New research keeps coming out regarding new techniques to combat cancer. These techniques are trending away from the highly destructive traditional approaches of chemotherapy and radiation, which produce a negative environment for the whole body, and towards environmentally friendly options.
How Environment Affects Programming
Cells follow programming which tells them how to react to changes. We see similar operation in modern day information processing. Here is a familiar example:
If you have a phone with a maps navigation app, or a car navigation device, you know that if you give the navigator a destination, it will suggest one or more best driving routes and tell you how long it will take to arrive. The same navigator program may give different results for the very same route next time you run it. Why? Because it is reacting to its environment!
The car navigator’s environmental information is the speed at which cars are getting through a particular route, based on a lot of inputs: cell phone GPS signals inside cars and street sensors are constantly informing a massive computer system of traffic movement. The computer system then calculates the best route for you to take to reach a certain destination based upon the current traffic environment. Change that environment, and you change the result that the navigator gives you for the same route. When a traffic blockage is cleared or a new lane is opened up on your route, the navigator reacts quite differently.
The body’s environment is much more dynamic and complex than road traffic: it changes constantly and may be challenged by blockages along certain routes or pathways. Your immune system is constantly getting information and making choices of the best action to take. Your cells are sensing the environment, which steers them in certain directions.
How Does Cancer React to its Environment?
Your body is made up of cells. When cells turn cancerous, they are still cells. The immune system is made up of cells. All those cells are like drivers on the road: drivers are autonomous, but they (generally) follow the rules of the road. The information that they get from traffic lights, cars around them, and sudden changes such as brake lights flashing just ahead directs them on how to react. A green traffic light gets very different behavior from the drivers than does a red light.
All cells react to signals around them. Cells limit absorption of certain chemicals, they can receive certain molecules via certain proteins that act as transporters, they can signal each other or have specific receptors that will only accept specific complimentary proteins. Cells have only a small portion of their DNA active at any time, with most of the DNA code awaiting different conditions to activate — these codes may have been needed at times of famine or plagues and are not needed at the moment, but they are there if conditions warrant. And cells are programmed to deal with a wide range of threats, some of which are beyond our imagination.
Cells also have a common goal: survival. Cancer cells will seek out protein and sugar, they will put on masks to disguise themselves from the immune system, and they will build a protective colony for themselves. They will act in their own self-interest. If the environment they are surrounded by is not supportive of their current behavior, they will try something different. A good body environment that promotes normal cell behavior can even cause them to adjust their responses, resulting in a reversion to normal cell behavior.
From the cancer stem cell’s perspective, it is not abnormal — it is adapting. It is challenged by a harsh environment and is using its “intelligence” to handle the environment better. Stress causes cells to adjust much faster. Cells can activate/deactivate, edit and rearrange their genetic code segments at shocking speed. The cell pursues survival.
Your body is an organism: an organization of cells. It’s purpose is to survive (and thrive). Because of this, systems in the body can override a cell’s individual determination to survive. The immune system, in a certain mode, does just that.
To Destroy or Heal?
New research looks at using the immune system directly to change the way it reacts to cancer. Immune system cells (macrophages) have two modes: M1, which is programmed to kill, and M2, which heals. The killing mode may cause collateral damage and is not the preferred mode of the immune system because it is so destructive.
Researchers have discovered a “switch” which causes the immune system to change function between M1 and M2. This switch occurs in the glucose breakdown pathway, and has been published in Cell Reports, working with the Vienna Metabolomics Center.
Although this research looks to utilize the immune system to target cancer, it does so by changing the cellular environment.
Cancer cells can be dealt with first by direct attack such as from the M1 macrophages, second by providing them with an environment that deprives them of nutrients, or third by conditions that tell these cells that their current reactions are not appropriate for their current environment. Since the cancer cell environment is also the body’s cell environment, we want to make changes that don’t harm healthy cells. Conditions that promote health and boost the immune system are much better than toxic, energy-draining, immune-suppressing, and healthy cell-destroying treatments.
Consider all the chemicals that carry cancer warning labels. Almost universally they are toxins that are foreign to the body. Toxins force the body into a protective inflammatory response, which is why chronic inflammation usually comes before cancer. Both are reactions to a hostile environment.
Researchers Agree on This: Environment Matters
In Pharmaceutical Research, and supported by The Clayton Foundation for Research, an article states that 90-90% of cancers “are due to environment and lifestyles”. The Journal of the American Medical Association simply states that “combining a good diet with other healthy habits” can lower your cancer risk. Research universally agrees that environment impacts your risk of cancer and your treatment of it.
New cancer treatments that inhibit cancer without doing the massive damage of chemotherapy and radiation will keep coming, and they will change the environment of the cancer, bolster the body’s defenses to better discover and destroy cancer, or cause the cancer cells to behave as normal cells. Whatever the scientific advancement, we can see that the trend is towards a better, less destructive environment. So now that you know the key, isn’t it time to take healthier steps, before cancer creates a crisis?
Dr. Nemec’s Comments:
Cancer cells are your cells that have adapted to a toxic environment. Change that environment and you change the outcome. Interesting to note in the Vienna research that the switch to change the macrophage from killing cancer to not is the glucose pathway. Cancer must have sugar to grow and with abundance of sugar from high carbohydrate diets, not only are cancer cells fed and multiply rapidly but also the sugar inhibits the killing strength of the macrophages and the natural killer cells. So to stay healthy and prevent cancer you must reduce the carbohydrate intake and reduce the toxic load of chemicals coming into your system from the air, water and food you consume.