Another “breakthrough” in prostate cancer research? Hmmm?

In a hype-laden media release from the 16th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 14th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine ongoing in Rhodes, Greece, comes another of those “breakthrough” claims with no actual data.

According to the media release, researchers based in Indianapolis, IN, have shown that a cocktail of “natural products” (botanical extracts, phytonutrients, botanically enhanced medicinal mushrooms, and antioxidants) “produced a statistically significant suppression of tumor growth, compared to controls” in a mouse model of hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

The media release contains absolutely no data whatsoever which could justify the statements made in the media release. We think we’ll wait to see whether anyone actually does a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial with this “breakthrough” product before we try to chase down the data presented in Rhodes (which is a perfectly lovely place to be able to go for a scientific meeting). You would think that members of the research community who wished to retain any degree of scientific credibility would have learned not to be associated with this type of media release by now — not to mention the institutions at which they work!

2 Responses

  1. If this were valid … who do you think would pay the enormous amount required to conduct a “randomized, placebo-controlled trial” with un-patentable natural ingredients?

    Seems a cure must come in the proper format with the ability to generate billions before it will be taken seriously … either by yourselves or the pharmaceutical companies.

  2. Robert:

    Historically, when natural products have shown real activity in the treatment of disease, the pharamceutical industry has followed those leads with enormous effort. Drugs like aspirin, penicillin, the taxanes, the ce[phalosporin antibiotics, and many many more have all been developed by identifying and purification of the active elements of natural products. Billions of dollars have been poured into the attempt to find out whether specific vitamins have clinical effectiveness in prostate cancer alone (with no good evidence as yet). Many studies of the type mentioned above are actually followed up privately in laboratories around the world to see if there is any validity to the data presented. Usually, people who are interested in finding out whether such products have real effects (as opposed to those who want to use mouse data to sell concoctions to scared people) find nothing worth following up, but there are exceptions.

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