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Medicine Science

Harvard Scientists Aim To Stop Cancer In Its Tracks 87

Posted by Zonk
from the take-that-and-this-and-one-of-these dept.
Shuntros writes "BBC News is reporting progress from scientists at Harvard Medical School towards strangling the growth of cancer cells. By starving cells of a certain type of enzyme, growth essentially ceases. 'The fact that proliferating cancer are able to consume glucose at a much higher rate than normal cells was first discovered by the German Nobel prize-winning chemist Otto Warburg more than 75 years ago. He also showed that the amount of glucose the cells needed to keep their vital signs ticking over was minimal, allowing them grow and divide at the prodigious rate usually associated with foetal cells.' Certainly not a cure by any stretch of the imagination, but putting the brakes on cancer growth in this way is very much akin to the revolution that was AZT."
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Harvard Scientists Aim To Stop Cancer In Its Tracks

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  • by arivanov (12034) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:29PM (#22766620) Homepage
    The editors missed the most important fact. This is the enzyme which is actually inhibited by DiChloroAcetic Acid which was recently reported as the Wonder Drug by other groups of scientists. So this discovery already has a matching (though rather nasty) drug which has been shown to work in at least some studies. On top of all the drug is not patent encumbered and you can order it from any large chemical supplier. All that remains is to figure out the therapeutic doze and improve on the drug (DCA does have its side effects).
    • by Btarlinian (922732) <tarlinian&gmail,com> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:50PM (#22766772)

      The editors missed the most important fact. This is the enzyme which is actually inhibited by DiChloroAcetic Acid which was recently reported as the Wonder Drug by other groups of scientists.
      DCA [wikipedia.org] inhibits pyruvate kinases, not just the M2 variety discovered and reported in the Nature article. That's why its side effects are so problematic. After all, normal cells do undergo glycolysis (the Krebs cycle, i.e., aerobic respiration, cannot continue without the products of glycolysis), it's just not as large a fraction of their energy source as tumors. The activity of DCA is simply based upon the Warburg effect, not on the inhibition of this specific variety of pyruvate kinase.
      • by arivanov (12034) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:57PM (#22766820) Homepage

        The activity of DCA is simply based upon the Warburg effect, not on the inhibition of this specific variety of pyruvate kinase.

        AFAIK the results so far could not be explained by the Warburg effect alone and that was the reason why many scientists questioned the DCA results. So this makes the DCA results doubly interesting.

      • I'm sorry to piss on your parade but DCA inhibits pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase NOT pyruvate kinase. A big difference. Besides, the Cell paper on DCA was confusing at best - they observed an effect of DCA on a cancer cell line and then tried to explain it based on mitochondrial metabolism - without actually understanding much about mitochondria...
    • by kanweg (771128) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @02:33PM (#22767076)
      "On top of all the drug is not patent encumbered"

      That means that no patient is going to be cured by the drug. Getting a drug to pass all the tests is so expensive, that no drug company is going to do that without patent protection for the drug. It is only then that they can earn their money back (and make a profit) .

      Only if the government is going to step in and provide the funds does it give patients a chance.

      Bert
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kesuki (321456)
        however, approval for use as a 'dietary supplement' is far, far, far more lax. After all, stevia was approved as a 'dietary supplement' years and years before coke/cargil got in on the game...

        sold as a real medicine, not likely, but someone could probably get it approved as a dietary supplement with some 'fancy trade mark name' in however long it takes to get the paperwork through... and the websites touting it's use for blah blah blah, and how much to use etc...

        since the cost and turn around times are lowe
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by hedwards (940851)

          however, approval for use as a 'dietary supplement' is far, far, far more lax. After all, stevia was approved as a 'dietary supplement' years and years before coke/cargil got in on the game...

          sold as a real medicine, not likely, but someone could probably get it approved as a dietary supplement with some 'fancy trade mark name' in however long it takes to get the paperwork through... and the websites touting it's use for blah blah blah, and how much to use etc...

          Definitely not, it doesn't qualify as a supplement under the FDA's definition. Stevia definitely does qualify as a supplement. The only part that is even the smallest bit hazy is that last rule, and even that is pretty solid.

