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  • br Throughout this paper we


    Throughout this paper we advocated the use of comparative analysis. Apart from the TB–cancer comparison, this approach can also be applied to cancer treatments as suggested in Fig. 7 and explained in the following subsection.
    5.7. The last battle of the immune system
    In the present paper we used comparative analysis to estimate the effectiveness and resilience of the immune system in various situations, e.g. in our discussion of the first, second and third lines of defense. Here we wish to describe the behavior of the immune system in the last phase.
    Fig. 7 shows marker levels in two cases of breast cancer. In both cases the ascending phases which eventually lead to death have similar durations of about 5 years.
    In line with our TB–cancer comparison we would like to draw similar graphs for TB. For that purpose it would be necessary to find data for TB cases in the time before the introduction of antibiotics. In the late 1920s there were well-known TB markers, for instance the so-called urochromogen test or the Arneth count of leucocytes [35]. So far, however, we could not find the data that would be required.
    6. Conclusion
    6.1. From the perspective of patients
    Presently, the majority of cancers are incurable. Moreover, all too frequently by the time of diagnosis many have progressed to a state where an operation to remove the tumor is not possible. Multiple tumors and secondaries can be present. Chemotherapy may frequently be used in an attempt to shrink tumors. However whether specific chemotherapies
    13 As Maurice Bartlett [33] has shown that a measles epidemic can develop only in a M3814 (nedisertib) of sufficient size (around 200,000) such an epidemic will certainly start from and develop inside cities.
    will be effective, or even if they are, for how long they will be effective, seems to be very much a matter of trial and error. In some instances the patient can also be too frail for such invasive procedures. Towards the inevitable end, the patient can only hope that a good palliative care program is available.
    In countries where specific palliative care units are available they are usually destined only to patients in their last days. Would it be possible to set up palliative units similar to the TB sanatorium described in Thomas Mann’s novel ‘‘The magic mountain’’? It may be remembered that the novel’s main character, remained at the Davos sanatorium for 7 years. In other words, this kind of sanatorium would be open to patients willing to trust the capability of their immune system once the most favorable conditions have been identified and implemented.
    6.2. Strong similarities between TB and cancer
    The main message of this paper was to emphasize the similarities between TB and cancer. However, this left open the question of why there was a tremendous difference in the success of treatments. To explain it, we proposed what we called the exo-endo conjecture and we pointed out the key role of childbirth age with respect to median illness age.
    6.3. Extension of the present study
    For the purpose of this paper we had by necessity to use data from the first half of the 20th century because our main requirement was to have enough death cases in order to limit statistical fluctuations. How can we extend this analysis to a greater number of lesions?
    If, instead of using death rates we could find and use incidence rates the number of cases would be multiplied by a large factor. This factor depends of course upon how lethal a lesion is; for instance lesions of the thyroid can be cured with high probability which means that the incidence rate may be 20 or 30 times higher than the death rate. This would allow an interesting extension.