Key figure in Libby situation dies of mesothelioma

The Washington Post reports (via the Los Angeles Times) the passing of Les Skramstad, one of the early leaders notifying the world about the dangers from the Libby Montana vermiculite mine. Skramstad worked there from 1959 to 1962 and was diagnosed with asbestosis in 1996. He subsequently got mesothelioma, which is what he died from. A landmark in this long, strange story.

New use for old drug: cancer treatment

New Scientist has an article headlined Cheap, safe drugs kill most cancers. The drug in question is dichloroacetate (DCA), which is already used for other maladies. Scientists will have to investigate this thoroughly, but the good news is that this material is inexpensive.

The blogger Orac has some reservations. He points out DCA has only been tested in cell culture and rats and that cancer is not a single disease, so it would be unrealistic to expect a miracle cure (or any cure) for all cancers.