Last week, ground breaking news burst through the twitters-phere about a group of mexican scientists from IPN university who found a way to "eliminate HPV virus, the leasing cause of cervicouterine cancer. This is a devastating disease that is still the second leading cause of death of mexican women (at least regarding cancer), and the patients I have met with the disease suffer greatly from it.
Like usual, news outlets became excited from the ground-breaking discovery.
Unfortunately, while the news at first sight sounds great, and it will become a huge boost for government funding for IPN (and I believe the school will surely make good use of this aid), the news is actually misleading.
Look no further than the abstract of the original article:
The article for starters is from 2017. The second tidbit of news is that while it used an innovative technique, scientists were only capable of eliminating the virus in 83% of patients where 57% of them remained cancer free 12 months later. I have not yet read the full article, but the abstract is pretty self explanatory.
But but but... I read this article from El Universal that stated they found the cure!
I read it too. I also cringed at the crummy English used by the newspaper. Even Google translate is better than whoever translated the article.
Now, pubmed can be a highly reliable friend when you want to search for medical articles. I use it a lot because I need to for my job. I looked at the name listed in the Universal article and searched for her most recent published article.
This article is obviously not about the ground breaking discovery, and any 2018 articles are unrelated to HPV cancer. Now, I can't deny that perhaps this mysterious ground breaking work is still yet to be formally published. I will give it the benefit of the doubt.
In the meanwhile, the next time some reporter is about to release somewhat relevant medical literature, they should be certain that the information is correct with the aid of a doctor. Spreading confusing news can cause havoc and potentially ruin the hard earned reputations of doctors.
In an era where people prefer to listen to quacks and con artists (anti vaxxers anyone?) instead of people who have spent 12 or even more years in higher education, it should be the responsibility of journalists in an era replete with fake news to verify their sources first.