There has been much hype about The Pink Vaccine over the past several weeks and I, like many others, am trying to understand why it is so difficult to raise 6M dollars for this vaccine that, according to its promoters, holds much promise. In the scheme of the money in this breast cancer gig, 6M is kind of the equivalent of spitting in the ocean. Honestly.
So, what seems to be the problem. First of all, I am NOT a scientist. I'm not a researcher. I'm not a clinician. I'm a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer and I was born with that skeptic gene. If something sounds too good, at the VERY least, it requires us... ok ME, to step back and analyze what I'm being told or sold. Dick Tracy.
I have a couple of questions.
- If this Pink Vaccine holds such promise based upon its success in the mice models, where are the peer reviewed publications? There is a difference between a full peer review and having ones work appear in a publication where the articles are peer reviewed prior to print. The Pink Vaccine appeared in the "Letters" section of a news journal. To insert the words peer reviewed when discussing the merits of the vaccine seems somewhat disingenuous. To be fair, the publication where the letter appeared happens to perform a rigorous review of everything they print. But still. For me, "peer reviewed" means examined by many and then the findings of both the STUDY and the REVIEWERS are published for all to see.
- I read that government funding was denied based upon a technicality in the application. In other words, the paperwork was faulty. Was the paperwork corrected, resubmitted and rejected again by a panel awarding grants? I only saw this mentioned briefly. Now I see that Komen supposedly rejected three grant applications submitted for the Pink Vaccine. No details. Just, rejected. Maybe the science in the grant application wasn't sound? Maybe the grant request did not fit into the criteria for the award he was seeking?
- The fact is that this work was awarded 1.3M dollar multi year grant as referenced here. Unless I'm missing something and that money was never provided, Dr. Tuohy should be mid-way through that research. IF he is done with the research, isn't he required to submit the findings? After all, when someone funds a project, are they not entitled to see the end result? If a solid foundation was established, wouldn't there be something more formal somewhere? I'm not being facetious. I'm serious. I'd like to understand.
- The fact that he was given an award by the very institution under whose name he works, while quite prestigious, doesn't hold the same weight as an award that might have come from the research community at large. That he was roundly applauded after his presentation at an annual conference of his peers, isn't really science. Call me crazy, but I prefer to see progression with research. Applause doesn't fit into that paradigm.
I'm truly not trying to incite a riot but I know if this gets taken the wrong way, it's going to cause more divisiveness. That is not my intent. I would just like more detailed answers than I am able to find anywhere. Just because someone tells me it's so, doesn't mean I am not entitled to follow up questions. I will gladly throw my support behind anything that shows scientific promise. But I need to SEE it for myself. Not because Dr. Tuohy said so and not because anyone else says so. Show me the science. Transparency.
Absent acceptable transparency, I have a few other questions, comments or perhaps just observations.
- I'm a blogger. I'm filled with snark and sarcasm. I'm not trying to raise 6M dollars although if you are so inclined to send me money, I will be happy to provide you with an address. Repeat: I'm a blogger and I'm somewhat irreverent at that..... However, those who are trying to get this vaccine funded are NOT just bloggers. They are at the top of their games. To have someone write words like "Now isn't that an innovation-breast cancer foundations working together instead of competing for every shred of pink?" or "What is this, high school?" sounds a bit sarcastic to me. I can roll around in the mud. A rather highly respected and extremely intelligent surgeon would be better served on the high road.
- "The National Breast Cancer Coalition absurdly announced" they were going to develop their own preventive vaccine instead of funding one that is already sitting at the Cleveland Clinic. If you wish to work together, I'm not winning any Nobel Peace prize but I think I can state with a high degree of certainty, this type of talk is really not very nice.
- Despite the NBCC clock on the top of this page, I am speaking for myself and ONLY myself but it appears, with what has been shared about The Pink Vaccine, this IS one man working on his own. The vaccine being supported by NBCC is a collaborative effort across some of the finest research institutions and the brightest minds in the country: Cold Spring Labs, City of Hope, Mayo Clinic, U Penn to name just a few.
- Lastly, a quick jump to Breast Cancer Trials shows there are presently 24 vaccines already in human trials. All of these trials are to slow progression or deal with disease that has already metastasized. Two of the three items noted in the success of The Pink Vaccine are for cancer that is already present. Might this not be a duplication of research already in Phase II trials? If I clearly understood the "prevention" part of the vaccine, it's only for a specific population of women.
All vaccines are not created equal. And there's no one on the grassy knoll either. I'd really like some solid answers before we heat up the tar AND before we go down that "cure is in a closet somewhere" argument.