We need to ‘C’ the big picture

What drives this editor nuts faster than almost anything else? Conspiracy theories about pharma and biotech, particularly the ones that insist that companies are sitting on the cure for cancer so that they can get ever richer on non-curative therapies for the disease.

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Even if you manage to avoid it on Facebook or Twitter, either by following only people who don’t share every fringe theory or by avoiding being online for the most part at all, I’m sure most of you have “that” friend or relative offline—the one who believes in the most outlandish conspiracy theories.
And, apologies to anyone reading this who believes the Freemasons are secretly controlling every aspect of government and business via the Illuminati or who thinks UFOs dropped off the pyramids in Egypt, but…oh, I’m not going to apologize. The evidence is not in your favor on those.
In fact, the evidence isn’t in favor of most conspiracy theories. By that, I mean the big-C conspiracy theories, the ones worthy of an “X-Files” episode or a special feature in The National Enquirer. Obviously, conspiracies exist. Governments, organizations, criminal empires, corporations and individuals are all capable of conspiracies. The thing of it is, though, that most conspiracies come out. They are revealed. Especially in this day and age, keeping a secret isn’t easy. The bigger it is, the harder it is to keep. And you know the old saying about how the only way to keep a secret is to not tell anyone else about it. And how many people can carry off a major conspiracy solo, eh?
Conspiracies can go on for years, sometimes even decades (though less so the latter with the advent of the Internet and such). But they can almost never go on forever without seeing the light of day.
And so it drives me nuts whenever I see (and I see it often enough that I may need psychiatric help soon) someone remark online that the pharma industry is hiding the cure to cancer so that it can keep selling drugs to people to treat their cancer, because that’s more lucrative. Yes, the big-C conspiracy about the Big C. It drives me bonkers because, as most of you know, the pharma industry consists of numerous companies all looking for the next big blockbuster, and what would rocket any one company to the top of the heap faster than a cure for cancer? The short-range profit thinking of many companies these days, driven in part by shareholders, is reason enough that I can’t imagine any one of them sitting on such a find.
Not to mention the fact that believing there’s a cure for cancer being hidden away out there assumes that cancer is a single thing, that all cancers are alike. And there are few notions more inaccurate than that in the world.
Finally, such a cancer conspiracy would have to rely on the fact that thousands of researchers, medical professionals and others were willing to suppress their oaths and/or their drive to share knowledge and be complicit in keeping this a secret.
Self-interest, desire for attention and other aspects of basic human nature tell me that pharma hiding the cure for cancer may be less likely than UFOs dropping off the pyramids as a favor to the ancient Egyptians. And I’m still waiting for someone to claim pharma is hiding the cure to the common cold in order to keep selling cold remedies. Why just limit the conspiracies to the killers like cancer and HIV/AIDs?
And this rant of mine won’t be the only thing you see about our old foe the Big C. In fact, we have an entire special report in this June issue titled “Body, heal thyself” from Features Editor Randall C Willis that talks about how researchers are increasingly going after cancer by tapping the immune system, which has always been nature's key weapon of choice in fighting disease. Our cover features two cancer stories, and more are scattered throughout the issue in our other sections, as usual. We also have in the editorial/commentary section of this month's DDNews (along with what you're reading right now and a column by Peter Kissinger) a reprint of a recent guest commentary that ran on our Cancer Research News site at www.ddncancer.com.
Though, I will admit that aside from the special report and the guest commentary, our coverage—news coverage, that is—of oncology issues might be slimmer than normal this month, because in the theme of “C,” I also have a focus on “see” this issue, thanks in part to the recent annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, which dumped quite a lot of ophthalmology-related stories in my inbox as I was planning for this June issue. You’ll find most of the “see” stuff in the Preclinical and Clinical Trials sections.
All right. Time to go online and see if I can find out more about Area 51 and the alien technology that FIFA is using to control soccer/football fans globally.

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