Dr. William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer.
|Scooped by Graham Player Ph.D.|
I have reported on this important subject before, and do so again as a reminder of its relevance. I have summarized the key points in the video, for those who would rather read the text.
Our bodies use a process called angiogenesis to grow blood vessels.
There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in a typical adult, and they have the ability to adapt to whatever environment they are in. We have 19 billion capillaries in our body, which are the smallest blood vessels.
We get almost all of our blood vessels while we are still in our mother’s womb. As adults our blood vessels don’t normally grow, except in a few circumstances. In women blood vessels grow every month to build the lining of the uterus, and during pregnancy they form the placenta. After any injury, blood vessels grow in order to heal the wound. The body is able to release a protein stimulator (angiogenic factor) to encourage blood vessels to grow as needed, and also to release angiogenesis inhibitors to prune back any excess blood vessels. The normal healthy body tries to maintain a baseline complement of blood vessels. This ability to balance angiogenesis, when working properly, prevents the development of blood vessels to feed most cancerous cells, and is one of our most important defense mechanisms against cancer.
However in some diseases the body loses the ability to grow enough blood vessels, and is unable to prune back any excess blood vessels in order to restore the baseline. In these situations angiogenesis becomes out of balance. Insufficient angiogenesis can result in heart attacks, circulatory problems, stroke, nerve damage, and more. Excess angiogenesis can result in cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. It is known that there are over 70 major diseases that share abnormal angiogenesis as their common denominator.
Angiogenesis is a characteristic of every type of harmful cancer, and is a tipping point between a harmless cancer and a harmful cancer. Cancers don’t start out with a blood supply. They are only an accumulation of microscopic cancerous cells that cannot get any larger because they lack a supply of oxygen and nutrients, which come from a blood supply. Without a blood supply most of these cancers will never become dangerous.
Autopsies have shown that about 40% of women aged 40-50 have microscopic cancers in their breasts, and 50% of men aged 50-60 have microscopic cancers in their prostate. Virtually all of us by the time we reach our 70s will have microscopic cancers growing in our thyroid. Fortunately without a blood supply most of these cancers will never become dangerous.
So if we could cut off the blood supply to cancerous cells then a cancer tumor would not be able to develop. This is called anti-angiogenic therapy. It is quite different to chemotherapy, as it is selectively aimed at the blood vessels that are feeding the cancers. Tumor blood vessels are unlike normal healthy blood vessels. They are poorly constructed and highly vulnerable to treatments that target them. Anti-angiogenic therapies have been around for at least the past 10-years, and many of these drugs have already been developed for various cancers. Clinical experience using anti-angiogenic drugs has shown a 70% to 100% improvement in survival for some cancers, such as kidney, multiple myeloma, colorectal cancer, and gastro-intestinal tumors. But for other cancers, improvements have not occurred to the same extent.
Trying to treat cancers once they have become mature is known to be difficult. However preventing them from developing may be the answer.
It is believed by many people that dietary habits may account for the development of one third of all cancers. If this is the case then an obvious solution would to modify our diet, if we can be sure of which dietary habits to change. Another beneficial approach may be to use food as a way of controlling angiogenesis so that blood vessels would not develop to enable cancers to grow. This was the hypothesis of Dr. William Li, and he set out to show that it is entirely possible by eating to starve cancer.
He discovered through scientific laboratory testing that many natural foods, beverages and herbs contain natural inhibitors of angiogenesis. Some notable examples include resveratrol from red grapes which inhibit angiogenesis by 60%, ellagic acid from strawberries, and genistein from soy beans. In fact soy extract, artichoke, parsley, berries, garlic, and red grapes were better inhibitors of angiogenesis than many of the pharmaceutical drugs. It was also discovered that combining certain foods together created a synergy that produced an even greater and more potent inhibitor of angiogenesis.
Dietary cancer prevention with focus on anti-angiogenesis may be one of the preferred solutions to cancer instead of the high cost of end-stage cancer treatment.
Research continues to reveal that many naturally occurring foods are as good, and in some cases better, than drugs in the control of angiogenesis. This is a major step forward in the strategies we have at our disposal for cancer prevention. To learn more visit the Angiogenesis Foundation - http://www.angio.org/
For a list of the dietary sources of naturally occurring anti-angiogenic foods see here - http://blog.ted.com/2010/02/10/dr_william_lis/