La "cura" del cáncer: ¿un remedio peor que la enfermedad?

TAMPA – Cada vez más, pacientes y políticos exigen una "cura" para el cáncer. Sin embargo, controlar la enfermedad puede terminar siendo una mejor estrategia que esforzarse por curarla.

Hace un siglo, el premio Nobel alemán Paul Ehrlich introdujo el concepto de "balas mágicas", compuestos diseñados para identificar y matar células tumorosas u organismos causantes de enfermedades sin afectar las células anormales. El éxito de los antibióticos 50 años después pareció validar su idea. Tan influyentes han sido los triunfos de la medicina sobre las bacterias que la "guerra contra el cáncer" sigue emprendiéndose bajo el supuesto de que algún día se encontrarán balas mágicas si la búsqueda es lo suficientemente profunda y diligente.

No obstante, lo que se ha aprendido al tratar especies exóticas, en combinación con modelos matemáticos recientes de la dinámica evolutiva de los tumores, indica que tal vez sea imposible erradicar la mayoría de los cánceres. Más aún, tratar de hacerlo podría empeorar el problema.

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