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Cancer Moonshot – Good Idea or Pharma Giveaway?

Cancer Moonshot – Good Idea or Pharma Giveaway?

Why pinning our hopes on developing costly new drug treatments for cancer and other diseases is not effective or sustainable.

Last week, on the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s proposal to send someone to the moon, President Biden touted his Cancer Moonshot initiative. The initiative was officially re-launched in February of this year, when President Biden called on Congress to fund his effort to reduce cancer mortality by 50 percent in the next 25 years.

There isn’t a clear-cut plan for how to achieve these goals, but we can guess that it involves diverting billions of dollars to a newly-created agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which is meant to come up with breakthrough medical treatments not just for cancer, but diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. These drugs, developed with taxpayer funds, will no doubt then be handed to Big Pharma, which will charge astronomical prices if they are ever approved, as we’ve seen time and again.

Anyone knowledgeable with an integrative or functional approach to health and healing knows that this premise is flawed from the very beginning. Spending billions to come up with a novel, expensive, and probably dangerous drug to treat cancer (or diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, etc.) isn’t the way forward. Not only will most people not be able to afford it; it will treat the effects rather than the cause of disease.

Consider recent findings that half of cancer deaths are preventable with lifestyle modifications, with data showing that smoking, drinking alcohol, and obesity are the biggest contributors to cancer. We also know that ultra-processed foods are linked to cancer, as are exposures to any number of environmental chemicals. But why take on Big Food or the chemical manufacturers when taxpayer dollars can be used to bolster Big Pharma’s profits?

Health disparities also contribute to cancer deaths. Experts say that 20 percent of the 600,000 annual cancer deaths could be avoided if disparities were reduced so that people with a high school education received the same help with prevention, diagnosis, screening, and treatment as those with a college education.

Cancer prevention—like most other diseases—starts with cultivating a healthy environment in our bodies. “Treat the soil, not the plant” is a foundational principle of regenerative agriculture, and the same applies to human health. Diseases take hold when there are imbalances in the body, like excessive inflammation.

Look at Alzheimer’s. Taxpayer’s have spent tens of billions of dollars on Alzheimer’s drug research. Most of the drug trials have flopped; then when a drug was approved, it was found to be incredibly ineffective. Part of the story is that we are trying to “cure” a complex disease with a single drug, when we need to be thinking more holistically.

We’ve written before about the work of Dr. Dale Bredesen, a pioneer in Alzheimer’s treatment. Dr. Bredesen thinks there are three forms of Alzheimer’s with at least 36 contributing factors to the disease. Individualized protocols must be developed to address these factors. Dr. Bredesen uses an analogy of a leaky roof with 36 holes to illustrate his approach, where the size of the different holes depends on genetics and environment. Each “hole” will be a different size in each person, meaning some may not need to be addressed while others do. But plugging just one of the holes will not stop the rain from getting in—this is why Big Pharma’s approach fails. One drug may address one of the contributing factors for Alzheimer’s, but the rest of the “holes” remain.

Until we embrace the ability of natural medicine to regenerate health, we will keep seeing this cycle repeat: Big Pharma producing “blockbuster” drugs that are expensive, dangerous, and don’t work for large swaths of patients. 

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7 thoughts on “Cancer Moonshot – Good Idea or Pharma Giveaway?

  • Rex Kittle

    It use to be that doctors used FOOD to cure diseases, like cancer but I guess there wasn’t enough money in FOOD cures. The human and animal bodies need three things, Air, Water And FOOD ! In others if the body has the right FOODS it can cure it’s self ! Dr. Budwig found that out years ago but the FDA sued her and she went back to Germany and wrote 2 books about her cure using FOOD !

  • Arnold Gore

    The most successful anti-cancer diets revolve around eating healthy foods hopefully organically grown. Lifesstyle choices are the most successful approaches.An ounce of prevention is worh a pound of cure. Of the most successful cures are dieary based therapies,both Budwig dietary theapy and Gerson therapy. Dr. Burzynski’s antineoplastons are the best of the high technology therapies and wasdeveloped without government support, and even FDA bureaucratic opposition deployed to keepit from wudespread use and availability.

  • Jo

    Non-conventional doctors & medical experts are already curing many ailments that big pharma punishes severly. Do some research. Cancer is being cured, so is high blood pressure & diabetics are getting fixed, too. STUDY!

  • Stan Stanfield

    Not to mention various nutritional deficiencies that are associated with various cancers. A ‘holistic’ approach, indeed.

  • Rat Wrangler

    How much good could have been accomplished for American health if we had put those tens of billions of dollars into developing proper farming techniques and moving away from chemically-laced factory farming? It’s been known for decades that we have stripped our farmlands of minerals and nutrients, so our foods are not as nutritious as they were over half a century ago. If we ban all the chemicals already banned in Europe, and then collected all the organic waste thrown away in this country and composted it, we could have healthy food once again, without having to pay the high prices for “organic”.
    There is a very good chance that God put everything we need on this planet, and that would include cures or preventions for all sorts of ailments. We might even be able to find and use many of them, after we quit poisoning ourselves with all sorts of manmade toxins.

  • Ken B

    Oh, I agree. Any government initiative to fight cancer will unfortunately focus on treatment rather than prevention. If a government-funded initiative leads eventually to a set of standard protocols for treating cancer, cancer patients or the parents of children with cancer may be forced to undertake these protocols even against their wishes for alternative treatments. The Biden initiative may be well-intentioned but misguided.

  • Lee

    I totally agree with your article and once you reach 60 the doctors want to throw more pharma at you for
    palliative care for the ankle when it might be the back or the foods you are eating or not exercising.

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