A breakthrough cancer therapy that can wipe out leukemia in some deathly ill children and young adults comes with an expensive, long-lasting side effect.
The blood cancer treatment, called CAR-T, is made by Novartis AG and is on the brink of approval after a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration backed it Wednesday in a 10-0 vote. It’s highly effective: In a clinical trial of patients who’d mostly run out of treatment options, 83 percent of patients who took it saw their disease go into remission.
A breakthrough? It sure is -- for Novartis.
You see, it works by killing off the B cells that, in their deranged state, cause the leukemia. No deranged cells, no leukemia. A win, right?
Not really. Those same cells are responsible for the majority of the immune system's ability to respond, which means that killing them also destroys most of the body's immune system capacity at the same time and, what's worse, in order for the cancer to remain in remission the damage has to remain too -- that is, it's permanent.
The fix for that is a custom-designed therapy for each person so-affected that can cost $10,000 per dose. Oh, and since the condition the "therapy" caused is permanent you need that custom-designed therapy for the rest of your life, meaning that the lifetime cost is going to easily be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and may reach well into the millions.
This "breakthrough" has all the markers for a massive extraction racket. Kids are cute, and kids with cancer are unassailable lest you be called a monster. The therapy does appear to work, but it works by destroying an essential part of the body's immune system which then has to be replaced or the person dies of some other disease that would not be serious for a not-compromised person at all. In other words a cold or the flu would kill such a person without said continuing lifetime treatment.
Folks, just because we can do a thing does not mean we should do it. "Conquering" leukemia by killing off the part of the body's immune system that has gone insane and caused the disease in the first place is only sane as a treatment modality if what you kill off via the treatment isn't necessary.
Sadly the part of the body's systems you kill off in this instance is necessary, and while we can attempt to "replace" it via technology the cost of doing so is hideous and impossible to consider as a matter of routine. Yet here we are, with the FDA likely to "approve" this "therapy" and in doing so it will set in motion a monstrous extraction machine that will force the people of this country to pay for every single sick kid that gets this therapy for the rest of their life.
This crap has to stop. It is part and parcel of why our medical system is destroying the country and that pharmaceutical companies are searching for and testing so-called "therapies" that come with universally hideous and outrageously-expensive "side effects" which then inures back to the benefit of said pharmaceutical companies is an outrage that must not be allowed to stand -- cute kids notwithstanding.
Go ahead and call me a monster -- I'm used to it. I take the moniker with full knowledge that by being said monster I prevent the destruction of the entire nation's finances, and thus on balance it's worth the name-calling that I'm sure will ensue.