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    Catherine Poole

    There are some scientific studies about cancer that many scientists have been unable to reproduce the same results or findings. For instance, the TIL treatment at NCI has been difficult to reproduce with the same results at other cancer centers according to scientists. Here’s an interesting story about that: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/half-cancer-scientists-have-been-unable-reproduce-studies-survey-finds



    Ella Institute in Israel meanwhile has done over 60 TIL’s and get’s almost exactly the same results as NCI did.



    TIL protocol is a very complex protocol and lots of things should be done correctly to make it work. Ella Institute in Tel Hashomer ( Sheba) hospital works closely with NCI and MD Anderson so that the things are done right. Besides, experience counts…

    Catherine Poole

    We will not know the efficacy of TIL until we see a large randomized study which none of these institutions have provided. This is what every other treatment has to prove. That is difficult because of the huge costs and labor associated with this treatment. I’m personally not a proponent of such toxicity for an immune responsive disease.


    I agree that our precious clinical trial dollars should only be used to test drugs that have really solid and encouraging pre-clinical data to recommend them. If the pre-clinical data (i.e. studies done in test tubes, cell culture and animal models) is wrong, then the whole idea goes out the window.

    However, as a professional scientist, I have personally experienced and witnessed how difficult it can sometimes be to reproduce experients– sometimes for the oddest reasons. One time I spent months of time and thousands of dollars of grant money failing to reproduce some important published data. It eventually turned out that the problem was with the BRAND of salt I was using; when I used the brand of salt that the original investigator used, the experiment worked the first time.

    A similar thing happened to a friend of mine. He was studying cockroaches in Germany and got some really interesting results. He came to the US to continue the study and suddenly nothing worked. Same man. Same cockroaches. Nothing worked. In that case (again after thousands and thousands of wasted dollars and hours) the difference was in the brand of paper towels he used to line the insect cages; pine trees in Germany produce a different chemical than do American pine trees. When his friends in Germany sent him German paper towels, his experiments worked.

    My point is that while there may be an ocassional case where an investigator publishes a finding that they know to be unreliable or even incorrect, that is very rare. The vast majority of the time published results can be replicated. Most of the rest of the time the results can be replicated but only after a long, difficult and expensive period of picking apart every single detail of every single item that goes into an experiment. Requiring pharmaceutical companies to do that for all the pre-clinical data they use when selecting drugs for clinical trials would not be a good use of precious clinical trial dollars, either.

    Celeste Morris

    As a pediatric provider, Stage IV melanoma patient, and even more importantly…as a rattie in a clinical trial….I don’t much care about grant dollars wasted because scientists didn’t bother to pay enough attention to details utilized in prior studies. I have never been a believer in “don’t sweat the small stuff”!!! Honey, it’s all SMALL stuff!!! The moment before you die…are you going to focus on the grand changes that took place in society…or that time a loved one smiled at you because you remembered their favorite…..??? So…it’s all small stuff until it gets to the kids I care for and extremely ill and desperate folks who are willing to lay it all on the line for science and a chance at a few more days to see that smile. At that point, I don’t have patience for lack of attention. I don’t have patience for concerns about dollars over a human life. Human lives are not to be placed on the line to further the profits made by drug companies, to elevate the career and the ego of the researcher…but, they often are.

    For an even more frightening but enlightening read….check out: Restoring invisible and abandoned trials: a call for people to publish the findings

    BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f2865 BY: Doshi, et al. They note: “Unpublished and misreported studies make it difficult to determine the true value of a treatment.” INDEED!!!

    It is unbelievably hard to be ill, and be the ‘n’ in an experiment, and a mom, and a wife, and work full time, AND be an advocate for the ratties. But….I never thought it would be easy. Keep at it ratties…and all our advocates. Proof that we are listening, speaking, and paying attention to what folks holding the “treatments” are doing is our first and biggest step.

    I wish you all the best. c

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