          OTOH, there's no way at this point that DCA isn't going to run afoul of the definition at this point. It also isn't meant to supplement a person's diet. It just doesn't conform to the definition that the FDA uses for deciding whether or not a substance is a supplement.

          http://www.cfsan. [fda.gov]

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by kesuki (321456)
            well TFA fails to mention that DCA is Already an approved drug.
            "DCA has been used historically to treat patients with lactic acidosis, and therefore could arguably enter phase 2 trials in patients with cancer"

            no need to do phase 1 trials then the cost goes DOWN considerably. and consider that any generic drugs have to get through hurdles with the FDA as well... well, there could well be money to be made in the states...

            and although it's not 'official' a pair of plucky Canadians have been using DCA with 're
            • by glwtta (532858) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:05PM (#22768374) Homepage
              no need to do phase 1 trials then the cost goes DOWN considerably

              Phase I trials are actually only a tiny portion of the cost. Typically they involve giving the drug to a couple dozen or so terminal patients to asses the safety/side effects, find the tolerable dose, etc. It's kind of a touchy area, since no matter how many animal trials you do, you can never really be sure that the drug won't have severe side effects, or even kill a human outright (that one's unlikely, but you won't know until you give it to humans).

              So the whole thing will usually run only a couple million dollars. It's when you get to phase II and III, with hundreds and thousands of patients, that the real costs come into the picture.
              • by kesuki (321456)
                well, from what i read online, a 'small' phase 2 study (50 people) cost about $800,000 to fund (and the person trying to patent it as a 'cancer cure' is doing this, and raised the money over the internet...)

                maybe because it's being done in Canada and not the US that laws may be different... but, yeah also, keep in mind 90% of phase 1 studies are rejected by the FDA and those animal studies cost money too, so there IS a lot of money savings by it being an approved drug. You know for instance, a safe dose f
                • by kesuki (321456)
                  phase 3 studies are from 300-3000 people (max) I've never read about phase 3 studies so i didn't know, but i Knew they don't go to 'hundreds of thousands' of people
                • by glwtta (532858)
                  From my post: "with hundreds and thousands of patients".

                  Large pharma will routinely run studies with thousands of patients.
    • All that remains is to figure out the therapeutic doze
      That sounds pretty good, I need a nap too... We can cure cancer tomorrow.
  • All Right! (Score:2, Funny)

    by rhinokitty (962485)
    I was going to go out and buy some nicorette, but now...
  • by Btarlinian (922732) <tarlinian&gmail,com> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:43PM (#22766720)
    While this discovery is of great importance, we still need to find an inhibitor for this enzyme that will not also inhibit normal pyruvate kinases. BTW, if anyone is interested in reading more about the discovery, Harvard Medical School has a more detailed press release [harvard.edu] and the two related articles in Nature can be found here (protein structure) [nih.gov] and here (relationship to cancer) [nih.gov]. We haven't gotten to AZT yet, but this is a pretty large step towards finding a sort of "magic bullet" for tumors. At the very least, it's a common weakness most cancerous cells share.
  • Promising result (Score:5, Informative)

    by Armakuni (1091299) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:43PM (#22766724) Homepage
    Apparently, the major problem with cancer is that it isnt't just one disease, it's a whole myriad of conditions with one common characteristic - uncontrolled cell division. Finding one factor that brakes or halts growth in all cancers is a bit of a holy grail for scientists, and this enzyme seems to have at least some of the hallmarks.
    • Re:Promising result (Score:4, Informative)

      by protobion (870000) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @03:33PM (#22767436) Homepage
      To extend that point actually, cancer is is characterized by a lot of secondary mutations in so called oncogenes, the most prevalent of these are now quite well characterized. This particular article talks about the metabolic side of cancer, but the genetic component still exists, and unlike the metabolic state, is more likely to be inherited in subsequent generations of cancer cells. Cancer is often a self-propagating cycle at the cellular level and so permit me the cynicism if I am a tad cautious of PKM2 being the crucial target that stops it all.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cmaley (104167)
        To further extend the point: While it is true that there are many types of cancer with different genetics, there is a further fundamental problem in cancer therapeutics. Tumors are composed of billions to trillions of cells with tens of thousands of mutations (by some measurements). Clinical experience shows that when you apply a drug to such a genetically diverse population, you often kill most of the cells but select for resistance mutations. Thus the tumor grows back from the remaining resistant cells an
        • by Mathinker (909784)
          One way to deal with the analogous problem which arises when treating microbial infection with antibiotics is to treat with several antibiotics simultaneously. One would think that the more anti-cancer drugs we discover, the more likely that using them in combination might greatly increase cure rates (assuming their modes of operation are actually "orthogonal" and not just several different ways to attack the same weaknesses). Or am I missing something?
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by chooks (71012)

            You are right -- for example, CHOP therapy for Hodgkin's disease. Wikipedia has a list of other chemo regimens [wikipedia.org]. Combination therapy is usually much better for a number of reasons, among them being better outcomes.

