Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Interesting Article on Cancer

In 1924, the German Nobel laureate Otto Warburg first published his observations of a common feature he saw in fast-growing tumors: unlike healthy cells, which generate energy by metabolizing sugar in their mitochondria, cancer cells appeared to fuel themselves exclusively through glycolysis, a less-efficient means of creating energy through the fermentation of sugar in the cytoplasm. Warburg believed that this metabolic switch was the primary cause of cancer, a theory that he strove, unsuccessfully, to establish until his death in 1970.

The theory is simple: If most aggressive cancers rely on the fermentation of sugar for growing and dividing, then take away the sugar and they should stop spreading.
"One big problem we have," says Schmidt, sitting uncomfortably on a small, wooden chair in the crammed tea kitchen of Kammerer's lab, "is that we are only allowed to enroll patients who have completely run out of all other therapeutic options." That means that most people in the study are faring very badly to begin with. All have exhausted traditional treatments, such as surgery, radiation and chemo, and even some alternative ones like hyperthermia and autohemotherapy. Patients in the study have pancreatic tumors and aggressive brain tumors called glioblastomas, among other cancers; participants are recruited primarily because their tumors show high glucose metabolism in PET scans.

The good news is that for five patients who were able to endure three months of carb-free eating, the results were positive: the patients stayed alive, their physical condition stabilized or improved and their tumors slowed or stopped growing, or shrunk. Two patients recently left the study because their tumors kept growing, even though they stuck to the diet.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1662484,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

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