Category Archives: Research

Cancer Research UK – working for Big Pharma – Part 1

Cancer Research UKWhy is the British public funding Cancer Research UK? Where is all that money going? What is your hard earned cash being used for? Donations you have given in good faith. Where is the promised cure that was given to us decades ago?

What happens to your donations?

Apart from paying wages and overheads, your donations will be used to help large pharmaceuticals like Merck and AstraZeneca. In effect, you are funding one of the richest industries in the world. As I see it, the only benefit for the ‘race for life’ run is that you’re exercising yourself, keeping yourself fit and having a good time with your friends and relatives whilst remembering lost loved ones to a disease that, supposedly, has no cure.

As for the money you accrue by doing that run, well heaven knows what it will end up funding.  But be assured it will not be used as you would wish it and a pharmaceutical company will be getting the benefit of your generousity.

CEO of CRUKEarnings of the CEOMichelle Mitchell CEO

By the way, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Sir Harpal Kumar, earns around £240,000 a year. Michelle Mitchell OBE has been appointed as CEO of Cancer Research UK, replacing Sir Harpal Kumar who is due to stand down in the summer of 2018. Personally, I think this is a wage not in keeping with the spirit of a charity. Half that amount would be plenty for most people. But that’s just my opinion.

What does CRUK do?

So, what does CRUK do? It does research and development (R&D) of possible viable cancer drugs. If a pharmaceutical company likes the look of the drug it will take over from Cancer Research UK with the view to making high profits from it.

KeytrudaKeytruda for Instance

Take Keytruda for instance, which is made by Merck. Much of the initial R&D was done by CRUK. Merck liked the look of it and decided to take over. It had good potential. Potential for what you might ask. Potential for big profits that’s what! This particular drug, has many unpleasant side effects and has an information sheet which is 53 pages showing just the ‘highlights’ according to its heading. By the way, this is not the information leaflet the patient receives.

What the doctor has to do

There are numerous side effects and contra indiciations that the prescribing doctor has to watch out for. Doctors have enough to do without ploughing through 53 pages of instructions about contra indications he has to control. What if the patient doesn’t realize a side effect is from his medication? Most patients just accept they will feel ill from medication. How can a doctor keep tabs on all his cancer patients who will likely haveoverworked different side effects?

As a result, I would suggest that it is impossible to expect a medic to be in control of all the drugs he prescribes. It is a recipe for disaster, and many patients die from prescription medicine. The third leading cause of death in the US is from iatrogenic causes. I don’t know the figure for Europe or the UK.

And how much does this cancer drug cost?

Incidently, how much does this drug cost? Keytruda costs about $12,500 a month, or $150,000 a year. Is it worth it? Well you decide after reading the side effects. That’s if you have the time to go through the whole information sheet.

Cancer Research UK – modus operandi

CRUKDr Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK’s director of drug development explains: The basic framework is zero cost upfront to the partner {the pharmaceutical company}. We then will develop a program of work, there’s then an opt-point, normally at the end of Phase Ia but sometimes Phase Ib, and they get to review all the data and decide if they want to license it from us; there’s then normally payment to license it from us but it tends to be pretty modest at that stage – we tend to back-end things more; and then look for milestones, through Phase II and III, and then royalties if a product reaches the market.”

“The commercial sector is all about returning a profit for shareholders, or return investments for venture capital for early-stage companies and such like. I’ve worked in the commercial sector for 30 years and it does lead you towards certain decisions – ultimately you’ve got to make sales, you’ve got to make a profit, you’ve got to keep shareholders happy – and it shapes decisions in a certain way.”

What a revealing statement!

I don’t like this statement, it implies that money is more important than the health of the people… you know, those people that keep these large consortiums in business. I can remember reading about an interview with a pharma industry analyst, he said:

“When conducting drug clinical trials, we are concerned about two disasters: One disaster is that you kill people. The other disaster is that you cure them. The truly good drugs are ones that you can use for a long time…”

Very generous of you and CRUK!
Cancer Research UK
“This pill you take twice a day before meals. This pill you take right after I tell you what these pills cost”

Hence this looks like a very good deal for the pharmaceutical company involved. They have no risk and much of the donkey work is done by CRUK. If they don’t like the outcome of CRUK’s research, or can see no decent profits from marketing the drug, they just walk away. In other words, pharmaceuticals are looking for a drug that they can keep selling to the patient year on year, not a cure. A cure for cancer would give them high profits briefly, but once the public had been cured, what happens to all the sales of cancer drugs and treatments? Oh, and I forgot, what happens to the poor, poor shareholders!!

Does this help the patient?

So how does this help the patient? We are all looking for a cure for this dreaded disease from the likes of CRUK. Patients get at best, a stay of execution. Once any remission reaches 5 years, it is called a success. No matter if the patient dies a day, a month or a year after that cut off point, statistically the patient is cured. After 10 years, your doctor may say you are cured, but statistics are the figures your doctor will give you when you ask about the likelihood of a cure.

5 year cureCancer Research UK website

As a point of interest, this is what CRUK put on their website: “Most cancers that are going to come back will do so in the first 2 years or so after treatment. After 5 years, you are even less likely to get a recurrence. For some types of cancer, after 10 years your doctor may say that you are cured.”

Real survival rates from chemotherapy

These are the real survival rates according to research “The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies”:

  • The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.
  • When one of the authors of this study was approached about the change in these figures to reflect todays rates he reported that there was no change. The above study was done in 2004. Check out the 5 minute video about chemotherapy in the US.

It’s the uncertainly that blights your life

Consequently, with a cure, you have a future. You know you are cured and you can live out the rest of your life being healthy and enjoying your good health. But with the uncertainty and fear that your cancer may return, your life is blighted. Some have problems carrying on with life and making new plans for the future. As a result, depression and unhappiness is very common. Also many patients have a change of personalty and mentality because of this constant worry.

Drugs are not the answer

This is not a cure. Drugs are not the answer. A change of lifestyle and I don’t mean just the patient, I mean the food manufacturers, the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the government and their corrupt agencies.  All those that make a fortune out of other peoples’ misery and death, they’re the ones that need to change their modus operandi.

Ches PowerSo, in part two we will look at the trustworthiness of the pharmaceutical industry and what some eminent professionals say about their fraud and illegal practices.

Are there doctors out there curing cancer without traditional treatments… you betcha!

What is an SEM?

scent scale
Large white butterfly (Pieris brassicae) scent scale which disseminates pheromones to attract a mate. Magnification x1628 at 10cm wide. SEM

I asked my husband Andrew, to explain exactly what is an SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) and how does it work.  I thought it would be of interest to those of you out there who are a bit technical and curious.  The SEM is a very much used tool, especially in the realms of research.  Without it research work would be very limited and we would not be as far forward in knowledge as we are today.

So here’s a list of the main types of microscopes that are out there:

  • LM (Light Microscope) which uses light.
  • SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) using electrons
  • TEM (transmission electron microscope) using electrons.
  • CFM (Confocal Microscope) which uses laser light.
  • STM (Scanning Tunneling Microscope) using atomic forces.
  • ATM (Atomic Force Microscope) also using atomic forces.

Continue reading What is an SEM?