  • Low Carb? No Really. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by localman (111171) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @01:47PM (#22766756) Homepage
    If glucose restriction impedes cancer growth, is it possible that extreme carb restriction (which forces the body to run off ketones instead) would imede cancer growth as well? There's still a small amount of glucose required for the brain, I believe, but perhaps the level would be low enough to slow things down, or help in conjunction with other treatments?

    Just a thought.
    • by siddster (809752) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @02:04PM (#22766874) Journal
      Not a chance. Fatty acids in the body are broken down by a process called beta-oxidation. The short carbon chains then enter the Krebs cycle (the same cycle used for ATP generation from glucose) and ATP (adenosine triphosphate - the energy currency of the cell) is released.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by chooks (71012)

        Since this is /., I can be nitpicky and say that the TCA releases very little ATP. Most ATP is generated via oxidative phosphorylation [wikipedia.org] using NADH and FADH2 created in the TCA.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by siddster (809752)
          This is a tad off-topic but I think you are confusing the TCA cycle with anerobic glycolysis which results in the release of small amounts of ATP. The TCA cycle results in major production of NADH and FADH which enter the electron transport chain where oxidative phosporylation occcurs. "Oxidative phosphorylation" wouldn't occur if the TCA cycle stalled for any reason. (No NADH & FADH production)
          • by chooks (71012)

            Technically the TCA does not include the ETC. At least, not according to Stryer's Biochemistry [nih.gov]

            From Stryer's:
            The function of the citric acid cycle is the harvesting of high-energy electrons from carbon fuels. Note that the citric acid cycle itself neither generates a large amount of ATP nor includes oxygen as a reactant.

            Again, nitpicky, but many points have been lost on tests on that technicality :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AlejoHausner (1047558)
        Your comments on beta-oxidation are confusing. Can you fill us in a bit more?

        Personally, I find the idea of a low-carb diet for cancer makes some sense. After all, if cancer cells consume glucose at a prodigious rate, then bringing down the level of glucose in the bloodstream would be a good idea. I do know that lowcarb diets do indeed keep blood glucose levels constant.

        Of course, this is "common sense", and the body doesn't always follow common sense. For example, exercise doesn't lead to weight loss,
        • by matt4077 (581118)
          There might be correlation, but blood glucose levels are regulated rather tightly. If you have a low input, it is first released from stored glycogen and then synthesized from fatty acids. If I remember correctly, the brain adapts after a while and uses ketons, but the heart still requires glucose, which is why the blood level should never fall lower than a certain level. You'd also get the same problems as you get from an insulin overdose, so there's probably no way to reduce glucose levels enough without
          • Actually, virtually only the brain requires glucose to function, about 150 grams per day. The heart and other organs requires none. If dietary glucose is low enough, organs other than the brain can switch to fat and/or ketones for energy requirement.

            So in theory, if all the glucose you ingest/produce is used by your brain, there is none left to nourish tumors.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by siddster (809752)
          Good question and in fact it appears that diabetics have a lower incidence of prostate cancers in epidemiological studies. A note about carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

          Carb metabolism = glycolysis >> TCA cycle / Krebs cycle >> Electron transport chain
          Lipid (Fat) metabolism = beta oxidation >> Krebs cycle >> Electron transport chain

          Since the lipid molecules have longer carbon chains, the by-products of beta-oxidation can enter the Krebs cycle several times over which gives fat the ATP
        • by vuo (156163)
          It does follow common sense. Both glucose and fatty acids metabolize into acetyl CoA (which is just plain acetic acid in a more suitable form) before they are "burned" in the citric acid cycle. You'll get acetate whatever you eat.

          Giving dichloroacetate instead of acetate is a throwing the monkeywrench (DCA) into the works of Krebs cycle. Instead of hydrogen atoms on the methyl carbon, you have nasty electrophilic chlorines. Metabolism gives poisons like oxalic acid.
    • by tie_guy_matt (176397) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @02:32PM (#22767068)
      Gary Taubes sure thinks so. You should read his book "Good calories bad calories." He points out that cancer is one of a set of diseases that used to be called "diseases of civilization" (along with heart disease, obesity and a bunch of others) because they were extremely rare in tribal people from around the world until they became westernized.

