How did we get here - The Warburg Effect
In the 1970's my husband was working in the Aish Hatorah office in Jerusalem. His secretary's father was a well known scientist and she told him about the time that her father was in London for some reason (I apologize if I leave out information or have incorrect details, it's been many years since I heard the story). He went to see the dinosaurs exhibit in the natural history museum there, and after what I assume was careful inspection of the exhibits and especially the giant murals covering the walls, he ran into the curator of the museum. After exchanging names and pleasantries he asked the curator, "Why are all the dinosaurs green?" To which the curator responded, "Who are you?"
By the time Otto Heinrich Warburg (October 8, 1883 – August 1, 1970), received his Nobel prize, his accomplishments both in science and in life were quite extraordinary. He was the son of physicist Emil Warburg, was a German physiologist and medical doctor. He served as an officer in the elite Ulan (cavalry regiment) during the First World War, and won the Iron Cross (1st Class) for bravery. Warburg was one of the 20th century's leading biochemists. He won the Nobel Prize of 1931. In total, he was nominated an unprecedented three times for the Nobel prize for three separate achievements.
Warburg investigated the metabolism of tumors and the respiration of cells, particularly cancer cells, and won his Nobel Prize in Physiology for his "discovery of the nature and mode of action of the respiratory enzyme." The award came after receiving 46 nominations over a period of nine years beginning in 1923, 13 of which were submitted in 1931, the year he won the prize. (Wikipedia)
Thomas Seyfried starts all his lectures lately by mentioning the 24 "Provocative Questions" about Cancer posted by the NCI (National Cancer Institute). If you go to their website you won't find this one, but most professionals in the field are aware of it. "Is cancer a nuclear genetic disease or a mitochondrial metabolic disease?" He says that this is because the DOGMA of cancer has infiltrated through all of the textbooks, from high school to college cellular and molecular biology, as well as to top scientific journals. It is assumed that the nature of cancer as a disease is genetically caused and if there is some mitochondrial component, it can only be secondary to genomic instability.
Seyfried mostly agrees with Otto Warburg's basic theory of cancer. But over time he admits that this perspective has developed a few weaknesses as well. It does not account for:
a) The role of tumor-associated mutations, which were increasingly coming to the fore in cancer research.
b) The entire phenomenon of metastasis.
c) The molecular mechanisms of uncontrolled cell growth and how they related to impaired respiration (the fermentation of glucose in the presence of oxygen (aerobic glycolysis) was merely a symptom of cancer, not the cause).
The strongest evidence against Warburg was that many tumors continued to utilize oxygen while also engaging in fermentation. But recently Seyfried and others showed that this utilization of oxygen by tumors is without any energy-generating capacity. It is oxidation "uncoupled" from any normal or productive usage. (This means that they take in oxygen but can't use it to make energy.)
So now it has become an argument of the chicken and the egg. Is cancer caused by mutated nuclei or by damaged mitochondria? Dr. Seyfried holds the view that the lethal flaw doesn't originate in the nucleus at all but in the mitochondria. He sees that the impact of carcinogens like radiation, tobacco smoke, asbestos, persistent inflammation etc. can critically damage the mitochondria because the mitochondria are bodies with extremely delicate internal organs, and not just the nucleus. This damage causes chronic inflammation and respiratory insufficiency.
Other causes of cancer are rare mutations which account for 5% to 7% of cancers that are inherited. He's shown that these nuclear genes, Brca for example, encode proteins that actually disturb the energy metabolism of the mitochondria. and viruses like Hepatitis C, will replicate in the mitochondria or their products go to the mitochondria and cause the cancer. Some damaged cells die off because their damaged mitochondria can't produce enough energy for them to continue. But others find a way to generate a very limited amount of energy in order to survive, and produce toxic waste products like carbon dioxide and lactic acid. This is called "Compensatory fermentation". This provides energy for a cancer cell's survival and proliferation, providing that there is an abundant source of glucose or its carbohydrate precursors.
Eighty-three years ago science was put on the road to the roots of cancer, but inexplicably took a sharp left turn towards a genetic theory instead of taking the right road towards Metabolic (Warburg effect) theory. Interestingly this was based on the flawed suggestion of a Dr. Theodor Boveri who studied the development of sea urchins in 1914 and noticed that these organisms would abort if they had chromosomal abnormalities. He knew of the work of Dr. David Von Hansemann who studied chromosomal abnormalities of cancer, combined his work and Von Hasselman and without ever actually studying cancer himself, concluded that, "I think cancer is a chromosomal disease", never asking if this was the cause or effect. By the way, Von Hansemann disagreed with him. When frustrated by the lack of acceptance of his ideas, Otto Warburg would quote Max Plank: "Science advances one funeral at a time", and explained that science progresses not because scientists change their minds, but rather because scientists attached to erroneous views die and are replaced.
Main street medicine is still slow to catch up, but today you don't need your doctors permission to follow your best course of action. The internet has allowed us not only to learn about the Metabolic causes of cancer but also to make contact with leaders in the field of Ketogenics. To ask their advise and get a response. Skype, email and telephones allow interested parties to get treatment from a distant doctor, researcher or dietician. The day's of being "stuck" with a physician or protocol because of your insurance carrier are in the past. Metabolic Therapy is time consuming and challenging in personal behavior modification, but it doesn't come with the price tag that chemo does and therefore it is affordable and doable.
Check out Thomas Seyfried explaining this in his in own words, at the lecture he gave in 2013, at the ACAM Hollywood Florida Conference on Mitochondria.
Dr. George W. Yu, M.D. of Aegis Medical and Research Associates, clinical professor of Urology, George Washington University Medical Center not only researches the effects of a restricted calorie diet on cancer, he lives it. Dr. Yu practices the diet right along side the numerous patients that he treats with it — his dedication and conviction is both inspirational to his patients, and to the cancer research community.
This is an important article that gives the history of how we ended up with mainstream science focused on the underlying genetic causes for cancer. It is cancer biology’s Most Fundamental question: What is the origin of cancer? by Travis M Christofferson
This article discusses Theodor Boveri enthusiastically as the facilitator who took a leap of faith to connect damaged genes (or chromosomes as he called them) to cancer.