Cancer, the final frontier…
As a young person I was fascinated by the movie Fantastic Voyage which was released in 1966 as a medical Sci-Fi. The people of the day had some great imaginations.
As I age, I know too many people with cancer of some sort.
Working in Houston Texas for some time, I spent 15 years in the Texas Medical Center working with all sorts of Doctors and other health care professionals, from many different specialties.
Some things I witnessed, still haunt me in my dreams; and that was some time ago. Occasionally something will stir a vison or a memory from some rogue smell which, will catapult me back to those days of working in the bowels of the medical center, and different hospitals.
Still yet, some things which are puzzling; stay just below the surface of my conscious while I am supposedly there at dinner with friends or watching something on TV or even reading a book, or writing this as I am now, some puzzles are “back ground tasking.”
This morning I was reading about a friend of mine going through cancer treatment when it hit me, most likely we all have cancer cells running around our body.
Cancer cells and “oncologist correct me if I am mistaken” are nothing more than cells that have mutated via an error in the genetic instructions either given to it or, it mis-understood them and erroneously created a cell that is flawed in some way.
When we hear of a cancer we hear of it like “they had cancer of the X.” Fill in the blanks with whatever was effected by the cancer whether it be the breast or prostate or brain or what have you.
The problem with cancer is that we don’t detect it until it has made millions of cells that are duplicates of screwed up cells. The millions of cells turn in to what we know as tumors which are really nothing more than globs of screwed up cells that don’t know how to assimilate into the body so they form a tumor.
What causes this mis-communication between cells can be blamed on many things from smoking to cosmic radiation.
Cancer needs to be addressed at the genetic level and for that we must necessarily understand the genome in its entirety. Once we understand what each little bit of the genome does we can look for errant cells and target them with something like a virus, yes a manmade virus that looks for specific types of cells and kills them.
That technology is in our future but I believe that is where we need to go to stop cancer and other diseases like aids and even the common cold.
My issue with this frankly is our technology always seems to outpace our humanity.
While some doctors in some lab are thinking that they are saving the world, some military minded megalomaniac wants to know how it can be used as a weapon.
Can we make a virus that only effects the blood type of a certain people or animal or pick your target.
Maybe you want to create a herbicide that only kills a certain plant so you modify this virus to attack the cells or genetics of that particular plant.
The problem is of course that these things mutate and thus are unstable, and thus on the loose can wreak havoc much like the plague or other flu related pandemics of our history. Ebola is one such virus that needs no introduction. Any virus created must contain an expiration date. It must die on its own accord and must be stable.
The cure for cancer and other such diseases I firmly believe will be created in a lab by someone who thinks outside the box.
Most probable this cure will take lives before it cures them, much like radiation took so many lives before it played a part in curing them.
Understanding the genome will open the doors for many opportunities. Stop the aging process and allow people to live really long times. Is that a good thing? I am not certain.
Arrest diseases which currently ravage our humanity in ways that we live with currently but; in decades to come some historian will write: can you believe that people died of things like the flue? How backward!
Friends, some of us are indeed backwards. Those that would seek to weaponized things like the “genome” are backwards.
Those that think that they are somehow special and better than others to the degree of wishing others harm, are backwards.
Great care needs to be applied when exploring the virus that will end up being a cure for such things as all living things on this planet share parts of the genome.
When we understand it, we will see that parts of the human genome contain things that are found in other animals and even the plants.
You can use this argument for evolution or God and creation. I could argue it either way. I tend to believe that there is intelligence in the design of everything that we see so, the scientist in me believes that there is a creator of all things; and we simply don’t understand or comprehend why….
“Cancer the final frontier” is really a misnomer but, it is the beginning of, and the driving force for what will end up either being the salvation of man on this planet, or its demise.
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