TED.com – talks that challenge the way science approaches cancer

I’ve been watching a series of talks on TED.com that show that some scientists are willing to think out of the box where cancer treatments are concerned.

Originally set up to share innovative ideas on Technology, Entertainment and Design (“TED”), the scope of the talks now encompasses anything as long as they’re “ideas worth spreading”.

I originally set up this blog to share complementary therapy approaches to cancer, but I don’t want to be rigid.  I want to be open to what science has to offer too, because I don’t us want to miss out on what might be ground-breaking developments in a better approach to treating cancer.

TED talks are 18 minutes long, and so easy to fit around a busy schedule.  I listen to mine when sitting in my portable Far Infrared Sauna.

I’ve been rivetted.  The speakers are superb, often working at the cutting-edge of their fields.  They are not always doctors, or oncologists, so they are able to approach cancer from a different perspective.

Ever wondered if cancer could be sexually contagious?  Then listen to Elizabeth Murchison’s talk on the Tasmanian Devil. [warning – contains gory images]

Bill Doyle talks about treating cancer with electrical fields to interrupt the division of cancer cells.

Mina Bissell talks about how a cancer cell doesn’t automatically become a tumor, but rather, depends on surrounding cells (its microenvironment) for cues on how to develop. She shares the two key experiments that proved the prevailing wisdom about cancer growth was wrong.  This explains why many people harbor potentially malignant tumors in their bodies without knowing it and never develop cancer, and why tumors often develop when tissue is damaged or when the immune system is suppressed.

An all too-familiar leit-motif is that even though wonderful breakthroughs have been made, funding to introduce make the new technology available has been limited by bureaucracy or commercial interests.  Sounds familiar?  We need more voices to shout loudly, and thankfully, TED is giving us a chance to listen and yell for change.