Incredible as it may seem, it is still not generally recognised that this is the main mechanism whereby cancerous cells are selectively destroyed in the living body. - 2 - A few years after the project began isolated reports in the medical ...
Author: N. Jones Robert N. Jones
Category: Biography & Autobiography
SYNOPSIS A few decades ago mention of cancer emerged from hushed embarrassed silence into the brightness of the public arena. Previously the affliction had been referred to as little as possible; its victims were described as having died `after a long illness'. Once the disease was out of the shadows fear, hopelessness, pain, tragedy, bereavement and enforced loneliness came to be openly spoken and written about. The gigantic costs of modern treatments, sometimes causing homes to be mortgaged in the illusory hope of saving loved ones, bring commerce, politics and financial blackmail into noisy public collision. In the world of books what began as a slender trickle of cancer experiences and biographies has become a flood. A similar phenomenon attends Alzheimer's disease today. Always victims and relatives occupy centre stage; doctors and scientists sensibly remain silent. One reason may be the poor record of success. One in three of the UK population will at some time be diagnosed with the disease; only a twelfth will survive. In cancer treatment there has not been a great deal to celebrate. The present autobiography grabs the vacant ground, and covers almost half the life of a scientist dedicated to finding a solution to the most difficult problem faced by medicine ancient and modern. Let the reader not be put off by the word science in the title. In the experience of the author the dichotomy between science and the arts, eloquently described by CP Snow in his famous lecture The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, has taken on the form of resentment towards science. In a modern society, where so much of the ease of our existence is due to the advances made by science and technology, everybody has a social duty to keep him/herself informed. The benefits of science are everywhere around us. Cars, aeroplanes, Tvs, computers, medicine; the list is endless. Nobody can afford to ignore its myriad manifestations, and that includes stories of discovery and politics. Some individuals parade their ignorance of science as a badge of honour; their idle and insidious attitudes are dangerous for us all. But all is not well. Anyone who believes that the conduct of research and administration in cancer is guided by decency, morality and integrity is in for a violent shock. The world of science is presented in the raw. Nothing is spared, not even the author himself. Intrigue, ruthless double-dealing, commercial pressures, jealousy, deceit, sabotage, corruption and betrayal, especially the irreversible professional damage caused by drug-induced psychosis in a senior colleague, enliven the narrative. The scientific content has been simplified with a predominantly lay readership in mind; for easy avoidance the more technical passages, comprising 3% of the text, are rendered in italics. A glossary and an index are appended. The peculiar arrival in 1974 of a radical idea led to a discovery which opened up an entirely new perspective on cancer treatment. Seriously disadvantaged by already being in his early forties at the commencement of the project, about to be out of a job, and lacking a medical qualification, the author was beguiled into making the naive and foolish error that, once established, a concept which humanely revolutionised the field of cancer therapy could not but find acceptance. The idea was simple, original and elegant; namely, that disrupting energy metabolism within cancer cells might perhaps be the key to controlling the growth of malignant tumours. In fact the concept turned out to be a revolutionary discovery. Incredible as it may seem, it is still not generally recognised that this is the main mechanism whereby cancerous cells are selectively destroyed in the living body. - 2 - A few years after the project began isolated reports in the medical literature of cancer regression in patients treated with relatively innocuous well-known drugs long out of patent we