(lifeslittlemysteries.com) On April 12, 1955, the first successful polio vaccine was administered to almost 2 million schoolchildren around the country. Its discoverer, University of Pittsburgh medical researcher Jonas Salk, was interviewed on CBS Radio that evening.
“Who owns the patent on this vaccine?” radio host Edward R. Murrow asked him.
It was a reasonable question, considering that immunity to a deadly disease that afflicted 300,000 Americans annually ought to be worth something.
“Well, the people, I would say,” Salk famously replied. “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
In a world where the cancer drug Avastin — patented by the pharmaceutical company Genentech/Roche — costs patients about $80,000 per year without having been proven to extend lives, Salk’s selflessness has made him the hero of many medical researchers today.
One of Salk’s admirers is Evangelos Michelakis, a cancer researcher at the University of Alberta who, three years ago, discovered that a common, nontoxic chemical known as DCA, short for dichloroacetate, seems to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors in mice. Michelakis’ initial findings garnered much fanfare at the time and have recirculated on the Web again this week, in large part because of a blog post (“Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice”) that ignited fresh debate with people wondering if it was true.
The mechanism by which DCA works in mice is remarkably simple: It killed most types of cancer cells by disrupting the way they metabolize sugar, causing them to self-destruct without adversely affecting normal tissues. Read more…