Messenger RNA (mRNA)

Huh?

Yeah, I’m going a little Mr. Wizard’s World on you tonight to illustrate a point.

Recently a team of scientists had discovered that mRNA at times plays a role in deciding which proteins to activate or deactivate.

What the hell am I talking about?

I don’t know, but I will continue to write like I have a firm grasp of the science of it all.

Anyways, how this is significant is that science has always held the belief that the double stranded helix, DNA, was the sole decision maker in the activation/deactivation processes.  Discovering that mRNA periodically independently makes these decisions as well, as seen with its interaction with a specific protein that determines ‘bad cholesterol’, has scientists and drug companies reeling.

Why?  Well because the implications are enormous.

DNA is far too large, complicated and complex to conveniently manipulate, however RNA,  is a single short strand of genetic code.  Therefore relatively easy to  synthesize in a lab.

So…

In this case, if RNA can decide which proteins to not activate (in this case the ‘bad’ cholesterol one), then one can imagine how huge that would be for the future prevention/treatment of high cholesterol.

CHA-CHING!

Or YIPEE! We can save more people!

But back to the CHA-CHING and my predictable slant.

What this scientific breakthrough provides, is an opportunity to explain the troubling inner workings, as I understand them, of how good news in scientific discoveries, can be potential very bad news to a significant percentage of people who have no idea that they are going to be the unfortunate ones.

Here we go:

The scientist make the discovery.

“What the…?  No.  That can’t be….right.  That…  Wait.  Johnson, get in here!”

Johnson rolls in.  Looks at the data.  Flips back and forth between a few pages.  Looks through the microscope and back up with an ear to ear grin.

Yahoo!  The lab erupts in celebrations as the scientists hug and pat each other on the back. Cha-Ching.  This will bring not only the accolades, but a hell of a lot more money their way.

Meanwhile in the wings…the drug companies get wind of the discovery.  Drool, saliva, whatever oral secretions that form, begin to spill down the sides of their collective mouths.  They well know that if they can be the one to create THE FIRST “bad” cholesterol repressing mRNA synthesized drug, then they can and will patent it (which gives them a five year or something monopoly on the drug).  The financial reward will be staggering.

So… The race will be on.  All will work tirelessly.  All companies will come up with some sort of drug.

But first, the drug that will be created will have to go through a series of tests over several years.  That is mandatory by the Food and Drug Administration.

One can imagine the pressure that the FDA would be put under by drug companies to get their drug passed, since the first one wins.  Now IF the FDA was independent and non-corruptible then that would be one thing.  But what have we learned so far?  What do we see time and time again in the newspapers seemingly everyday now?  (And thanks again TW for forwarding one of those articles to me this morning.)  The FDA is anything but independent and non-corruptible.  Its protective abilities has  been so compromised and watered down that it has and continues to put us consumers at risk each and every day.

This is my concern with this new discovery (and most all discoveries of this nature).

Drugs will be created and will be heavily pressured through review and evaluation.  This is the problem.  Excellent, that a drug can be created to inhibit the activation of the protein that jacks up the ‘bad’ cholesterol.  That is good.  BUT what happens when that synthesized strand of mRNA floats through other systems of the body past that one type of protein?  What does it do when it floats around to other proteins and journeys through and is metabolized by the liver?  These are the concerns.  The implications of that is what is worrisome.

Now, I’m not saying that a drug like this shouldn’t be created, but currently the RISK will not….WILL NOT…be adequately researched and studied because of the compromise of the current FDA.  The public needs to be protected and informed to what can go wrong and what the risks actually are, once these drugs are created, so they can take the gamble that they sit fit, when it comes to it.

Not find out what the true risks are after the ’symptoms’ appear.  A stroke.  A heart attack.  Type II Diabetes.  Birth defects.  Parkinsons.

And the eventual admissions of these symptoms…

Well they will come every few years or so…added to the box of this drug…after each collective class action lawsuit forces the companies to do so.  With bereaved widows leading the fight.  And the courage of the chronically ill victims standing in front of a podium sharing their experience.  Pleading to protect others.  “How can you deny this?  You know the truth.” Meanwhile these companies have already amassed staggering fortunes.

And their eventual reply:

“Oh we never could have predicted this.”

“These symptoms are very, very rare.  And further the benefits far outweigh the risks.  Far more people will be lost by not taking the drug.”

All that coming after their previous statements of:

“Oh that person, or this person was already sick.  It has nothing to do with the drug”.

Tap.

Tap.

Tap. They dance.

CHA-CHING.  It’s unfortunately what reigns supreme.  Not that that has to be bad.  But when people are trusting of science and what they put in their bodies… well, its really unfortunate.  No, it’s fucking tragic.

BN


About this entry