A long time ago, when I first started working on probiotics (bacteria which you swallow and which save you from such horrors as squirty bottom), the aim of our science was to produce one you only had to take once. It was a constant source of frustration to us, in those days, to find that the bacteria would work as intended but would not stay in the gut for more than a few days.
Then the whole thing became commercially funded and a subtle change happened. One we didn’t see at first but which became clearer over time.
Our ideal would have been to go into a piggery, put our probiotic in one pig’s trough and have it spread throughout the piggery as a permanent resident. Passed from sow to piglet, that one dose would solve pig-gut problems forever. At that time I worked on agricultural guts but if it had reached that point, the same idea could have wiped out Clostridium difficile in hospitals and, eventually, entirely.
It was not to be. No funding for such a ludicrous idea could be found. The reason was that if such an idea was ever made to work, it would be like inventing a perpetual motion machine. If everyone had one of those, what then? How do you sell another one? If one dose of this imagined panacea managed to spread its curative properties everywhere, how would you sell another one? The next piggery doesn’t even need to buy a dose, they just need to borrow a pig from the first piggery for a few days. Or even a shovelful of pigshit.
The commercial people saw our inability to make the probiotic take up permanent residence as a feature, not a bug. Every pig will need a dose every day. That’s a lot of doses. A lot of sales and a lot of profit. Permanently curing the problem is not a commercially sensible option, to the extent that if I ever did find such a probiotic, an awful lot of people would pay me an awful lot of money to shut the hell up. Or they’d pay someone else to shut me up.
Now I work more on prebiotics – simple compounds intended to boost the inherent probiotic activity that’s already in every gut at a low level. You still have to take it every day but it’s far easier to make consistent and far easier to store than a live bacterial culture. It also has a much, much longer shelf life and all of that makes it a cheaper, if ideologically imperfect, option.
So a cure for cancer isn’t likely to happen – or maybe it already has and the inventor is very rich but living in a dungeon with his lips sewn shut. There are too many vested interests making sure it won’t happen while promising such a cure is just around the corner.
Not just the pharmaceuticals either. Imagine the effect on tobacco control, booze control, waistline control etc if their biggest scaremongering tactic, cancer, was easier to cure than the common cold. None of these people are interested in health and they never were. They are only interested in being in charge, and if you take away their bogeyman then you see the real, feeble little people behind the curtain.
How would the Puritan Antismokers get their sad little drones so worked up over nothing if lung cancer was no more of an issue than a wart?
Also, the antidrinkers, antifat, antisalt and pretty much ani-anything brigades use cancer as their bogeyman now. If you come up with a cure that involves no more than taking a pill for a few days, there are many who will want you silenced.
And as we know, they have absolutely no qualms about what methods they will use.
If you do come up with a cure for cancer, use it for yourself, friends and family. Don’t tell anyone else.
Hate is a much bigger killer than cancer could ever be, and there is a lot more of it about.