This is one of my stories (excerpted from my book, "The Cancer Odyssey") that Gary Carter needs to read.
In an article published in the Scientific American Mind, Dr. Gregory Foltz states that all along, oncologists have been targeting the wrong cells in the treatment of brain cancer (glioma). Dr. Foltz writes that not much progress has been made in the treatment of this disease over the past 35 years; however, researchers have now finally discovered the “missing link” to successful treatment. Current ‘standard of care’ for this disease is surgery to ‘de-bulk’ the tumor, followed by chemo and radiation. “But,” states Dr. Foltz, “most cancers recur, sometimes years later, often having acquired resistance to treatment.”
He explains that cancer treatment was designed to kill rapidly growing cells—cancer cells. But researchers were mystified as to why most cancers inevitably recur after treatment. Recent studies, according to Dr. Foltz, indicate that “this dogma may be dramatically wrong—and in a way that explains the mystery of recurrence.” The “missing link” is that only a small number of cells can cause the growth of cancer cells; this “regenerative minority,” according to Dr. Foltz, are “cancer stem cells.” These cancer stem cells are very similar in characteristic to normal stem cells, and that is why they resist standard treatment. One characteristic of cancer stem cells found in brain tumors is that they have on their surface the same protein (CD133) that is found on the surface of “normal” neural stem cells. Standard treatment attacks fast-growing cells; these cancer stem cells are NOT fast-growing cells. The word Dr. Foltz uses is “quiescent”; they don’t attract a lot of attention as they quietly lie in wait: “a cellular time bomb”, Dr. Foltz terms them. The discovery of the properties of cancer stem cells is the “missing link” that, as Dr. Foltz explains, is the reason why “standard cancer treatments so often fail: those therapies target the wrong cells.”
Dr. Foltz explains that the properties of cancer stem cells cause resistance to standard of care treatment (chemo and radiation): 1. “tumor stem cells divide much less often than most cancer cells. Thus, they are less vulnerable to many chemotherapy agents…and to radiation”; 2. “data suggests that glioma cells bearing the CD133 biomarker actively resist the effects of chemotherapy and radiation…Thus, although standard radiation and chemotherapy treatments kill the proliferating cells that make up most of the tumor, they leave behind, unscathed, a remnant capable of regenerating the deadly mass.”
The focus of conventional therapy is wrong and the effort needs to be re-directed. Dr. Foltz told us so. The new researchers are finally starting to think outside the box, using a systems approach to solve the cancer problem, focusing on gene activity, characteristics of cancer stem cells, proteins, and molecular pathways. Why wasn’t this shift made years ago, after the failure of chemotherapy was first observed? The basis of the scientific method is a systematic method of observation, experimentation, including trial and error, and the testing of hypotheses. The millions of failed trials by individuals clearly indicate that the toxic method is erroneous. The hypothesis that is the basis for chemotherapy is not proven. The experiment does not compare the results of a treatment group taking chemotherapy against a control group that does not take chemotherapy. The experiment is flawed; the results, as my college statistics professor would say, are “spurious.” False, not authentic, not genuine, deceitful. This experiment is a failure, an abysmal failure. It should have been abandoned decades ago, and alternative hypotheses should have been formulated. Yet the cancer industry continued to cling to this hypothesis, regardless of the failure rate. When WILL the Establishment come clean? Chemotherapy not only kills healthy cells, but it kills the wrong cancer cells. The cancer cells that cause the rapid growth continue to grow unaffected and unchecked by chemotherapy. This is why the oncologists created a “remission” period. They know that the cancer will return, and they are waiting for it to return. We are the guinea pigs, participating in a science experiment gone bad. It doesn’t work. Dr. Foltz just told us so. Please listen to him.
Dr. Gregory Foltz, “New Hope for Battling Brain Cancer”, Scientific American Mind Mar/Apr 2010: 50-57.
Excerpt from "The Cancer Odyssey"