      One thing that always happens when people become westernized is that they eat more sugar and processed carbs. Gary claims that the sugar and cancer relationship has never been tested because it has been assumed that sugar is good while fat is bad. Yet if fat is the problem then why did Eskimos not get these diseases on their diet of largely whales and other animals until after they were westernized and started actually eating a lot less fat but tons of sugar and carbs?
      • by siddster (809752) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @02:50PM (#22767182) Journal
        And he would be wrong. The link between a high carbohydrate diet and cancer is tenuous at best. Not only that but high-fat diets have been implicated in raising the risk of some cancers. (Specifically prostate cancer) You could try reading these research studies. Long story short, cancer is a bunch of incredibly heterogenuous disorders and tumour growth is driven by totally different set of chemicals and enzymes depending on the type of cancer a patient has.

        E. Giovannucci, E.B. Rimm and G.A. Colditz et al., A prospective study of dietary fat and risk of prostate cancer, J Natl Cancer Inst 85 (1993), pp. 1571-1579.

        P.H. Gann, C.H. Hennekens and F.M. Sacks et al., Prospective study of plasma fatty acids and risk of prostate cancer, J Natl Cancer Inst 86 (1994), pp. 281-286

        D.A. Snowdon, R.L. Phillips and W. Choi, Diet, obesity, and risk of fatal prostate cancer, Am J Epidemiol 120 (1984), pp. 244-250

        A.W. Hsing, L. Tsao and S.S. Devesa, International trends and patterns of prostate cancer incidence and mortality, Int J Cancer 85 (2000), pp. 60-67
        • Well Taubes claims to have took into account all of the major (and many of the minor) studies that seem to agree or disagree with his thesis. His bibliography alone is over 60 pages long. In the text he discusses why he disagrees with studies that seem to show a link between cancer and fat. If you can point to studies that weren't in the bibliography it is likely because his publisher insisted that he cut the size of the book considerably (I think he cut it in half.)

          Like I keep saying, agree or disagree the
          • by siddster (809752)
            If Taubes was right and carboydrates were all that they were cracked up to be then most of the South Asian world would be in deep trouble since the major macronutrient in their diet is carbohydrate. (their cancer rates incidentally are much lower than most of the world) It doesn't matter if his bibliography is 60 pages long.. all you have to do is search on Pubmed or Medline for yourself and you'll see that a majority of the studies would state otherwise.

            That being said, there is an interesting relationship
      • by eggstasy (458692)
        Did they compare the average lifespans as well? :)
        Because if I'm gonna die of a heart attack at 50 instead of living to get cancer at 70, I'd rather stick with sugars than change to fats.
      • by jimicus (737525) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @04:08PM (#22767630)
        He points out that cancer is one of a set of diseases that used to be called "diseases of civilization" (along with heart disease, obesity and a bunch of others) because they were extremely rare in tribal people from around the world until they became westernized.

        Purely out of curiosity, how frequently were these non-westernised tribal people examined by doctors for cancer using conventional technology when they developed an illness? And how many accurate records of death (and particularly cause of death, determined via an autopsy rather than via a witch doctor) were kept?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tie_guy_matt (176397)
          Taubes based his observation on the accounts of western trained doctors who set up hospitals to treat the members of these tribes. So according to his book the answer is: quiet frequently and quiet a lot of records.

          However, many of those accounts were from doctors practicing in the late 1800's and early 1900's which explains why other people may ignore these accounts. It is likely though that even those old doctors would know some forms of cancer when they saw them and yet there are accounts of doctors spen
      • by matt4077 (581118)
        Cancer is primarily a desease of civilization because only civilized people live long enough to die from it. If there's a strong relation between sugars and cancer, we should find it in the data from different countries with different eating habits, i. e. the US and Japan. As far as I remember, the US has a higher rate of cancer in the digestive tract (thought to be related to fats), but other cancers don't vary much.
        • You guys all assume that none of people, not in developing countries, but in tribes living as they had for thousands of years, down't live very long at all. For some strange reason you also assume that Taubes and the doctors whose accounts he cited were too stupid to figure that one out on their own. The fact is that in these tribes there still were at least some people living long enough that you would expect them to start getting cancer and heart disease had they lived in the western world. And yet many o
          • by abigor (540274)
            Regarding the rice thing, in my experience Asians eat white rice almost exclusively, and it is heavily processed. If you go to Thailand or China, you'll see that they have fairly carby diets overall, a lot of rice and gluten-based foods.
            • The rice might be white but is it polished with glucose like in the US? Do they add sugar and high fructose corn syrup to the rice or what they eat with the rice like we would in the US during our "obesity epidemic?" I am guessing that if this is their main staple and they aren't getting Beri-Beri then it probably isn't what we would call polished white rice. Also note that while Asians don't get heart disease as much as we do, they do get cancer.

