(Last updated on: February 2, 2019)
Is there a more enticing title from "Scientists discover a cure for cancer"? Some versions of this fantastic statement were included in the news cycle with the regularity of the super-moon of the blood wolf for most of a century. In 1998, James Watson told The New York Times that by 2000 a cancer drug would arrive. This magazine is not immunized, publishing a title from The End of Cancer some years later. Each case awakens the hope of patients and their families absent to find a solution, regardless of risk or cost. Still, we are here in 2019, with that constellation of complex and diverse diseases that we group and call "cancer" for convenience, which continues to kill one in every eight men and one in every 11 women, according to the latest statistics World Organization data. of health.
One would think that the creators and users of the news have already learned their lesson. But the latest version of the history of fake cancer treatment is even more noticeable than usual. Amnesia in the form of a drug against community cancer and the will of the media to use it with clicks are as insignificant as ever. It seems that hope goes beyond history.
On Monday, the Israeli centrist newspaper Jerusalem Post published an online story describing a small company called accelerated evolutionary biotechnology who has been working on a possible cocktail of cancer drugs since 2000. – A cancer cure? Israeli scientists believe they have found one, "and rely almost entirely on an interview with Dan Aridor, one of the three people listed on the AEBi website, in which Aridor made a number of exquisite statements, including that of this jumper: "We believe that within a year we will offer full cure for cancer."
This was a particularly bumpy move, given that the company had not conducted a single human study or published data from its full cell researches of Petri dishes and rodent cells. Within the normal drug development procedures, the newly established pharmaceutical company will present this pre-clinical peer review work to support each claim and use it to raise funds for clinical trials. The AEBi public relations movement may be a brief experience. In an interview Tuesday, the founder and CEO of the company, Ilan Morad, told the Times of Israel that the lack of cash flow was the reason AEBi decided not to publish data.
The original article in Jerusalem does not publish an interview with outside experts in the field of oncology. He also does not inject any skepticism about the difference between speculative and preclinical work in controlled laboratory conditions and universal treatment within 12 months. Anyone who knows anything about oncology will tell you that a large number of promising treatments fail to do human tests. Recent calculations show that the success rate of cancer drugs reaching the market is sad by 3.4%.
What people say
About 12 hours after the Jerusalem Post published a link to its story, the figures of the far right began to amplify its optimistic title. Trump's Troucot Jacob Wool published it, followed by conservative political expert Glenn Bek, who added his own handwriting to himself. "As we waited and prayed, and talked about what would happen in 2030: TOTAL cancer for cancer."
As we hoped and prayed, and talked about what is happening by 2030: TREATMENT OF CANCER. Cheap, fast, without side effects. Similar to an antibiotic for cancer! You need to know up to a year if this is real. "You will not recognize the world until 2025." GB https://t.co/u3HPOJHSGA
– Glen Beck (@glennbeck) January 29, 2019
On Tuesday morning, Fox News published its own report. The story added some warnings, including a very strong comment, sent by an oncology expert in New York, who said AEBi's claim is probably "another in a long list of fake, irresponsible and counterfeit promises, ultimately cruel to cancer patients . "But Fox's striking title keeps a formula almost identical to the original story of Jerusalem Post and copied from similar reports appearing on local television news from Philadelphia to Melbourne, Australia.
Although many of the major media have ignored the story, the New York Post and Forbes have published their own glossy versions, largely based on Jerusalem post reports. But within 24 hours, both sites published new, less promising stories in which they (breathless!) Interviewed cancer experts. Forbes published two. One, the author of the original story, is entitled "Experts condemn the Israeli team's claim to have found a cure for cancer," and another, even clearer: "An Israeli company says there will be a cure for cancer in a year Believe them.
Such correction of the course is not unusual or harmful in the rapidly evolving world of online journalism. But, as Internet scientists have testified, disinformation spreads faster online than attempts to recover. Although outrage can be the fuel that feeds the viciousness of most fake news when it comes to news about our health, people tend to be motivated by a more optimistic impulse. "Positivity is more visible when deciding what to read and what to share," says Hoon Suk Kim, a communications scientist at Ohio State University, in an analysis of how health news is shared through social networks.
Hence, the article "Cure Cancer" will travel farther, faster than the story of "Cancer Still Stinking". This is a good example: when Forbes published his original article, he received 47 replies, 821 reps and 1,635 likes. The one who came out a day later, posting a 180-degree change, has so far received just four answers, 30 reps and 61 likes.
Why is it important?
Social media make it easier than ever to be a non-critical user of information. The steady roll-scroll-scrolling roll is practically designed to encourage lazy thinking. At the same time, people are hungry for a living line of good news among the toxic content of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. When every day online feels like a fight between parties, sex, race, class and even generations, cancer is a unifying enemy. A story about the end of cancer can be an olive branch for a sick friend or relative on the other side of the social divide. Or it can just let you believe, for a moment of happiness, that your body's cells are no longer in an irresistible mutational march to their death.
But anyone who philosophizes on the couch can not change the ugly truth of the constant cancer cure: Selling false hopes is immoral.
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