A Real Wonder Drug?
Posted: 15 August 2012 09:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This sounds too good to be true.

BCG is first and foremost the world’s most common tuberculosis vaccine, and was first used in humans all the way back in 1921. Made from a weakened strain of live bovine tuberculosis bacteria, it’s been show to be up to 80 percent effective in preventing TB for a duration of 15 years, depending on geographical location. That’s pretty impressive, which is why—US aside—it’s shoved into many a childhood arm around the world. But that’s just the beginning.

Cancer killer

Jumping from TB to cancer is quite a leap, but it’s one BCG has made time and again. As far back as 1979, a clinical trial declared that “BCG is beneficial in the treatment of lung cancer”. Then, in 1991, a study published in the new England Journal of Medicine suggested that the BCG vaccine offered strong protection against the recurrence of bladder cancer.

There’s a lot more, and if the article’s to be believed, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what the drug can do.

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Posted: 16 August 2012 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Read what the World Health Organization has to say about the BCG Vaccine. Yes, it is helpful, and it has been in use for more than 80 years. However, the BCG vaccine does not prevent TB infection. BCG is not a miracle drug. The few studies linked in the article appear promising, but science is based on repeated studies coming to the same conclusion. The scientific community is apparently conducting further research on BCG, but these things take time. As with most things on Gizmodo the author leapt to a conclusion then sensationalized the information to make the research sound more convincing than it is actually is.

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Posted: 16 August 2012 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I still think good old aspirin is the original wonder drug. Cures headaches, in small doses keeps veins from clogging (i think by thinning blood), and when having a heart attack you’re supposed to immediately pop one in and start chewing. Pretty impressive for such a mundane thing.

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Posted: 16 August 2012 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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If the term “wonder drug” is to be used it should be reserved for drugs that truly are revolutionary; drugs that change the world. Things like the first antibiotic, Small pox vaccine etc. Unfortunately the media pastes this label on every new development in the world of pharmaceuticals.

BCG is far from such a drug. BCG was developed as a TB vaccine and has been used in some countries for years but it’s efficacy has always been questionable. Studies have shown varying degree of efficacy ranging from 80% to as low as 14% and it seems to vary according to geographic location for some reason. For this reason it has never been used for mass vaccination in the United States but has been in many european countries.

It has been used as adjunctive therapy in bladder cancer and can significantly reduce recurrence although it is certainly not a miracle cure. It is being investigated for other applications as well but it there is insufficient evidence to support using it as standard therapy in any of those diseases yet.

BCG is by no means alone in this regard. Many drugs that were once designed for a given purpose are later found to have new benefits due to previously unknown mechanisms. Happily the law of unintended consequences works not just to our detriment but also to our advantage at times.

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Posted: 16 August 2012 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Most ‘miracle’ cures don’t satisfy my definition of miracle.  cool smile

Take care,

Derek

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