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A new cure for cancer? Hardly!

The news yesterday was of a new class of drug to fight melanoma using a new mechanism: it boosts your immune system instead of destroying it.

I created this diagram to illustrate the treatment of cancer as of 2010:

But as with many things, best treatment for cancer is prevention. If you protect the tips of the chromosomes (the TELOMERES), you don’t get the recombination and breaks that cause cancer.

The second best the p53 enzyme, the “watchman of the genome”, which repairs DNA, causes damaged cells to stop dividing, or destroys them outright.

The third line is the adaptive immune system of the T Cells, especially the Natural Killer cells. Check out this link to see how your body has possibly cured you of cancer millions of times already.

Once cancer becomes clinically-evident (like the weeds above ground in this diagram,) treatment becomes increasingly destructive from precision surgery, to local radiation, to systemic chemotherapy.

The efficacy of radiation and chemotherapy comes from targeting rapidly-producing cells.  Unfortunately, your own body’s stem cells are also rapidly-producing. So the cure is often worse than the disease and at the very least, it makes it harder to fight the disease

Would you put down a student protest....

.... by dropping napalm on campus?

Returning to our pyramid diagram, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of weed-killer, or scorched earth.

Telomerase activation occurs with rest, exercise, good diet, and taking TA-65.

To learn more about the link between cancer and telomeres check out this link.

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