Trouble at the lab

A few years ago scientists at Amgen, an American drug company, tried to replicate 53 studies that they considered landmarks in the basic science of cancer, often co-operating closely with the original researchers to ensure that their experimental technique matched the one used first time round. According to a piece they wrote last year in Nature, a leading scientific journal, they were able to reproduce the original results in just six. [emphasis mine]

No wonder cancer treatments have such a low recovery rates.

When an official at America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) reckons, despairingly, that researchers would find it hard to reproduce at least three-quarters of all published biomedical findings, the public part of the process seems to have failed.

Academic scientists ... hold fast to the idea that these errors get corrected over time as other scientists try to take the work further. Evidence that many more dodgy results are published than are subsequently corrected or withdrawn calls that much-vaunted capacity for self-correction into question.

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Wanting to stay positive for those of us who have cancer or are touched by cancer second hand....

I view that news as part of the self correcting aspect of science. The fact is, scientific research changes all of the time and there are always corrections, further refinements, and debunking.

Example includes my own cancer. 10 years ago life expectency was a year or teo after diagnosis. Now mre than 90% are alive at 5 years. of those about 40% are cancer free. All of that progress was from molecular level and beyond, research. Mainly govt funded.

Similar for many other cancers - leukemias, lymphomas, breast cancers, colon cancer, and many more.

Those research findings might sound troubling but they do not reflect the amazing progress that touches and benefits uncounted lives. The bottom line - what is called "enidence based medicine" is scientific research has been phenomenal

I want to be realistic and live with my eyes wide open, no illusions. I also want not to feel more disillusioned than necessary!

Good reply Sentient.  No illusions, but no more disillusionment than necessary.  I usually think of the negative first, and need to hear more positives like you gave.

Thank you Spud. I sometimes also look at the glass as half empty.... but usually I view it at the 50% point, neither half empty nor half full.

Strangley I think I have moved a toward being a bit more optimistic, since Having cancer. not wanting to psychoanalyze myself too much, so I dont know why. Maybe Ive had to let go of some mental and emotional burdens, and dis overing there really are some people whose lives I have touched, who I appreciate too.

I would agree with Spud

Another positive example is cervical cancer. It used to be a death sentence killing millions of young women. Now its treatable by routine screening, the virus that causes it is known, there is a widely recommened and effective vaccine against that virus. In the US deaths from cervical cancer are a fraction of what they used to be. Sadly many do not have access to screening treatment and vaccines - Africa - where the death rate is high. Thats not due to lab research, its because of society.

I cant link via my device so no references this time. But Again, the evidence is strong snd overwhelming that cancer research has a real and highly beneficial impact on countless lives.

Good vs. bad research. How is a layperson to know the difference? We read and listen to all sides and come away confused and frustrated. I've read just about every study that comes up on Google, and am more confused. 

This report was paid for by Monsanto:

New analysis of a rat feeding study with a genetically modified mai...

GE Séralini, D Cellier, JS De Vendomois, ...

A 90-day rat-feeding study.

Longer experiments are essential in order to indicate the real nature and extent of the possible pathology/ with the present data it cannot be concluded that GM corn MON863 is a safe product. 


This is a review of the published literature: 

Toxicity Studies of Genetically Modified Plants: A Review of the Published Literature

José L. Domingoa Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, School of Medicine , “Rovira I Virgili” University , San Lorenzo, 21, 43201, Reus, Spain

“In this paper, the scientific information concerning the potential toxicity of GM/transgenic plants using the Medline database is reviewed. Studies about the safety of the potential use of potatoes, corn, soybeans, rice, cucumber, tomatoes, sweet pepper, peas, and canola plants for food and feed were included. The number of references was surprisingly limited. Moreover, most published studies were not performed by the biotechnology companies that produce these products. This review can be concluded raising the following question: where is the scientific evidence showing that GM plants/food are toxicologically safe?




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