We’ve been trying to cure cancer for a century, with ever-worsening odds. Lately, the odds are akin to that of Russian roulette.
At the beginning of the last century the odds were one in 20. Today, one in every two men and one in every three women will get cancer. That’s over 18 million new cancer cases this year, and more than half a billion cancer casualties in the 20th century alone.
While we cruise deep into the 21st century, the World Health Organization expects the number of new cancer cases to surge by 70 percent within two decades. That’s sayonara to more than 30 million people (the population of Tokyo) per year.
Remarkably, recovery odds haven’t improved since the 1950s, despite all the technological quantum jumps. Two out of three cancer patients still die within five years.
In other words, we built flying machines, split the atom, cracked the human genome, eradicated plagues and deployed robots on Mars, but we’re still losing the war on cancer.
Here is the most frustrating part. Had we listened to one Nobel laureate who was sidelined by the pharmaceutical industry, we may have thwarted the cancer pandemic back in the early 1920s.
The day your x-ray is flagged, your oncologist will likely advise surgery, chemo, and/or radiation therapy, the slash-burn-poison holy triangle of modern cancer treatment.
Surgery is invasive and usually ineffective against metastasis. Radiation was invented during the heyday of horse and buggies and is highly carcinogenic. Chemotherapy drugs meanwhile attack cell functionality and DNA with violent toxins, targeting both good and bad cells.
The first chemo drugs were made from nitrogen mustard, a biochemical weapon better known as mustard gas. The chemical’s tumor-killing potential was discovered accidentally after Germans bombed an allied WWII ship that secretly stocked the illegal weapon. The sailors and the gas mixed in the ocean, killing scores and causing blisters and blindness for the rest, but also showed enough “regression in lymphoid tumors” to warrant the chemical as a cancer treatment.
Your doctor won’t tell you that he’s injecting you with war gas, but you will feel it. First the body tries to rid itself of the poison with a wave of vomiting. Then extreme anemia and fatigue take over as the toxins stop cell division necessary for blood production. The immune system shuts down, hair falls out, and gut lining is destroyed as the poisons attack cell DNA.
Because of extreme toxicity levels, instruction manuals advocate disposal of chemo drugs in a raging inferno (1800 degrees Fahrenheit). Aside from ravishing the body, only two percent of chemo patients survive longer than five years. The cost of extending your life tallies in at $7,000 – $10,000 per month.
Despite the marginal survival rate, chemo is offered as your best bet under modern protocols. Natural cures are out of the question, according to western medicine. Your doctor will advise you against any and all alternative methods, because they are not part of his scope of understanding.
Face value, the doctor offers the “safest” choice. An $8 trillion healthcare industry with a century of research can hardly be wrong. The universities, the hospitals, the regulatory institutions like the FDA and the AMA, the drug companies – can’t all be wrong.
Until you look deeper.
In the 19th century, the healing industry’s perception was split in two. Doctors who use empiricism, i.e. traditional healing saw disease as an energetic or metabolic deficiency. They believe that given the right nutrition and energy, the body heals itself. The empirics came from Native American and European traditions and used plants, herbs, mushrooms, and minerals as their tools.
Allopathic doctors, on the other hand, saw disease as an intruder. Their job was to eliminate the threat. So they bled the body. They gave patients doses of led and mercury. They drilled holes and experimented with surgery. They often killed more patients than the disease did, but also stumbled into legitimate cures.
Both views had pros and cons. Together they could have offered a functional, holistic treatment. But since herbs and plants can’t be patented, Western Medicine became empathically allopathic in nature. It offered a clear revenue logic: high mark-up synthetic drugs.
The late 19th century was an opportune time to invest in man-made weapons against disease. The discovery of the microscope introduced bacteria and viruses to us as an existential threat. From the allopathic point of view, we were at war, with everything.
While the drug industry was going through its birth pangs, John Rockefeller, the first oil magnate big enough to face an antitrust suit, saw a future in medicine. He shelled out a fortune to subsidize synthetic drug research and set the tone of the future.
The new revenue logic helped build hospitals, educate doctors, and finance the institutions that licensed them. Natural cures were relegated to grandma’s pantry and phased out of modern medical literature.
