“治愈癌症”会杀死病人吗?

坦帕——癌症患者和政治家“治愈”癌症的要求越来越强烈。但事实证明控制可能是比治愈更切合实际的方法。

上个世纪,德国诺贝尔奖得主保罗·奥利克首创了“神奇弹药”概念——这是一种能杀灭肿瘤细胞或者致病组织、同时又不伤及正常细胞的化合物。50年后抗生素研制成功似乎证实了奥利克的想法。药物灭菌带来如此巨大的胜利喜悦,以致于“抗癌斗争”一直以来都是基于这样一种假设:如果研究人员足够的聪明和勤奋,总有一天我们能够找到杀灭癌细胞的神奇弹药。

但人们以往与异常物种打交道的经验和最近有关肿瘤进化动力学的数学模型告诉我们,彻底治愈绝大多数癌症可能是不现实的目标。不仅如此,这样做还有可能使问题进一步恶化。

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