Whether cancer therapy has brought down the death rate is a question waiting for an answer
I always used to feel that our treatment of cancer does not fit in with common sense. But when I said so, I was mocked. When Nobel Laureate biologist, Albert Szent-Györgyi, noted that it would be difficult to kill cancer cells to the exclusion of surrounding normal cells, since normal and cancer cells work alike, his colleagues went to town with the criticism that this “once brilliant biologist has now gone crazy.”
Now comes a bombshell in the most ‘prestigious’ science journal of the UK, Nature, which has published the results of a study done in Oxford that has shown that, for certain cancers, chemotherapy, in fact, helps the cancer cells to grow which kills the patient!
The abstract of the paper reads: “Acquired resistance to anticancer treatments is a substantial barrier to reducing the morbidity and mortality that is attributable to malignant tumours. Components of tissue microenvironments are recognized to profoundly influence cellular phenotypes, including susceptibilities to toxic insults.
“Using a genome-wide analysis of transcriptional responses to genotoxic stress induced by cancer therapeutics, we identified a spectrum of secreted proteins derived from the tumour microenvironment that includes the Wnt family member wingless-type MMTV integration site family member 16B (WNT16B)...The expression of WNT16B in the prostate tumour microenvironment attenuated the effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy in vivo, promoting tumour cell survival and disease progression. These results delineate a mechanism by which genotoxic therapies given in a cyclical manner can enhance subsequent treatment resistance through cell non-autonomous effects that are contributed by the tumour microenvironment.”
Even suspicious cells make for a definitive diagnosis and the three-pronged attack on the hapless patient has now been shown to be counterproductive by this study. The triple attack has many drawbacks. Extensive mutilation, viz., radical surgical attempts, has its own inherent mortality in the elderly which, at times, become unacceptable.
The side-effects of chemotherapy and the fallout of radiation are all there for anyone to see and learn from. We should find methods to avoid making our treatment worse than the patient’s disease. Whether cancer therapy has brought down the death rate and disability is a million dollar question waiting for an answer, especially after trillions of dollars worth of income to the establishments, medical and pharmaceutical. The initiative by Dr Harold Varmus, of American Cancer Institute, set up a committee of nine specialists to look into the very definition of cancer, from the present all-encompassing definition, to help the industry.
In an article some time ago, I had gone into great details about
Dr Varmus’s plan to rename cancers. At present, more than 70% of the diagnosed cancers are, in fact, not cancers at all. They do not go to become killer cancers and most of them outlive humans. Of course, there are NO pre-cancerous conditions.
There are many natural cancer relief methods that have been suppressed and condemned by the mainstream establishments. One among them, which has been studied extensively recently, is the Indian spice: turmeric.
Turmeric has been shown to be very effective in cutting off blood supply to the tumour mass. Used in early stages, it might completely suppress cancer growth. Turmeric has also been shown to minimise the chemotherapy side-effects to make life easier for victims.
There are a host of others waiting to be investigated scientifically to see if they are good without serious side-effects like those of the chemotherapeutics. There is a crying need for such research but who will fund such research since it might threaten to break mainstream drug cartel’s rice bowl? Our sole aim should be to cure rarely, comfort mostly but to console always as believed by Hippocrates. We should strive to make the patient’s life bearable through a better and simpler approach to cancer therapy.
Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.
The Supreme Court that had ordered the demolition of illegal floors of seven buildings in Campa Cola Compound stayed its order till 31st May
After taking suo moto notice, the Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the demolition of illegal floors of buildings in Campa Cola Compound till 31 May 2014.
Earlier today, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) that was stopped from initiating action, demolished the main gate of the society which was blocked by residents, with the help of bulldozers. Police entered into the compound and evicted the protestors forcibly.
A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi took suo moto cognizance of media reports and stayed the demolition process.
"It is not merely a legal issue, but a human problem," the bench observed. "We were badly disturbed by the events reported by the media last evening. From 11.30 to 3.30am we were disturbed."
According to the broad outlines submitted by attorney general GE Vahanvati before a bench out of nine structures originally proposed in the complex, only seven have been built, leaving enough floor space index (FSI) for accommodating the present members of the housing society.
Thus space is available for raising a new building. Those who are going to lose their accommodation may be put up in the new structure. The rules regarding FSI have also changed, which would allow the housing of all affected residents, Vahanvati said.
The bench noted the proposal of the attorney general and granted him time till next Tuesday to put his proposal in writing. They also asked counsel for the residents, FS Nariman and Mukul Rohtagi, to find out whether the proposal would be acceptable to them. The court observed that the suggestion seemed to be reasonable.
Yesterday, Campa Cola Society in Worli area of Mumbai witnessed tense moments as over 100 families barricaded themselves and refused to move out of the compound. However, BMC, the civic body, initiated action to disconnect power, water and gas connections before going in for demolition of illegal floors as per the orders from the Supreme Court.
Milind Deora, minister of state for communications & IT and shipping, told reporters that the BMC has confirmed that they have received stay from SC on demolition till 31 May 2014.
The apex court had set the 11th November deadline to vacate 102 flats declared as illegal. Families living in the compound had pinned their hopes on chief minister (CM) Prithviraj Chavan stepping in and saving their homes by passing an ordinance to regularise their flats. However, the CM reportedly does not want to go against the legal opinion of the advocate general.
