I worked in a cancer lab for a couple summers, back when I was deluded into thinking I was premed. It was actually pretty interesting stuff. The lab I worked in right before college dealt with these new ideas about controlling tumors. Tumors are cells gone wrong so they rapidly grow. The thing is, to grow, they need a greater blood supply, so they need to grow new blood vessels. The idea was, you prevent the development of new blood vessels in these tumors, and by doing that you starve their growth.
The lab I was in studied a particular class of drugs that did these called retinoids, if I remember correctly. Anyway, it was all interesting stuff, but all kind of cutting edge, years away from practical use, I think.
So I was really happy a while back when I read some news articles about recent medical research where this type of treatment is being used successfully. It was exactly the type of research the lab I was in was doing, and it was being used clinically with promising results. I dunno, that just made me happy, that the general stuff we were studying now looks promising practically.
I know practically nothing about medicine, just 2 summers in lab. But at least for those 2 summers, medical research isn’t like Dave describes medicine to be. It’s not like they randomly try things and see if it works without any understanding of how it does. I mean, some research does this. But I wouldn’t say that’s representative of medicine as a whole. Of course, since I know nothing about medicine, this might be all out of me arse.
But yeah, that summer, what it was was research based on ideas based on understandings of how things worked in the body. Tumors grow this way. So how about trying this thing to control it? Focused research based on good understanding. I dunno, I found that encouraging.
Is that molecular biology or research on the “human body”? No clue. Dunno what the difference is really.
Also, dunno if you read that Newsweek feature on alternative medicine a few months back. But yeah, traditional western medicine seems to be embracing alternative medicine more and more. I’m sure there’s still significant opposition. But more and more, it’s happening.