              Some of these tribes I mentioned before did get a lot of thei
              • by abigor (540274)
                Yeah, I really don't know. Speaking only for myself here, I'm sort of an amateur athlete, and I eat a lot of protein, and I get nearly all my carbs from vegetables, brown rice, and a little bread (1 slice per day). And I don't skimp on the fat. But I'm very lean regardless. My point is you are probably right - the real culprit is sugar, which I avoid almost completely - but carbs themselves aren't necessarily bad, nor does eating well require a whole lot of rocket science. Eat more or less how we evolved to
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by AshtangiMan (684031)
                  My experience is much the same. When I stopped eating sugar, but ate a lot of fat (mostly in the form of clarified butter, olive oil, and grapeseed oil), vegetables, brown basmati rice, and protein (fish and lentils), I could barely keep weight on. Mostly from a lot of calorie burning exercise I guess. I could eat as much as I wanted though and not gain weight. Now I am about 40 pounds heavier and have been eating a lot more sugar and processed foods. I exercise less, but still a lot, and have to reall
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As a cancer patient for whom conventional treatments have been exhausted, a extreme sugar // carb restricted diet is the primary alternative treatment that I'm currently trying. There are a huge of alternative/homeopathic theories that work from this premise, and many different diets. Anecdotally, I have heard of people for whom carb restriction has worked wonders. Personally, I have a tumor under the skin on my back that literally seems to grow overnight if I eat sugar (esp processed) the previous day.

      G
      • by localman (111171)
        My mother is pre-diabetic (type 2). All the professional suggestions were to eat low fat, low sugar, high complex carb, and get on some medications. Since it wasn't at a life-critical point, we instead tried going low carb and staying off the drugs. We have been successful in keeping her blood sugar well below the dangerous 140 point 24/7 for the past year. This is better than any of the doctors expected, better than many drug taking patients. I've found many reports of people online having similar res
    • You do get a handful of people (not doctors, from my experience, but patients who have read random things) who suggest going low-sugar or low-carb when doing chemo to help with the process, or who take that approach themselves.

      (Personally, though, my attitude was "I'm going through fucking chemotherapy, I feel like shit, I will eat whatever the hell I want." Maybe not the most health-conscious approach, but sometimes you have to cling to the little things in life, especially when steroids are making you r

  • I wonder if we can use the microRNAs of the zebrafish mentioned two articles ago to controll cancer growth.

    Then we could see if there's a way for cancer cells to becone regenerative somehow.
  • No real alternative to chemo yet = failure.

    Antibody therapy = failure

    Gene therapy = failure.

    Nanodrugs = failure.

    Our immune systems are interfering in these therapies. Why not put down the immune system and put the patient in a clean room free from germs and then try antibodies & gene therapy?
    • by pauljlucas (529435) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @02:17PM (#22766950) Homepage Journal

      Gene therapy = failure.
      You're not keeping up. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia has been cured by gene therapy [pbs.org]. The problem, as another poster pointed out, is that "cancer" is a broad label for many thousands of individual diseases. A particular gene therapy targets only one kind of cancer.
      • by Otter (3800)
        You're not keeping up. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia has been cured by gene therapy.

        Your link is completely mistaken. Gleevec is a great drug, but it absolutely does not "fix DNA". Wikipedia explains [wikipedia.org] its mechanism correctly.

    • All the people with types of cancers with 90%+ survival rates would be surprised to hear about this.

      No, we don't have the "magic bullet" yet. Yes, current therapies have lots of side-effects, both short-term and long-term, although many modern therapies have fewer than they did 20-50 years ago. But to declare all of cancer research a failure is pretty silly.

