KILL OR BE KILLED | Timothy Joseph, Author | Writing The Best Books & Essays


 Kill or be Killed 

Five close friends are desperately fighting cancer. I’m a survivor only because I was lucky enough to get prostate cancer instead of lung, pancreatic, liver, or others so difficult to battle. The CDC reports that in 2010, 1,575 people died of cancer every day in the U.S., and the American Cancer Society tells us our lifetime risk of getting cancer is one in four, and one in three will die of this dreaded nemesis. When cancer strikes, our battle is to kill or be killed. Enough is enough—we must take charge–we must kill cancer cells. 

We walked on the moon, put two rovers on Mars, and accomplished incredible scientific wonders in deep space, and I love it all. If we figured out the incredible mathematics, physics, electronics, propulsion, structural, and communications challenges needed to realize such unbelievable undertakings, could we not tear further into the complex molecular universe of the cell, just as we have the celestial universe, and learn how to kill cancer cells or prevent them from duplicating? Is this too much to ask? 

We have all seen the expansive control rooms of NASA for space missions. Let’s build a similar one that is digitally linked to every university around the globe, every pharmaceutical company doing cancer research, every hospital with a cancer center, and every government facility doing neutron, radiological, biochemical, cellular, molecular, and every other related field; a mission control center for cancer research. If we could centralize and share that information and use the TITAN supercomputers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), could we not grasp the molecular and submicroscopic universe inside the cell? Since we discovered quarks and leptons, the subatomic particles of protons and neutrons, surely we can uncover the molecular signature of a cancer cell and turn it off or kill it 

Hundreds of thousands of intelligent people around the world are dedicated to finding the myriad bits of the complex molecular biology of a cancers and diseases. Is the key DNA replication, cell division, protein trafficking or degradation, cellular signal transduction or biogenesis at the genome level, chemical manipulation, or molecular pathways and circuits in RNA molecules and proteins? The answer is probably “yes” to all of them.  Those intellects are in their laboratories striving to discover their little slice of genius. But what we forget is each tiny part is just that, a single fragment of a very complex biological puzzle—the molecular physiology of the cell, and just like a jigsaw puzzle on your table, the more eyes (the more genius), the sooner all the pieces are properly put together.  

The Manhattan Project accomplished what many scientists said was impossible, only because we realized the huge scope of the challenge and pulled together every mind and resource available, and spared no expense. The answers were there, we just needed to discover them, but it took many brilliant minds, dedication, and lots of money. Could we do this again by establishing a United Nations Cancer Coalition-UNCC, and create The Cancer Conquest Project-CCP? I am confident the answer is unequivocally “Yes!” We know the answers are there. If they weren’t, all those brilliant people in those labs would be in different jobs. If we could discover the links within the millions of studies and thousands of data bases and silos around the world using the TITAN (which can do 30,000-trillion operations/second), I have no doubt we can find the answers, not only to cancer, but many diseases. So “MANY” of the cancer/disease puzzle pieces already exist, they are simply not all on the same table–they reside in laboratories around the world. The U.S. spends millions of dollars each year on duplication of medical research simply because the researchers don’t know the answer exists. How can they when we’re talking tens of thousands of studies?  We need to get them all on ONE table and have the TITAN supercomputer put the pieces together for us, and share them with all researchers around the world–it can do just that.

We have the laboratories, the computer, and the genius needed to mine the existing intelligence and uncover the keys to kill or control cancers and diseases. We have cured MANY diseases, and the answers for the remaining are scattered all around us, we need only the coalition, a mission control room, the commitment, and a new Manhattan Project to end this war. 

So how can we make this happen?  Someone please come to the rescue. tj

Essay, Life | | 3 Comments

3 Responses to KILL OR BE KILLED

  1. Sam Bledsoe says:

    A brilliant call to arms!
    If we could take 25% of the money the Dept. of Defense wastes on defense
    or some of the other wasteful programs and hire a staff to coordinate the research,
    we could find the cure for cancer.
    Good perspective and good ideas on the problem of cancer.
    Another great essay.

    Thanks, Tim.

  2. Joel Brown says:

    Along with several other varying guidelines I’ve read for writing a good essay, this one unquestionably contained a single element of consequence. You had passion for the subject. Understandably so. Unfortunately, A Manhattan type project could only happen by the action of our Federal Government. That is not only improbable in Washington, given the fact that our government if politically and morally broken, I cannot even imagine a remote possibility in my lifetime.
    The only way I can envision such a thing is if something started at the grass roots level—probably with a single idea and likely from a single person. If you wanted to make such an argument, you could be optimistic over all the tools available today (and growing exponentially) to gather a groundswell of support. How?
    Right after I read your essay I saw an interesting article on the NY Times website. Here’s a link.
    The story has nothing to do with your topic, but an approach. If a person with the passion, the knowledge, the emotion (along with a lot of other traits) were to undertake such an approach, who knows what the outcome might be. Whatever, the odds would be better than waiting on Washington to act.

  3. Steve says:

    Excellent idea. Why not apply the same approach to other big problems that defy solutions?

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