If it’s so bad, then why did three Americans just win the Nobel Prize for Medicine? The New York Times reports:
Americans Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak won the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discovering a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, an insight that has inspired new lines of research into cancer…
The trio solved the mystery of how chromosomes, the rod-like structures that carry DNA, protect themselves from degrading when cells divide.
The Nobel citation said the laureates found the solution in the ends of the chromosomes — features called telomeres that are often compared to the plastic tips at the end of shoe laces that keep those laces from unraveling.
Blackburn and Greider discovered the enzyme that builds telomeres — telomerase — and the mechanism by which it adds DNA to the tips of chromosomes to replace genetic material that has eroded away.
Based on the research of these three (and many more like them), some drug makers and pharmaceutical companies are beginning to make and test drugs that may one day provide better treatment or possible cures for certain cancers:
[Following the work of Grieder, Blackburn, and Szostak] U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co. and Menlo Park, California-based biotechnology company Geron Corp. began testing a cancer vaccine that targets telomerase last year in patients with solid tumors, including lung and prostate cancer. Geron is also testing another telomerase inhibitor in breast and plasma cell cancer patients.
Yes, those evil pharma companies are actually trying to make drugs to cure things like cancer!
But back to the sad, sad state of medicine in America today and Grieder, Blackburn, and Szostak. Based on what’s been reported over the past six months or so about healthcare in this country, you might think that the fact that these three won the Nobel Prize for Medicine was a fluke, a blip, a mere abberation. However, you’d be wrong. Even a cursory check of past winners shows that the United States has been more than well-represented among the honorees.
The fact remains that the United States has the best medical facilities, the best doctors, the best hospitals, the best research, the best researchers, in short, The. Best. Healthcare. In. The. World.
Congratulations to Ms. Blackburn, Ms. Greider, and Mr. Szostak for perpetuating the best America has to offer.