"The time has come to put major emphasis on the soil." i.e., change the underlying cause of the disease in the human body that allows cancer to thrive and grow! 2004 Isaiah Fidler, MD, Univ. of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Watch: Turning Your Cancer Against Itself
Watch: Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, Pulitzer Prize Winner & Oncologist
"Soon We Will Kill Cancer with a Cell, not a Pill" Current medical treatment boils down to six words: Have disease, take pill, kill something. But physician Siddhartha Mukherjee points to a future of medicine that will transform the way we heal.
While discussing a diagnosis with a patient, Siddhartha Mukherjee realized that there were no easy answers to the question, “What is cancer?” Faced with his hesitation, Mukherjee decided to do something about it.
Over the next six years, Mukherjee wrote the influential, Pulitzer-winning "The Emperor of All Maladies." a 4,000-year “biography” of cancer. He collaborated with Ken Burns on a six-hour documentary for PBS based on his book, updating the story with recent discoveries in oncology. In his new TED Book, "The Laws of Medicine," he examines the three principles that govern modern medicine -- and every profession that confronts uncertainty and wonder.
Cancer is a genetic disease, an illness caused by mutations in genes. Until the early 2000s, most scientists had examined cancer cells one gene at a time. But once we could examine thousands of genes in parallel, the true complexity of cancers became evident. The human genome has about twenty-four thousand genes in total. In some cancers, up to a hundred and twenty genes were altered — one in every two hundred genes — while in others, only two or three genes were mutated. (Why do some cancers carry such complexity, while others are genetically simpler? Even the questions were unexpected — much less the answers.)
The capacity to examine thousands of genes in parallel, without making any presuppositions about the mutant genes, allowed researchers to find novel, previously unknown genetic associations with cancer. Some of the newly discovered mutations in cancer were truly unexpected: it turned out the genes did not control growth directly, but affected the metabolism of nutrients or chemical modifications of DNA. If cancer cells were dependent on mutant genes for their survival or growth — “addicted” to the mutations, as biologists liked to describe it — then targeting these addictions with specific molecules might force cancer cells to die. The battle-ax chemical poisons of cellular growth would become obsolete at last.
Watch:Paula Hammond, Ph.D "A new super-weapon in the fight against cancer." Cancer is a very clever, adaptable disease. To defeat it, says medical researcher and educator Paula Hammond, we need a new and powerful mode of attack. With her colleagues at MIT, Hammond engineered a nanoparticle one-hundredth the size of a human hair that can treat the most aggressive, drug-resistant cancers. Learn more about this molecular superweapon and join Hammond's quest to fight a disease that affects us all. Paula Hammond, head of MIT's Department of Chemical Engineering, is developing new technologies to kill cancer cells.
Watch: Jorge Soto: The Future of Early Cancer Detection? Along with a crew of technologists and scientists, Jorge Soto is developing a simple, noninvasive, open-source test that looks for early signs of multiple forms of cancer. Onstage at TEDGlobal 2014, he demonstrates a working prototype of the mobile platform for the first time.
Watch Ted Danino - Liver cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect, but synthetic biologist Tal Danino had a left-field thought: What if we could create a probiotic, edible bacteria that was "programmed" to find liver tumors? His insight exploits something we're just beginning to understand about bacteria: their power of quorum sensing, or doing something together once they reach critical mass.
Watch David Agus, MD: A new strategy in the war on cancer.
Traditionally, Dr. David Agus, MD, explains short-sighted focus on the offending individual cells. He suggests a new, cross-disciplinary approach, using atypical drugs, computer modeling and protein analysis to treat and analyze the whole body.