The fading out of natural medicine wasn’t a conspiracy. It was a competitive business move. Over the 20th century, the drug industry grew into a $1 trillion behemoth – one third bigger than oil – in tandem with a historic surge of chronic illnesses.
Cancer in particular.
Cancer. The unpredictable, untreatable, rapidly propagating and randomly mutating threat generated over $100 billion in 2014, projected to reach $147 billion by 2018, according to Forbes.
The costs are equally astronomical. Research and Development on a cancer drug takes an average of 10-15 years and up to $1 billion to come to market, after clinical trials on humans and testing and licensing. Hundreds of these drugs were developed while the industry still failed to understand the root cause of the disease.
We’ve known about carcinogens for a long time (carcinoma linked to chimney soot was discovered in London in 1775) but only in the last decades have they become part of our social vocabulary. Aspartame. Trans fat. Pesticides. Alcohol. Stress. Smoke. Cellphones. Teflon. Asbestos. Man-made radiation. GMO. Sugar.
The American Cancer Society lists 444 carcinogens (tobacco smoke contains 50 of them) along with lifestyle (physical activity, nutrition) and the environment (radiation, air, water) as major cancer factors. Carcinogens are in our food supply, personal care products, water, and air.
We knew early on that carcinogens are partly responsible, but not how or why. The discovery of DNA changed that. Soon after, we found out that cancer cells carry mutated DNA.
As a result, cancer became genetic overnight. Suddenly everything depended on your family tree. The drug industry’s big hope was to target the single cell gene that caused the original mutation, the Holy Grail of genetic cancer drugs.
By 2005, while the Human Genome Project was making DNA sequencing more cost effective, the NIH announced The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), “a comprehensive effort to accelerate our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies.”
One of the labs that worked on the TCGA was run by Dr. Bert Vogelstein, the father of the genetic theory of cancer. By 2013, Vogelstein announced that they were no closer to discovering the Grail. The computers cranked 10,000 times more data than the Human Genome Project with zilch to show. There was no pattern of causality between DNA and tumor growth. Instead, the DNA varied chaotically both between and inside the tumors.
This meant that cancer drugs like Astrazeneca’s Iressa ($647 million in sales) or Genentech’s Tarceva ($564 million in sales) were only marginally better than placebos.
The FDA’s review of Tarceva, a lung and pancreatic cancer drug, claims a 19-27 percent “reduction in risk of death,” a terminological oddity that makes it sound as if the drug saves lives. In reality, 5-10 percent of the patients may get the benefit of a few extra months of survival.
Still, Vogelstein remained a genetic conservative despite the statistical cul-de-sac. He wrote a paper suggesting that the anomaly could be due to “dark matter,” something too complex for modern sequencing technology (or anyone else for that matter) to understand.
Author Travis Christofferson’s portrays TCGA’s hopeless journey into cancer in his book Tripping Over The Truth. The TCGA data devastated the genetic theory. Some of the doctors had no choice but to open up to a century old theory, one that was suspiciously empiric in nature.
German scientist and Nobel laureate Otto Warburg, one of the 20th century’s leading biochemists, postulated in 1924 that cancer was metabolic, a cellular respiration issue caused by damage to mitochondria, the cell’s energy source.
”The prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar,” explained Warburg.
Warburg observed that distressed cancer cells begin to burn glucose instead of oxygen. The result is fermentation, a primitive energy production method that the cell activates like an atavistic backup generator (think lighting a wood oven when the central heating fails).
For Warburg, the chain reaction was clear. Low cellular oxygenation – due to e.g. environmental toxins or nutritionally deficient food – damaged the respiratory enzymes in the mitochondria, thereby compromising its ability to produce energy (or ATP) with oxygen. As a result, the damaged mitochondria send out emergency signals to the cell’s nucleus, telling it to activate backup generators, which run on glucose.
The resulting fermentation produces a fraction (1/15th) of the cell’s normal energy, forcing the cell to shut down most basic functions with the exception of survival and replication. The failed mitochondria also switch off apoptosis (natural cell death) and mutates the DNA. The result is an unstoppable growth of mutant cells, that feed on sugar.
