EDITORIAL: NON-NATURAL NATURAL
From The Cancer Chronicles #29
© September 1995 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
Recently the new director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Richard
Klausner, told the New York Times that he favors the development of "non-natural
natural products" as a "new way" of discovering anticancer drugs. Instead
of searching for new drugs through "tedious drug-screening programs that
involved testing molecules from the soil or from plants to see if any could,
by chance, kill cancer cells," Dr. Klausner favors creating entirely new
molecules in the test tube.
In that way, things that start out as natural products (e.g., bacteria)
can be cleverly modified to become rationally designed drugs.
"We can dramatically speed up evolution by mutating these genes ourselves,"
Dr. Klausner says. "We can make millions of mutations."
This idea isn't new. In cancer, rational drug design has been around
since the late 1940's (e.g., N Engl J Med 1948;238:787-793). Everyone
knows that this has led to very few valuable agents, despite an enormous
expenditure of money and brainpower over the decades.
The interview with Dr. Klausner left me feeling letdown, to put it mildly.
He has been promoted as a reformer, and seems sincere and well-intentioned.
But now I think we are looking at years of the same-old same-old at NCI.
NCI and the drug company are ignoring the obvious. There are real, natural
natural products out there that have already shown effectiveness around
the world. But because these are difficult to successfully patent or to
monopolize scientists are driven to chemically modify them on behalf of
the profit motive. That process makes them less effective, foreign to
the body, and usually very toxic.
Dr. Klausner¹s talk about "non-natural natural" takes us in the wrong
direction. This issue of the Chronicles is an extended reply to the director.
It highlights just a few of the "natural natural" products that deserve
intensive study. These deserve first priority in any rational anti-cancer
articles on people
Home - Moss reports - Coronavirus
- Free Image Hosting - Books - Contact - Order - News - Members - Chronicles - FAQ - Free email newsletter