      Also, I don't know anything about immune systems and antibody or gene therapy, but I'll bet the idea of a clean room hasn't gone completely unexplor

    • by chooks (71012)
      A clean room and antibiotics? Somebody has been watching a little bit too much House lately... :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192)
      Yeah, you'd think curing cancer was hard or something. Face it, western medicine has already picked all the low hanging fruit. We should consider ourselves lucky that we live long enough to develop cancer.

      If you live long enough, you will accrue mutations that will lead to cancer. Cancerous cells are your cells, so it's bound to be difficult to kill one and not the other. It's a hard problem, compounded by the fact that there are almost as many types of cancer as there are cancer patients. There's never
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Ah yes, the armchair cancer scientist: solving one of the hardest problems in medicine is just a matter of randomly combining words you've heard on House!
  • As has been said before to vanquish an enemy one must truly know the enemy. This is a point that the U.S. government fails to understand time after time.

    Anyhow we're learning more and more about the various cancers out there, and it seems that many have common features that will enable us to knock them out. I see a brighter future for mankind coming, but the transitional period will be a struggle. It is interesting to be alive during this transition.
  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:06PM (#22767932) Journal
    Warburg got two Nobels (IIRC, 1928 and 1931), in part by studying the role of oxygen in cell metabolism. Cancer cells use an anaerobic mechanism for metabolism. Flooding them with oxygen disrupts this anaerobic activity. This may account for at least some of the glucose effect in TFA. This can be accomplished using hyperbaric oxygen (high O2 content greater than 1 atmosphere's partial pressure).

    It can also be done using superoxides (ozone, which produces hydrogen peroxide in the body, or H2O2 itself). Superoxide production is a normal part of the immune system, and cancer cells don't increase their SOD production proportionally with their growth rate. This is because the superoxides work on mitochondria, where metabolism occurs. The main cell is what's cancerous, not the mitochondria.

    Another way to increase H2O2 in the body is to inhibit the enzyme that protects cells from high levels of H2O2, superoxide dismutase (SOD), allowing natural or infused levels of the substance to increase. Penicillin is one such SOD inhibitor, and other antibiotics are being tried. The effects are variable but generally positive. This can be facilitated by including manganese, selenium or zinc, around which the SOD builds itself, explaining the role of minerals containing these to be helpful in fighting infections.

    Yes, the increased H2O2 levels can be harmful to cells, or else the body wouldn't have a mechanism to keep it in check. This is the role antioxidants play. Excessive H2O2 is an earmark of autoimmune diseases. There is an optimum level for normal cells. But cancer cells are much more sensitive, and a little damage due to superoxides is preferred over a lot of damage due to cancer.

    I found some of the above information while researching my dissertation. It was based on inhibiting another oxygen scavenger, monoamine oxidase (MAO). The MAO inhibitor I looked at is trimethyl naphthoquinone (TMN), and this substance can protect the body from at least one autoimmune disease, Parkinson's. It is ironic then that one common source of TMN is in smoking tobacco. An anti-carcinogen effect isn't seen in smoking (though it may in fact occur) because of the other chemicals in smoking which are carcinogenic to an extent orders of magnitude greater than TMN's. Its MAO inhibition plateaus at low doses whereas the carcinogens don't, so getting TMN is better accomplished other ways. This, and other MAO inhibitors might be helpful in fighting cancer. These are not being widely tested, but the little research so far (mostly in other natural products) is showing some anti-carcinogen effect. SOD inhibition is probably much more effective than MAO inhibition, however the MAO inhibitor effect supports the hypothesized role of oxygen via a second if less effective mechanism.
    • Warburg most certainly got only one Nobel prize - 1931. There are no superoxides - just superoxide, O2-. SOD most definitely does not protect against hydrogen peroxide - as a matter of fact it PRODUCES it! (by dismutating superoxide). Not sure why cancer cells should be more sensitive to SOD inhibition considering they usually don't use their mitochondria and that's where most superoxide is produced. MAO is not an `oxygen scavenger' whatever that means, it's been shown to PRODUCE superoxide. There are MUCH
  • by ruinevil (852677) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:03PM (#22768832)
    It appears that DCA [wikipedia.org] screws up nerve cells permanently. Even though most cells aren't affected by the drug, if you damage cells that can't replicate, it's bad. Neurons cannot replicate. If they can stop that it might be viable. Until then, stick with your old chemo drugs, that screw up hair, skin, and marrow stem cells, stuff that is rapid growing and replaceable.
  • by scooma (973630) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @08:40PM (#22769410)
    As Harvard is likely treading in Dr Holt's footsteps, they might want to examine his published papers. Note that whilst practising, he only took on patients that other doctors had given up on. His *cure* rate was around 98%. All cases documented.