The reason The Cancer Genome project couldn’t find the root cause of cancer was simple: Cancer doesn’t stem from DNA. Mutation is simply a side-effect of cancer.
Warburg got the 1931 Nobel Prize in Physiology (he was nominated for the award 47 times) for his notion on cellular respiration, but its relevance to cancer research was shelved by the industry – until recently.
The TCGA data brought Warburg out of obscurity and jolted some of the cancer industry’s key figures, redefining the understanding for what actually drives cancer.
The staunchest advocate of the genetic theory, James Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA and father of the Human Genome Project, made a U-turn on his career-long beliefs.
“If we’re ever going to cure cancer,” Watson wrote in a 2013 paper published in Open Biology “we’re clearly going to have to go back to the days of Otto Warburg and focus on the metabolism to make any real progress.”
Watson spent his life designing smart cancer drugs that target genetic glitches, like the protein derivatives of DNA mutations. However, 98 percent of his patients went into relapse because cancer would ultimately mutate and find a workaround, making the drug eventually useless. For Watson, that path was not worth supporting anymore.
Another convert, Dr. Thomas Seyfried, author of Cancer As A Metabolic Disease, arrived at Warburg’s theory independently.
Seyfried found lab studies from the ‘80s in which the nucleus of a cancer cell in a mouse was removed and inserted into a normal cell. The experiment was then reversed, with the nucleus of a normal cell inserted into a cancer cell. After both types were injected into healthy mice, he discovered that only the cells with a healthy nucleus and cancer cytoplasm developed cancer. It was clear proof that DNA (which resides in the cell’s nucleus) wasn’t the root cause of cancer. Defective mitochondria, which reside in the cytoplasm, were.
The reason we keep finding new carcinogens at a gallop, is that anything that can weaken mitochondria has carcinogenic potential. The common factor between the thousands of toxins in our food-air-water supply, nutritionally deficient food, lifestyle, obesity, inflammation, viruses like Hepatitis C, bacteria, radiation, stress, lack of exercise, genes – is that they can all weaken or kill mitochondria.
Mitochondria handle life’s most basic functions. There are hundreds, up to thousands of them per cell. They generate energy, synthesize and package proteins. Their high level of complexity implies sensitivity to external stress factors, especially to what we digest. Or what we lack as nutrients.
Today’s foods, for example, are up to 10 times poorer in nutrients than 50 years ago and contain up to 84,000 untested chemicals. Meanwhile when it comes to water: 70 percent of the population is dehydrated while most sources are replete with industrial toxins. And oxygen levels in cities are down by more than 1/3rd since they’re saturated with industrial emissions. All major stress factors for mitochondria.
Under the metabolic theory, these kind of factors help explain the 10-fold increase in cancer rates over the 20th century. We can finally begin to understand cancer as a symptom of an increasingly hostile environment and unhealthy lifestyle, of which mitochondria take the front row brunt.
Mitochondria are our canary in the coalmine, and also the guide to a real cancer cure.
A single metabolic theory that explains 100 different types of cancer is a nightmare for Big Pharma. Suddenly anything that improves mitochondrial health, may qualify as competition for billion dollar drugs.
This includes preventative measures like regular exercise, drinking plenty of water, breathing rich enough oxygen, eating greens, lean proteins, healthy fats, and antioxidant foods. Avoiding stress, sugar, toxins, and tobacco. Getting sun (D-vitamin) and a balanced share of micronutrients that are sadly scarce in our our current food supply. Even doing things you enjoy and smiling a lot, have the power to beat modern cancer drugs, from a mitochondrial perspective.
As Dr. Thomas Seyfried would discover after observing tumor shrinkage in patients on low-calorie diets, a simple measure like fasting has the power even to reverse cancer growth.
Fasting drives down blood glucose, which cancer cells need for fermentation, forcing them to compete for fuel with healthy cells – and starve.
Seyfried took the study further by replacing carbohydrates with healthy fats (like olive and coconut oil). He tested the diet on a patient with an aggressive form of brain cancer (gliobastoma). The diet dissolved the tumor in two months. Later, when the patient quit the diet, the tumor returned.
Availability of food has a historical correlation with cancer. Cancer barely existed in antiquity, when food scarcity was the norm. Now that foods are more readily available than ever – in carb-rich, processed form (80 percent contain sugar) – cancer continues to peak along with obesity rates.
