Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Doyle's Inconvenient Truth

I know, I know - I'm supposed to be taking a break. But this one wrote itself.

Encouraging news for those suffering from Alzheimer's today, and you'll notice it has nothing to do with stem cells.

An experimental vaccine is showing promise against Alzheimer's disease, reducing brain deposits that are blamed for the disorder. The deposits have been cut by between 15.5 percent and 38.5 percent in mice, with no major side effects, researchers said Monday in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tests of the DNA-based vaccine are under way in monkeys, and if those are successful, testing in people could begin, perhaps within three years, said lead researcher Yoh Matsumoto of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience in Japan.

If all goes well, this type of treatment might be available for people in six or seven years, he said.

And the company that funded part of this scientific research? Novartis - which, by the way, is an evil pharmaceutical company. I know it may shock some of you that scientific research actually does take place outside the walls of the UW-Madison (the repository of all knowledge in the world), and good news like this is a blow to the Doyle Stem Cell Election Machine.

Interestingly, there's really only one major impediment to this kind of groundbreaking research. That would be either capping the cost of pharmaceuticals, or allowing people to purchase drugs from Canada, which has price caps in place. The more people that take advantage of the price caps, the less money pharmaceutical companies will have to invest in potentially life-saving research. Want to make sure we never cure AIDS? Take away drug companies' research and development budgets.

And, of course, it's not completely altruistic - if Novartis can figure out a cure for Alzheimer's, they stand to make a fortune. But wouldn't it be best to have that cure in the first place? This is what makes our health care system the best in the world - profit motive forces companies to try new and creative research so they can ultimately benefit in the end. Take away the profit incentive, and the motive to cure diseases goes along with it.

Of course, you won't hear any of this good news in Jim Doyle's talking points, since it doesn't fit the "Republicans want to kill granny" template. He'll go on promising that stem cell research will cure everything from foot odor to decapitation, and ignoring the most promising research that might yield real results.

This is what happens when two panders collide. On the one hand, Doyle wants to promote cloning human embryos (which hasn't been done successfully yet), as a cure for everything under the sun. Yet another of his policies actually damages the chance of real research taking place that already has measurable benefits.

And for all the lefties that think pharmaceutical companies are making too much profit, feel free to buy stock in those companies. If they're really as profitable as you think, you'll be able to afford that new Prius in no time.