9.25.12 - I was doing some homework the other night, and stumbled across a report by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the treatment of cancer that floored me.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, has been touched by cancer in one way or another. So when I started out Tuesday's show by saying it would be a "must-listen" hour, that's exactly what it was. This is stunning news in every sense of the word.
I had two prestigious guests, who told me researchers are in a position to make dramatic strides on cancer mortality rates in the next five to ten years.
I was joined by Gupta, the Emmy-Award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN, and Dr. Ronald Depinho, President of M. D. Anderson Hospital.
Both told me that within five years, they expect that there will be far fewer people dying from cancers of the prostate, skin, lung, blood, also Triple Negative breast and ovarian cancers. They expect death from these cancers to be as rare as dying from pneumonia.
In fact, these two doctors told me that a cure is in sight within a decade, thanks to billions being spent on focused research.
"Essentially what this is…is a very goal-oriented effort, action-oriented, to do something about cancer mortality," Depinho said. "What's very exciting about this moment in history is that we have a number of game-changing technological advances that allows us to understand cancer on a fundamental level."
Depinho says these new efforts will lead, and are leading to new treatments, better detection, and better preventative measures against cancer.
"This is a new day from a technological and conceptual standpoint, and we wanted to harness the power of MD Anderson...and its critical mass of 19,000 employees to bring that technological capability on this major problem that is facing humanity," Dephino told me.
Dr. Gupta told me he was "stunned" when he visited MD Anderson and was told of their ambitious goals and predictions.
"I said, are you guys using the ‘c word,’ the cure word with respect to cancer. And there was no equivocation, they say we absolutely are. We think, building on the knowledge we've had over the last few decades, we're going to be there in relatively short order."
Gupta said the energy and focus being placed into this full-frontal assault on cancer is unprecedented.
"You have a situation where a lot of people have been talking about significant breakthroughs in cancer for some time...but, you have the head of the largest cancer center in the world saying, we're calling this a ‘Moon Shot Program,’ likening the energy and enthusiasms to what President Kennedy did for the space program," Gupta said. "What we know right now...If we apply the science we have right now, we can dramatically reduce cancer death rate within the next few years."
It is truly stunning and hopeful news that many, many people may soon be able to survive a disease that has taken so much from so many of us.
In an upcoming show, I'll be speaking with Michael Tanner, Senior Fellow with the Cato Institute, to talk about the future costs of patients living longer after surviving cancers that, today, may kill many.
For now, it is truly stunning and hopeful news that many, many people may soon be able to survive a disease that has taken so much from so many of us.