say experts including John Rossi, a molecular geneticist at City of Hope National Medical Center in California. Alnylam plans to enroll an additional 36 patients in the ALN-VSP trial and increase the dosage, but the early results are good enough to suggest that it could be among the first RNAi therapies to hit the market. “I think RNAi could work for anything,” Rossi says. “But even if it only works for liver cancer, it would be pretty good.” For liver-cancer patients who have been failed by chemotherapy and radiation and felt their harsh side effects, that would be wonder drug enough.

 

http://www.popsci.com.au/2010/08/a-protein-killer-could-treat-all-cancers-and-possibly-all-illnesses/

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Sounds too good to be

Sounds too good to be true.

 

Sad

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


WasitacatisaW
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However horrific this

However horrific this sounds, I do believe that there isn't a single leading (by indication of GDP) Country that has a government honestly searching for the cure to... Well... Any disease really.

 

Rising health care costs are good for the economy. When health care costs rise, the GDP goes up. And if we have learned anything about our own government, it's that our GDP is very, VERY important to us. (Or the government, rather.)

 

Sick people = Money man... Don't you see? Why isn't the funding for this research increased ten fold? It is already more promising then stem cells. Are they really that stupid? No. They're just really that smart.


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Ehh...I dunno.

Ehh...I dunno.  Universities still do lots of pure research, although I don't know if the percentages have gone up or down over the last fifty years.

 

But I agree no-one is putting in effort equal to the problem.  How much have we spent because 3,000 people were killed by some terrorists?

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Ehh...I

mellestad wrote:

Ehh...I dunno.  Universities still do lots of pure research, although I don't know if the percentages have gone up or down over the last fifty years.

 

But I agree no-one is putting in effort equal to the problem.  How much have we spent because 3,000 people were killed by some terrorists?

 

The money spent matches the level of panic and Nielsen's ratings associated with that event. Too many people live with a false sense of safety, with some obsessing over it in the extreme, in the States. There isn't much money in obituaries, though.

Wash your fucking hands, they might have germs. (the kind that live everywhere, anyways)

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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WasitacatisaW wrote:However

WasitacatisaW wrote:

However horrific this sounds, I do believe that there isn't a single leading (by indication of GDP) Country that has a government honestly searching for the cure to... Well... Any disease really.

 

Rising health care costs are good for the economy. When health care costs rise, the GDP goes up. And if we have learned anything about our own government, it's that our GDP is very, VERY important to us. (Or the government, rather.)

 

Sick people = Money man... Don't you see? Why isn't the funding for this research increased ten fold? It is already more promising then stem cells. Are they really that stupid? No. They're just really that smart.

Did you see Zeitgeist, by any chance? They say almost exactly the same. And they also propose a solution for our evil (anti-)economy. So, yeah, we would have to change the entire economy for such drugs to be able to made...


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WasitacatisaW wrote:However

WasitacatisaW wrote:

However horrific this sounds, I do believe that there isn't a single leading (by indication of GDP) Country that has a government honestly searching for the cure to... Well... Any disease really.

 

Rising health care costs are good for the economy. When health care costs rise, the GDP goes up. And if we have learned anything about our own government, it's that our GDP is very, VERY important to us. (Or the government, rather.)

The costs of medicine go up... in relation to the amount of money in people's (and insurer's) pockets. You'll find that's true of almost any potential commodity, be it gold, oil, or medical care. Brain surgeons don't grow on trees.

While there is no doubt a vested interest in 'treatment' as opposed to 'cure', I don't think it's nearly as large as you state, and only the AMA stands to lose. If the stuff proves as effective as the article claims, Glaxo Smith and Kline, Pfizer, etc. will be all over it seconds. It would be suicidal not to.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Thunderios

Thunderios wrote:

WasitacatisaW wrote:

However horrific this sounds, I do believe that there isn't a single leading (by indication of GDP) Country that has a government honestly searching for the cure to... Well... Any disease really.

 

Rising health care costs are good for the economy. When health care costs rise, the GDP goes up. And if we have learned anything about our own government, it's that our GDP is very, VERY important to us. (Or the government, rather.)

 

Sick people = Money man... Don't you see? Why isn't the funding for this research increased ten fold? It is already more promising then stem cells. Are they really that stupid? No. They're just really that smart.

Did you see Zeitgeist, by any chance?

Absolutely, ha. However I don't stake claims by those movies for I've never researched their claims or sources. But by my observation of what kind of medications work and what kinds get funding leads me to believe that a cure is the last thing on an economies mind. And the economy is everything... everything.


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Kapkao wrote:WasitacatisaW

Kapkao wrote:

WasitacatisaW wrote:

However horrific this sounds, I do believe that there isn't a single leading (by indication of GDP) Country that has a government honestly searching for the cure to... Well... Any disease really.

 

Rising health care costs are good for the economy. When health care costs rise, the GDP goes up. And if we have learned anything about our own government, it's that our GDP is very, VERY important to us. (Or the government, rather.)

