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Cancer

Nutrition and Cancer

What causes cancer? In 2015, researchers updated the landmark 1981 study from the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment noting that the original estimates had “generally [hold] true for 35 years.” At 35% of the attributable risk, tobacco was the single largest contributor to cancer. But very close behind, was our diet, which researchers estimated...

The Evolving Paradigms of Cancer

Author: Jason Fung, MD, specialist physician (internal medicine and nephrology), New York Times bestselling author with upcoming book The Cancer Code (Harper Wave, November 10, 2020 release) examining new developments in understanding paradigms of cancer. Cancer, the second leading cause of death in America, is perhaps medicine’s greatest remaining mystery. Medical research has revealed the...

Beyond the Somatic Mutation Theory of Cancer – Cancer 15

“The problem lies not so much in developing new ideas, but in escaping from old ones” John Maynard Keynes By 2009, it was clear that the somatic mutation theory (SMT) – that cancer was simply a random collection of genetic mutations – was leading exactly nowhere. Billions of research dollars and decades of work yielded...

The Warburg Effect – Cancer 14

The Warburg Effect refers to the fact that cancer cells, somewhat counter intuitively, prefers fermentation as a source of energy rather than the more efficient mitochondrial pathway of oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos). We discussed this in our previous post. In normal tissues, cell may either use OxPhos which generates 36 ATP or anaerobic glycolysis which gives...

Emerging Hallmarks of Cancer – Cancer 13

In our last post, we detailed the 6 Hallmarks of Cancer originally described in 2001. In the 2011 update researchers added two ‘enabling characteristics’ and two ’emerging hallmarks’. The two enabling characteristics are not hallmarks, but enable the hallmarks to happen. The first one was ‘Genome instability and mutation’, which is kind of obvious. Since...

Hallmarks of Cancer – Cancer 12

To understand cancer as a whole, rather than as individual cancers, it is useful to find out those traits that are common to all cancers. One of the most widely cited papers in oncology is ‘Hallmarks of Cancer’ which initially listed 6 hallmarks and then updated in 2011 with two more. This is a crucial step to...

Mitochondria and Human Disease – mTOR/ Autophagy 4

Where's my house? To understand a disease properly, you need to focus on finding the right level. This is a 'forest for the trees' problem. Think about Google Maps. If you zoom in too closely, you may miss what you are looking for. If you look at a map of your neighborhood, you can't see...

Longevity – mTOR/Autophagy 3

Aging has always been considered an inevitable process. But the discovery that the aging process itself could be 'hacked' has led to the concept of 'health span' as opposed to merely 'lifespan'. A long life is not necessarily marred by disability and death and specific dietary interventions in particular may promote healthy long life. However,...

Nutrition and Cancer – Cancer 10

As it became clear that environmental influences affect cancer rates, the prime suspect was the diet. The natural question, therefore, was what specific part of the diet is responsible. The immediate suspect was dietary fat. From the late 1970s to the 1990's we were gripped in a hysterical fat phobia. We thought eating fat caused...

Autophagy in Human Disease – mTOR/ Autophagy 2

Autophagy, a cellular cleaning process, gets activated in response to certain types of metabolic stress, including nutrient deprivation, growth factor depletion and hypoxia. Even without adequate circulation, each cell may break down sub-cellular parts and recycle those into new proteins or energy as required to survive. This explains why mTOR and autophagy are seen in every...

Convergent Evolution and Cancer – Cancer 9

The concept of evolution is very useful as it applies to cancer, because it forms a paradigm of understanding that simple genetics cannot match. Charles Darwin, studying animals in the idyllic Galapagos island formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection, which was revolutionary at the time he published it in his book On the...

Cancer Paradigms – Cancer 8

Cancer has been recognized as a disease since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Ancient manuscripts from the seventeenth century BC describe a "bulging mass in the breast" - believed to be the first description of breast cancer. The Greek historian Herodotus, writing around 440 BC describes Atossa, the queen of Persia who suffered from...