The apartments in the Campa Cola Compound were constructed on land leased in 1955 to Pure Drinks Ltd. Pure Drinks was later allowed by the BMC in 1980 to build residential apartments. Seven high-rise buildings were constructed at the compound between 1981 and 1989 by developers Yusuf Patel, PSB Constructions and BK Gupta.
Illegal floors of Midtown Apartments, Esha Ekta Apartments, Shubh Apartments, Patel Apartments (two buildings, six floors each), BY Apartments and Orchid Apartments comprise 140 flats. While the builders were granted permission for ground-plus-five floors, Midtown has 20 floors, Orchid has 17, Esha Ekta has eight, Shubh has seven, while BY and Patel have six floors each.
While we should welcome the move made by the RBI to combat the fake currency racket, we must debate their methodology adopted in test marketing of polymer rupee currency notes
In the past few months, Moneylife has carried reports on the urgent need to implement policies relating to replacement of paper currency notes by polymer-based currency, akin to what many leading countries like Australia, Singapore etc. have introduced. As our readers know, Australia was the pioneer that introduced polymer-based currency notes more than 25 years ago; these have long shelf life, compared to less than four years for paper base, and cannot be easily faked.
After a lot of deliberation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) took the first major step in test marketing of Indian polymer currency notes. In fact, a field trial was carried out in Jaipur, Shimla, Bhubaneshwar, Mysore and Cochin. These locations were selected based on geographical and climatic conditions.
According to the Minister of State for Finance, Namo Narain Meena, Rs10 denominated polymer plastic notes were introduced to the above market on trial basis. We now have the figure that a billion Rs10 notes were printed and put into circulation in the five centres mentioned above. So far, the results of the field trials carried in these towns have not been made public by RBI, and in fact, not much publicity was given to this attempt, and so the aam aadmi uses the currency in the normal fashion!
While we should welcome the move made by the RBI, we must raise and debate the methodology adopted in test marketing. First and foremost is that the actual counterfeit notes in circulation in the country are in high denomination, such as Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes. From time to time, bulk quantities have been seized from couriers and smugglers from across the border from Bangladesh and Nepal.
Press reports indicate that in 2010 about Rs1,500-1,700 crore worth of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) were smuggled into the country; this increased to Rs2,500 crore in 2012, and so far, up to July 2013, as much as Rs1,200 crore have been caught. How much of these escaped the watchful eyes of the security agencies is difficult to even imagine.
First step from RBI, one would expect, is to announce that they intend to switch over to polymer plastic currency within a particular time frame. If this is considered as letting the cat out of the bag, then, without much publicity, we ought to introduce these polymer based currency notes in high value of Rs500 and Rs1,000. Within a scheduled time frame, we need to mop up the paper currency of these denominations and replace them totally. Only then the FICN can be prevented from entering the country.
This is particularly very important, considering the fact that elections are a few months away from now. Large scale smuggling of fake currency notes is more likely to increase than before. In this connection, it is worthwhile noting, with alarm, the reports on this subject by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
NIA has now conclusive proof that these fake currency notes are the handywork of the ISI of Pakistan, whose main purpose in pushing these notes to destabilise the Indian economy and to finance its terror operations in India. These fake currency notes are routed through Bangladesh, Nepal; and now, the new and additional locations are UAE, Oman, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Shenzen (China).
The NIA has carried forensic analysis of the captured fake currency notes. It is observed, beyond reasonable doubt, that the paper used matches with the legal tender of Pakistan. Besides, they match almost all the security features and print Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes, and that these fake notes can be only duplicated by highly sophisticated machines that the Government of Pakistan owns.
The perfection of window and water mark formulations indicate that the FICN paper on regular currency making machines can only be owned by a sovereign country or state. “Most of the pivotal parameters of the paper like density (GSM) wax pick quotient, poly vinyl alcohol and PH values were found matching with the legal tender of Pakistan” according to NIA.
All these details have been made available to the Parliament Standing Committee and concurred by Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), the Intelligence Bureau and the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). The matter is therefore, very serious and urgent steps should be taken not only by RBI in expediting their planned action to introduce polymer Rupee notes in higher denominations but also the Security agencies all over the country, particularly, on the land borders to totally stop smuggling of the fake currencies notes.
Moneylife would concede that RBI may be tight-lipped on the issue of their plans but after having received the test market reaction, time has now come for large scale plans to pump in trillions of dollars worth Rs500 and Rs1,000 polymer notes and demonetise the paper currency of the same denomination to nullify the effect of fake currency notes. Admittedly, a large quantity of fake currency notes has been "found" by bankers, who have been advised to withhold them to prevent further circulation.
As a word of caution for overseas travellers to the above destinations, it would be in their own interest neither to take high value Indian rupee currency notes nor to be stupid enough to "buy" the Indian currency abroad. These are more likely to be fake than anything else. In any case, beyond the authorised limit, no one should take in or take out the currency in the first place!
Any assurance from the Reserve Bank Governor in this matter would be welcomed by the concerned public, as fake currencies may play a role in the ensuing elections.
Earlier articles on fake currency racket:
Read an earlier story about counterfeit notes over here
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)