After spending billions of dollars, the giant pharmaceutical companies and scientists were able to come up with a vaccine for COVID 19 in little more than a year’s time.
As with most things involving billions of dollars there are serious issues regarding equity and access to the vaccine.
Yet the success at creating the vaccine in a short time is stunning to me, even as we need to address the inequities.
I’ve been thinking about cancer a lot lately.
I have written about the thousands of global cancer deaths that resulted from the nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1950s. Above ground nuclear testing in Nevada, just 300 miles north of where I grew up in Los Angeles, led to frequent nuclear clouds above my home and poisonous fallout circling the earth.
My mother had Hodgkin lymphoma at the time. Was her death from nuclear fallout? Nobody can say.
The Chicago Tribune has a story about ethylene oxide, an industrial produced carcinogen.
The Trib reports that for the past at least four years two Illinois-based companies have failed to report emissions to the Toxics Release Inventory of the Environmental Protection Agency.
A Medline Industries plant in north suburban Waukegan last appeared in the inventory during the mid-2000s, even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency later determined the facility has been responsible for some of the nation’s highest cancer risks from air pollution.
Oak Brook-based Sterigenics stopped filing annual reports with the EPA in 2018, the same year neighbors and political leaders fought to shut down one of the company’s sterilization plants in west suburban Willowbrook.
Exposure to even small concentrations dramatically increases the chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer, leukemia and lymphomas during a person’s life.
Last month, the EPA’s inspector general reported that industry-connected political appointees in the Trump administration blocked the agency from investigating ethylene oxide polluters and prevented career staff from warning Americans about the hazards.
Another report from the inspector general, released a year ago, condemned Trump appointees for failing to schedule public meetings about ethylene oxide in 16 of the 25 communities across the nation where the lifetime risk of developing cancer exceeds agency guidelines, including two in Lake County.
On another personal note, yesterday I had my six month follow up MRI.
On November 7, at the very moment that the vote defeating Donald Trump was announced, I was having surgery to remove a kidney with a cancerous tumor
The good news is that the MRI shows no recurrent cancer. I will be checked again in six months.
The tumor they removed was a papillary renal carcinoma. Papillary renal cell carcinoma (prcc) accounts for 10-15% of the total renal cancers, or 6 to 9,000 cases a year. The other type, way more common, is known as clear cell renal cancer.
The National Cancer Institute reports that there are around 8 different therapies for treating clear cell renal cancer.
There are no therapies for treating papillary renal cancer.
That’s the one I had that was surgically removed.
In a recent study by the National Cancer Institute, African-Americans who contracted kidney cancer were more likely to have papillary renal carcinoma than were white people. This may be related to the sickle-cell genetic disorder, however, there have been no studies that verify this association.
There has never been any research for therapies to treat papillary renal carcinoma.
No trials for any treatment therapies at all.
Profits drive research and there’s not enough of us to make it profitable.