Two Extremes of Medicine

Wonderful medicine:

Two men have been cured of cancer, after being told they had 3-6 months to live. This was done by altering the body’s defence mechanisms so that they attacked cancerous cells:

Dr Stephen Rosenberg and his team isolated T cells from the cancer patients and multiplied them in the lab.

Next they used a virus to carry receptor genes into the T cells. These receptors are what enable the modified T cell to recognise specific cancers – in this case malignant melanoma.

When the modified T cells were transfused into the patients they began to attack the tumour cells.

15 other patients in the trial were not so lucky, but this is apparently a very promising procedure.

Disastrous medicine:

Previously, homeopathic ‘remedies’ were required to say “Homeopathic medicinal product without approved therapeutic indications” on the label. From today, however, the labels can instead claim to ‘treat’ medical conditions. According to Bad Science:

All you need is evidence of manufacturing quality and safety, and “bibliographic evidence that the product has been used in the indications sought”.

What you don’t need, of course, is any evidence that your tablets treat the thing you’re selling them as treating.

Homeopathy is theoretical and demonstrable nonsense. There is no rational argument to the contrary, and it’s unbelievable that this regulatory change has been made. The government body who made the decision to market magic as medicine describe themselves as follows (my emphasis):

[The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] is the government agency that is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe. We keep watch over medicines and devices, and we take any necessary action to protect the public promptly if there is a problem. No product is risk-free. Underpinning all our work lie robust and fact-based judgements to ensure that the benefits to patients and the public justify the risks.

That’s clearly untrue.