::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact

Cancers can't speak

June 1st, 2012
health, antibiotics, cancer  [html]
As soon as we start using a new antibiotic the clock is ticking because bacteria start evolving defenses to it, making it less and less useful. Eventually resistant bacteria will be common enough that we need to start using a new one.

Cancer isn't like this: each person's cancer is independent from everyone else's. Which means that if we develop an effective cancer drug we don't have to worry about cancers becoming resistant to it. Sure, an individual's cancer might not respond to it, but we don't have to worry about this becoming more and more common as we distribute the drug more widely.

The key difference is that cancer isn't contagious. It has no way to take what it's learned about resisting some drug and put that to use in another person. While bacteria left behind in your body after you stop a course of antibiotics early, the ones that had some innate resistance to the antibiotic you were taking, can go on to breed more resistant bacteria and infect other people.

I'm thankful that different people's cancers can't speak to each other. If they had some way to pass along information the problem would be vastly harder because we wouldn't have to solve it just once, but over and over again as old solutions became less effective.

Comment via: google plus, facebook

Recent posts on blogs I like:

Transfers from Infrequent to Frequent Vehicles

Imagine yourself taking a train somewhere, and imagine the train is big and infrequent. Let’s say it’s the commuter train from New York down the Northeast Corridor to Newark Airport, or perhaps a low-cost OuiGo TGV from Lyon to Paris. Now imagine that you…

via Pedestrian Observations January 20, 2020

Veganism and restrictive eating

I’m reading the book Intuitive Eating, which I highly recommend. I was looking for something like it that could get me back to trusting my biological hunger without worrying that I need to control myself or my weight. It’s raised my consciousness to the w…

via Holly Elmore January 17, 2020

Algorithms interviews: theory vs. practice

When I ask people at trendy big tech companies why algorithms quizzes are mandatory, the most common answer I get is something like "we have so much scale, we can't afford to have someone accidentally write an O(n^2) algorithm and bring the site d…

via Posts on Dan Luu January 5, 2020

more     (via openring)

More Posts:


  ::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact