February 29, 2016
359 Failure of SMT [February 29, 2016]
Last week I outlined the history of cancer theory over the last century. The Somatic Mutation Theory (SMT) of Cancer – that genetic mutations in the DNA of the nucleus (nDNA) of the cells initiates and drives cancer – has been the dominant theory for at least the past 60 years. Treatments developed based on this theory – surgery, radiation and chemotherapy – have been largely disappointing with limited success in life extension and significant side effects. Could this theory be wrong?
The solution to the low success rate was believed to lie in more genetic research to identify the specific mutations of particular cancers and develop targeted treatments for them. To this end the largest genetic project ever undertaken, called The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), was begun in 2006 – to map all mutations associated with 20 human cancers. As the data came in, researchers were puzzled and discouraged – the mutations seemed to be completely random. Not only did the mutations in tumors vary widely between cancer victims for the same type of cancer, they varied between tumors in the same person and even between cells of the same tumor. Some samples had no mutations at all. This unpredictable variation makes targeted drug design next to impossible.
The most compelling evidence comes from some clever experiments in the 1980s. Labs in both Vermont and Texas independently replaced the nucleus from healthy cells (leaving the healthy mitochondria) with nuclei from cancer cells, then injected them into mice. To their great surprise only one of the 68 mice developed a tumor over the next year. Next they replaced the nucleus from cancerous cells (leaving the unhealthy mitochondria) with nuclei from healthy cells and injected them into mice. This time nearly all (97%) of the mice developed cancer. Sadly these experiments didn’t fit the reigning theory so were ignored.
Furthermore all nDNA mutations known to increase cancer risk (like TP53 and BRAC-1) are known to impair mitochondrial function or repair. And of 700 targeted drugs tested, the one success (Gleevec) works in part by shutting down Warburg’s metabolic pathway, restoring oxidative energy production.
All this supports the Metabolic Theory which believes that cancer is initiated by mitochondrial damage, and the damaged nDNA is secondary. Next week I will offer hope for a cure from treatments based on the metabolic theory.
Source: Tripping over the Truth: The Metabolic Theory of Cancer by Travis Christofferson, 2014.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.