    Holt, JA 1979, "The cause of cancer: biochemical defects in the cancer cell demonstrated by the effects of electromagnetic radiation, glucose and oxygen", Med Hypotheses, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 109-143.
    Holt, J 1983, "Cancer, a disease of defective glucose metabolism: the energy for mitosis appears to come from a gluathione mediated glycolysis", Med Hypotheses, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 133-150. [Holt83]
    The rest are at: http://www.the-institute.com.au/reference_pubs.html [the-institute.com.au]
  • Cure for Optimism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RonBurk (543988) on Monday March 17, 2008 @12:24AM (#22770490) Homepage Journal

    No cure for cancer, but at least a partial cure for unfounded optimism about finding a cure for cancer can be found in this talk by Lee Hartwell, Nobel prize winner and head of the Fred Hutchinson cancer center in Seattle:

    http://www.uwtv.org/programs/displayevent.aspx?rID=2669 [uwtv.org]

    Not only is it wrong to view all cancers as a single disease, it may be wrong to view the cancer in a single patient as a single disease. Cancer is genetically unstable, and it may turn out that the nature of the stability is plausibly modelled by assuming the cancer is using genetic (oh the irony) algorithms. IOW, past a certain point (e.g., metastasis), the cancer cells (at least a small minority of them), may be constantly spitting out all manner of genetic mutations at a high rate. This would help explain the extreme adaptability of most forms of cancer metastasis to whatever treatment you care to throw at them. As Judah Folkman said, every time a patient's cancer returns, it seems to have learned about new growth factors.

    If you're worried about cancer, focus on prevention, not on the hope of a cure.

  • The thing that is very frustrating to me about all of these efforts to find a cure for cancer is that they fixate on drugs that can be patented and sold at high prices, or replicating exotic substances from exotic locations. A cure for cancer that is inexpensive and very effective is already known: Curcumin.

    Curcumin is the active component of turmeric, the spice that gives curry and old-fashioned mustards that yellow color. And turmeric is not only rather cheap, but the process for extracting and concentrat
    • by RonBurk (543988) on Monday March 17, 2008 @11:03AM (#22773962) Homepage Journal

      I call BS. No less authority than MD Anderson (#1 cancer facility in U.S.) has been studying curcumin for years (which the woman points out is how she found out about it). MD Anderson has not found it to be "a cure for cancer" so far. MD Anderson studies far outweigh the data point of "a friend of my mother's". I can find nothing in her blog that indicates she had "metastasized" cancer. Please don't go around telling people she cured metastasized cancer with curcumin; you may give false hope to, for example, someone with metastasized breast cancer, a disease that has a nearly perfect kill rate at Stage IV.

      Cancers differ based on the type of cell that originally became cancerous, just like car wrecks differ depending on the type of vehicle. She has multiple myeloma, and some varieties of MM are so indolent that doctors recommend no treatment. If your doctor recommends "let's wait and see if it actually gets worse", then knock yourself out with curcumin.

      This is not a knock against curcumin, which may turn out to be a useful anti-cancer agent, and I certainly put it my wife's adjuvant therapy (amongst a *great* many other substances) to try to prevent metastasis. It's a knock against claiming a cure for cancer exists and is cheap and is just ignored because of financial reasons. Before you do that, please spend a few years studying cancer and walking the cancer wards. If you don't have great respect for how far the problem of cancer thus far exceeds our intelligence, then you don't understand cancer.

      Ditto for IP6. If you get cancer and want to forgo treatment in favor of phytochemicals, despite the clear evidence that your body has allowed a cancer to grow unfettered and needs some major help, then good luck with that and let me know how that works out for ya. But don't tell other people to do that. Some desperate fool might think you know what you're talking about.

  • I cure my friends and relatives of cancer, and other incurables (my expense).
    So I decided to make a website to teach people how to cure cancer themselves.
    There is no catch. I'm a Pro-life volunteer and this is just an extension of my charity.

    Please read and view the videos, tell me how I can improve on it in terms of relaying information to you so that more people will understand that cancer cures exist, right here, right now.

    http://www.curemanual.com/diseases-and-tweaks/cancer [curemanual.com]

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