Club kids are a mysterious demographic, with strange customs and unusual fashion sense. They also, apparently, have been sitting on (and rolling with) a potential cure for blood cancer. MDMA, the drug that makes Ecstasy so totally amazing that it’s OK to wear furry hats, try to pet your cab driver, and plastic jewelry, has been widely reported to have potential cancer-curing properties and could, in theory, be used to treat diseases like leukemia.
The drug, which is still very much illegal and dangerous (because it kind of wrecks your brain), releases a flood of the dopamine and serotonin (the naturally-occurring chemicals that make you feel good) in the brain, and travels through the blood system, essentially acts like a very quick, very powerful anti-depressant. It also, research suggests, may kill or suppress the growth of cancer found in the blood.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that doctors will be giving out pressed pills with imprints of Playboy bunnies or the Mercedes Benz logo any time soon, and it probably doesn’t mean that club kids who have rolled for years are any less likely to get cancer (especially considering some of the toxic stuff that Ecstasy makers put in their pills), but it does point to the potential that the otherwise-overlooked MDMA may contain.
This correlation was initially discovered 6 years ago, and scientists at the University of Birmingham have had to spend the last half decade attempting to find a safe dosage and modification of the drug. That’s because, unfortunately, the dose required, according to a TIME report, would also kill a person.
However, if scientists can develop a safe modification to the drug, studies strongly suggest that it could be used to reduce or suppress the growth of tumors. Fluoextine, the active drug in Prozac, may also be able to be modified in this way, but is less exciting and may actually be less effective.
The break-through is definitely an exciting one–though I don’t know that it’s so exciting that I’m going to start trying to bring back the pacifier.