Humans play Guinea Pig to find cancer cure

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. dong20

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    Seriously ill cancer patients are being given one last chance of life at a new centre that offers experimental treatments.

    The unit at Bart's Hospital in London hopes to fast-track new medicines by testing drugs on patients who are no longer responding to conventional therapies.


    Human Guinea Pigs To Find Cancer Cure - Yahoo! News UK

    I'm not sure I like the characterisation, because unlike Guinea Pigs the consent is (theoretically) informed. Overall, I'm in favour, but this is a strand of medical research that I have mixed feelings about.
     
  2. Ethyl

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    I don't relish being thought of as a guinea pig if I were to undergo treatment for any ailment so I agree with you there. I don't know what my choice would be if I had cancer and only so much time left. Depending on the circumstances, I might offer myself to experimental treatment unless there was a chance my last days would be spent in unnecessary pain from the possible side effects. If my diagnosis was grim pre-treatment, I would probably give it a shot if I knew I wouldn't be wasting my last days in the doctor's office or hospital if the treatment didn't work.
     
  3. SteveHd

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    My concern is methodology rather than ethical. From what I saw in the article, they're not using subject v. control and so they don't have a baseline to compare "improvements" to.
     
  4. snoozan

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    If I was terminal, I'd do it. Even if the chance was small, and even if it might only advance the understanding of the disease and not save me, I'd do it. Saving others' lives from such a terrible disease seems like something good to do.
     
  5. IntoxicatingToxin

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    I'm with you.
     
  6. dong20

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    I think I'd be the same. What concerns me is that patients are not given false hope, or exposed to treatments that practitioners don't really believe will help or may cause serious side effects but want to give it a shot anyway. That's what I meant by the lack of informed consent.

    I have that concern too, but it's not my main one. For me, the baseline would otherwise be a dead patient. A patient not being dead, or better cured I'd argue constitutes an "improvement".

    The difficulty being able to accurately determine which treatment, or combination of treatments actually brought about that improvement. It's an important concern, vital. But even so I rate it lower than actual patient survival.

    In other words, I'd rather be alive and not know why, than be dead and the practitioner know exactly why. :biggrin1:
     
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