The reason a low-calorie, high-fat, low-carb diet is so effective is because it changes the body’s metabolism from burning glucose to burning fat, and cancer cells can only thrive with glucose.
The diet activates the liver to produce three water-soluble molecules called ketones, a high-grade cellular fuel that become the cell’s primary energy source. The bonus: cancer cells can’t feed on ketones. Ketones also produce fewer free radicals when they convert to ATP, thereby protecting and even restoring damaged mitochondria, according to Dr. Richard Veech, who first linked ketones with the metabolic theory.
Today, a ketogenic diet is becoming popular in alternative health circles, not only to treat cancer but a score of other chronic illnesses like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Sclerosis, stroke, brain trauma, and autism. A 2007 TIME article brought public attention on the ketogenic diet as a functional cancer cure. But modern medicine still largely ignores the diet or simply rejects it outright .
If history is any indication, the drug makers won’t catch up with the potential of ketones before the fumes run out on chemo drug sales. Instead they will actively continue to protect their existing business model.
New metabolic drugs, even if they show remarkable success rates, have already gotten buried under a regulatory battle, which points to a clear and present collusion between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry.
One example is 3-bromopyruvate or 3-BP, a chemical that blocks the cancer cell from disposing lactic acid, a toxic waste product of fermentation, resulting in the cell’s self-poisoning. 3-BP itself is harmless, simple and cheap, yet according to the widely publicized studies, manages to kill every type of cancer (brain, colon, pancreatic, liver, lung, skin, kidney, ovarian, prostate, and breast cancer) that can be detected by a PET scan.
The makers of 3-BP are pleading for help from the public to make the treatment accessible to everyone, while stuck in FDA regulatory process.
Another similar case is a drug called GcMAF, which acts by activating macrophages that consume cancer cells – highly successfully, according to the published lab results. Cancer Research UK has warned about the drug’s “spurious claims” and FDA has denied its use.
3-BP and GcMAF are the tip of the iceberg. History is replete with promising cancer cures that vanished off the map, as well as healers who were shut down, silenced or relegated to quack status, despite their success with cancer patients.
Nurse Rene Caisse reportedly cured thousands of cancer patients with a simple herbal formulation called Essiac, In 1938, her supporters collected 55,000 signatures to let her continue the practice before she was shut down by the FDA.
Harry Hoxsey reportedly cured more than 12,000 melanoma patients and was known as the “worst cancer quack of the century,” while he fought a two-decade legal battle with the FDA.
Max Gerson claimed to have healed 50 patients (including Albert Schweitzer’s daughter) with a nutritional diet, organic juices, coffee enemas, and dietary supplements, before his license was suspended by the FDA.
ABC News correspondent Raymond Graham Swing did an investigative report on Gerson, interviewing doctors, scientists and cancer survivors, and broadcast a segment that announced Gerson’s therapy as “the first cancer cure.” Shortly after, Swing was fired from ABC and the FDA revoked Gerson’s license.
Similar stories belong to Rudolph Steiner. Linus Pauling. Ernst. T. Krebs. Kanematsu Sugiura. John A. Richardson. Dr. WIlliam Lane. Dr. Walter Lemmo. Emanuel Revici. Gaston Naessens. Dr. Andrew Ivy. Dr. Royal Rife. Tullio Simoncini. Massino Mazzucco.
Yet their work didn’t go to waste. They ultimately paved the way for us to understand and cure cancer in a natural and safe manner, for anyone who chooses to see through the dogma. The dogma tells us that we need doctors and drugs to cure a disease, but ultimately only the human body can heal itself, when its mitochondria produce enough energy for the body to become self-healing.
The functional methods of the past and the present all share this secret about empowering the human body with enough energy, although with different approaches that work for the individual. Successful prevention of disease is based on this same energy principle of human self-empowerment.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” ~ Thomas A. Edison.
By Jan Wellmann
Founder & Health Coach
Energy For Living
Cancer As A Metabolic Disease by Thomas Seyfried
Tripping Over The Truth by Travis Christofferson
How To Live 150 Years In Health by Dimitris Tsoukalas