The costs of medicine go up... in relation to the amount of money in people's (and insurer's) pockets. You'll find that's true of almost any potential commodity, be it gold, oil, or medical care. Brain surgeons don't grow on trees.

While there is no doubt a vested interest in 'treatment' as opposed to 'cure', I don't think it's nearly as large as you state, and only the AMA stands to lose. If the stuff proves as effective as the article claims, Glaxo Smith and Kline, Pfizer, etc. will be all over it seconds. It would be suicidal not to.

While dead people don't pay taxes, and buy goods, they can't themselves produce goods or services to inject into the economy. So, they're a 'non starter'.

There's 2 ways to seperate living people from their wealth.

1- With their desires

2- With taxes

There are limits to how much living people can be seperated from their wealth, with taxes, but virtually no limits to their desire to prevent death. They'll spend money they don't even have, or will likely not ever be able to repay, with no guarantee that they will continue to live.

Prolonging life from imminent death = continually giving life

Curing an imminent death illness = killing a killer

 

The 'make well' trade (medecine) has the highest ratio of failure/target objective 'professionalism' in any trade I can think of.

We certainly can't make planes or toasters within such a wide range of 'failure/target objective'.

 

It's a 'unique' business sector, and 'trade'...

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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redneF wrote:Kapkao

redneF wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

WasitacatisaW wrote:

However horrific this sounds, I do believe that there isn't a single leading (by indication of GDP) Country that has a government honestly searching for the cure to... Well... Any disease really.

 

Rising health care costs are good for the economy. When health care costs rise, the GDP goes up. And if we have learned anything about our own government, it's that our GDP is very, VERY important to us. (Or the government, rather.)

The costs of medicine go up... in relation to the amount of money in people's (and insurer's) pockets. You'll find that's true of almost any potential commodity, be it gold, oil, or medical care. Brain surgeons don't grow on trees.

While there is no doubt a vested interest in 'treatment' as opposed to 'cure', I don't think it's nearly as large as you state, and only the AMA stands to lose. If the stuff proves as effective as the article claims, Glaxo Smith and Kline, Pfizer, etc. will be all over it seconds. It would be suicidal not to.

While dead people don't pay taxes, and buy goods, they can't themselves produce goods or services to inject into the economy. So, they're a 'non starter'.

There's 2 ways to seperate living people from their wealth.

1- With their desires

2- With taxes

There are limits to how much living people can be seperated from their wealth, with taxes, but virtually no limits to their desire to prevent death. They'll spend money they don't even have, or will likely not ever be able to repay, with no guarantee that they will continue to live.

Prolonging life from imminent death = continually giving life

Curing an imminent death illness = killing a killer

 

The 'make well' trade (medecine) has the highest ratio of failure/target objective 'professionalism' in any trade I can think of.

We certainly can't make planes or toasters within such a wide range of 'failure/target objective'.

 

It's a 'unique' business sector, and 'trade'...

What does any of this have to do with my post?

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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 Kapkao wrote:What does any

 

Kapkao wrote:
What does any of this have to do with my post?

 

Well, I have no idea. Perhaps he will enlighten.

 

Possibly relevant to both though is something that I have wondered on from time to time. My grandparents all lived into their 90's without all the fancy expensive treatments which seem to be a staple today. Yet, when I go to my doctor, he has no problem finding things “that will be the end of me” and for which he just happens to have pills for managing. Mostly, they are crap in one way or another.

 

Every time I get a physical, he does the thing where my prescriptions will be waiting for me at the counter but if I try to talk to him about those things, I can't get more than a brief comment out of him. It is basically a “shut up and take your pills” type of thing.

 

OK, pull back for a second. What is causing the things for which I must take expensive pills? Did my grandparents have them and they are only dangerous now because someone found a way to make statistics seem to say how dangerous these things are? Or have they become more dangerous in recent decades because of our prepackaged life style with food out of a cardboard box and sittting behind a desk all day long?

 

If the former, then the pills are another way to separate people from their money. If the latter, then they can be treated without pills just by eating the right way and getting a bit more exercise. Neither of which involves pills. Sadly for the big pharma industry, it does not seem to involve them to the extent that they would like.

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Kapkao wrote:What does any

Kapkao wrote:

What does any of this have to do with my post?

I was addressing this part:

Kapkao wrote:
While there is no doubt a vested interest in 'treatment' as opposed to 'cure', I don't think it's nearly as large as you state, and only the AMA stands to lose. If the stuff proves as effective as the article claims, Glaxo Smith and Kline, Pfizer, etc. will be all over it seconds. It would be suicidal not to.

These companies are in the business of researching and marketing 'remedies', not 'cures'.

You're completely kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

If you ever knew people who used to work inside the industry, and found out more about it, it would make you sick, no pun intended.

Curing people is a 1 shot deal.

Sick people keep purchasing till they're dead.

 

In a lot of ways, drug companies are like a religion.

Fabricate a disease, and then market a cure.

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris