Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cigarettes Cure Cancer!

Well not quite, but still interesting...

Tobacco may help fight cervical cancer

OWENSBORO, Ky. — Inside a small, temperature-controlled room in the heart of tobacco country, researchers are doing work that could give a life-saving purpose to a plant best known for causing cancer.
The aim of the work is to coax from tobacco plants a drug that could be used to prevent cervical cancer in India, where four times as many women get the disease and eight times as many die of it as in the United States.
The vaccine would be somewhat similar to Merck & Co.'s Gardasil, approved by the U.S. government last year to prevent strains of a sexually transmitted disease that causes most cervical cancer. In fact, the same University of Louisville researchers who helped invent Gardasil, Dr. A. Bennett Jenson and Shin-je Ghim, are also working on this new vaccine.
One big difference between the two vaccines is cost.
The tobacco-based vaccine still in the works would cost an estimated $3 for three doses, compared with $360 for three doses of Gardasil. This would make it affordable for developing countries like India, where the disease is the most common malignancy among women.

While I forget the name of the theory, there's a scientific tenet that states that harmful products can actually be good for you in small doses. (For example: a glass of red wine is great for the heart, but too much liquor can damage the heart however.)

If this succeeds, it would be a god send for India. No one over there can afford 120 bucks a dose, but a dollar a dose has the potential to save a lot of lives.

You know, I can hear the anti-smoking lobby going insane over this already.

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