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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Alan Shalleck-NanoClarity > An "Apollo-like" National Nanotech Program to Solve Cancer

Alan Shalleck
President
NanoClarity LLC

Abstract:
After over a decade of nanoscience development, and expenditures worldwide of $1.5 billion in private and public funds dedicated to the development and clinical application of multi functional nanoparticles (MFNP) for targeted cancer treatments, there still are no major clinical (in vivo) anti cancer successes for nanotechnological multifunctional targeted particles long touted as the answer to curing cancer.

July 26th, 2013

An "Apollo-like" National Nanotech Program to Solve Cancer

An "Apollo-like" National Nanotech Program to Solve Cancer
By
Alan B. Shalleck
July 26, 2013


After over a decade of nanoscience development, and expenditures worldwide of $1.5 billion in private and public funds dedicated to the development and clinical application of multi functional nanoparticles (MFNP) for targeted cancer treatments, there still are no major clinical (in vivo) anti cancer successes for nanotechnological multifunctional targeted particles long touted as the answer to curing cancer.

By now we should be seeing the beginnings of clinical penetration and encouraging remission or curative results in specific cancer milieu. Are the efforts to date wasted? Who is running the show? Who is setting national and medical anti cancer priorities and funding allocation efforts? More important, why isn't there an "Apollo like" program funded by the US Government (and large Pharma) to solve this growing exponentially costly unsolved societal and health problem called collectively "Cancer"? Left unsolved, increasing cancer costs among the aging baby boomer population will destroy all efforts to rein in health care costs over the next 25 years?

Five years ago I sat with a senior NIH officer at a luncheon as she confidently told us that the multi-functional targeted nano particle carrier was the NIH's consensus solution to the complex cancer problems in the US and that those solutions would be clinically available by the end of 2015! Having spent the last 8 months in two of the world's best cancer treating institutions and having observed and interviewed some of the most experienced and finest oncologists in the world I am dismayed and angered that so much effort and so many resources haven't produced what I have written about since Mauro Ferrari's (now at MHRI Texas) seminal article re. multifunctional anti-cancer particles in 2005. The cost of this failure is enormous in terms of dollars and in potential human suffering.

What specifically was I told by these top of the triangle oncologists with whom I discussed multifunctional particle clinical outlook? First, all were initially enthusiastic about the possibilities and were willing to participate in clinical studies to prove safety and efficacy. However, the 2008 12 MFNP NIH sponsored "Lab to Clinic" program was a bust. The collective clinical experiences were discouraging. I was told:

1. "They don't work!!!" Erbitux and Abraxane… to mention two … just don't do what the developers and manufacturers tout as group clinical significance. Better results appear on a few patients but overall the effectiveness record is tarnished in the eyes of those who would prescribe the treatment.
2. "The incremental results projected are not truly significant. A few months more of life is not impressive or cause to incur the costs and risk the side effects of use."
3. "Targeting was inexact. Many more normal cells were impacted than preliminary clinical studies indicated leading to unprojected side effects that were not lower than the side effects of chemo."
4. "What seemed to work in the lab (in vitro) didn't appear to be the process when the same test particles ran into the complexity of human anatomy."
5. "The FDA only would allow clinical studies in vivo on those patients that had had every other possible approved clinical treatment applied and those treatments had failed. These were damaged populations. (How can you measure the virginal effects of a new curative model on destroyed humans? Just the wrong way to find out whether or not something revolutionary works. It's the NIH and FDA way … safety first … but clearly, those "safety directed ways" are not giving any new process a fair shot at showing what it can do.)"
6. " The costs per treatment session being charged by those companies offering multifunctional nano particles as part of a cancer treatment regimen were outrageous. The cost benefit equation could not be justified".

Relentless demographics are making the complex cancer technical and cost problem worse. Over 16,000 ‘baby boomers" in the US are turning 65 years old every day making them eligible for Medicare, and this inexorable demographic conversion will continue for the next two decades. The probability that most of these new Medicare eligible citizens will have some form of cancer… there are many forms… is over 69%! Do the math. An average colorectal cancer that is put into remission or excised can cost Medicare over $180,000 plus follow on treatments. Over 160,000 people died of colorectal cancer last year. Assuming only 50% of those who died had $160,000 expended by Medicare in the vain attempt to save their lives or … look at this number… or $14 Billion was spent futilely on people with colorectal cancer who died … Now add in the medical and care expenditures for those who survived (maybe 4 out of 5) … because almost all endure at least one surgical procedure which remission and targeting with multifunctional nanoparticle solutions would eliminate … or another $115 billion or a total of $129.0 billion last year on just one form of virulent cancer running rampant throughout the aging population.

I needn't go much further. The point is that costs for all forms of cancer without the success that the NIH official proudly predicted are rising exponentially… cancer is the budget breaker. (Note we haven't discussed breast, liver, pancreas, lung, kidney, prostate, testicular, ovarian, brain, or systemic circulating cancers such as leukemia, or aplastic stuff, or melanoma…) The problem is gigantic and growing… this is a national emergency … and it should be treated as such.

Next month I will present a comprehensive proposal for the Nano and healthcare industries (plus others) to offer to President and his scientific advisors for creating and funding an Apollo-type program to first identify more cancer specific surface antigens and structures to permit broader specific targeting, second, to finish development of targeted nano particles now in preliminary clinical test to see if they are truly worth finishing, and third to move the best of those particles extensively into the clinic for final testing and clinical effectiveness support on relatively untreated patient populations so that true effectiveness can be assessed. We must solve this pervasive drain on our people and resources within the next five years to prevent overwhelm.


Alan B. Shalleck, Ph.D.
NanoClarity LLC
www.nanoclarity.com


© 2013 NanoClarity LLC - all rights reserved.






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