Can we eat to starve cancer?

When you have cancer, you are told: Eat anything you like. Cancer has nothing to do with your diet!

And you believe that this a a great advice? Based on science facts or research?

Hang one, listen to Dr. William Li,  head of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit that is re-conceptualizing global disease fighting.

Click this link:  http://www.ted.com/talks/william_li

This video has 3,286,376 hits. So don’t miss out. Listen to what a “real scientist” has got to tell you!

The following are some important points you may want to remember — check with your doctors if you like!

  1. There’s a medical revolution happening all around us, and it’s one that’s going to help us conquer some of society’s most dreaded conditions, including cancer. The revolution is called angiogenesis, and it’s based on the process that our bodies use to grow blood vessels.
  2. The human body is literally packed with them (blood vessels): 60,000 miles worth in a typical adult. End to end, that would form a line that would circle the earth twice. The smallest blood vessels are called capillaries; we’ve got 19 billion of them in our bodies. And these are the vessels of life, and, as I’ll show you, they can also be the vessels of death.
  3. We get most of these blood vessels when we’re actually still in the womb, And what that means is that as adults, blood vessels don’t normally grow. Except in a few special circumstances: In women, blood vessels grow every month to build the lining of the uterus; during pregnancy, they form the placenta, which connects mom and baby. And after injury, blood vessels actually have to grow under the scab in order to heal a wound.
  4. The body has the ability to regulate the amount of blood vessels that are present at any given time. It does this through an elaborate and elegant system of checks and balances, stimulators and inhibitors of angiogenesis.
  5. When we need a brief burst of blood vessels, the body can do this by releasing stimulators, proteins called angiogenic factors that act as natural fertilizer and stimulate new blood vessels to sprout. And when those excess vessels are no longer needed, the body prunes them back to baseline using naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis.
  6. For a number of diseases, there are defects in the system where the body can’t prune back extra blood vessels or can’t grow enough new ones in the right place at the right time. And in these situations, angiogenesis is out of balance. When angiogenesis is out of balance, a myriad of diseases result … there are more than 70 major diseases affecting more than a billion people worldwide, that all look on the surface to be different from one another, but all actually share abnormal angiogenesis as their common denominator.
  7. Now I’m going to focus on cancer because angiogenesis is a hallmark of cancer, every type of cancer … a tumor: dark, gray, ominous mass …. under the microscope, you can see hundreds of these brown staining blood vessels, capillaries that are feeding cancer cells, bringing oxygen and nutrients.
  8. But cancers don’t start out with a blood supply. They start out as small, microscopic nests of cells that can only grow to one half a cubic millimeter in size; that’s the tip of a ballpoint pen. Then they can’t get any larger because they don’t have a blood supply, so they don’t have enough oxygen or nutrients.
  9. In fact, we’re probably forming these microscopic cancers all the time in our body. Autopsy studies from people who died in car accidents have shown that about 40 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 50 actually have microscopic cancers in their breasts, about 50 percent of men in their 50s and 60s have microscopic prostate cancers, and virtually 100 percent of us, by the time we reach our 70s, will have microscopic cancers growing in our thyroid. Yet, without a blood supply, most of these cancers will never become dangerous.
  10. So the body’s ability to balance angiogenesis, when it’s working properly, prevents blood vessels from feeding cancers. And this turns out to be one of our most important defense mechanisms against cancer. In fact, if you actually block angiogenesis and prevent blood vessels from ever reaching cancer cells, tumors simply can’t grow up.
  11. But once angiogenesis occurs, cancers can grow exponentially. And this is actually how a cancer goes from being harmless to deadly. Cancer cells mutate and they gain the ability to release lots of those angiogenic factors, natural fertilizer, that tip the balance in favor of blood vessels invading the cancer. And once those vessels invade the cancer, it can expand, it can invade local tissues.
  12. So, if angiogenesis is a tipping point between a harmless cancer and a harmful one, then one major part of the angiogenesis revolution is a new approach to treating cancer by cutting off the blood supply. We call this antiangiogenic therapy, and it’s completely different from chemotherapy because it selectively aims at the blood vessels that are feeding the cancers.
  13. Now, obviously, antiangiogenic therapy could be used for a wide range of cancers. There’s 12 different drugs, 11 different cancer types. But the real question is: How well do these work in practice?
  14. I started asking myself, “Why haven’t we been able to do better?” And the answer, to me, is obvious; we’re treating cancer too late in the game, when it’s already established and, oftentimes, it’s already spread or metastasized. And as a doctor, I know that once a disease progresses to an advanced stage, achieving a cure can be difficult, if not impossible.
  15. So I went back to the biology of angiogenesis and started thinking: Could the answer to cancer be preventing angiogenesis, beating cancer at its own game so the cancers could never become dangerous?
  16. What could we be adding to our diet that’s naturally antiangiogenic, that could boost the body’s defense system and beat back those blood vessels that are feeding cancers? In other words, can we eat to starve cancer?

Well, the answer’s yes.

  1. So let me show you what happens when we put in an extract from red grapes. The active ingredient’s resveratrol, it’s also found in red wine. This inhibits abnormal angiogenesis by 60 percent. Here’s what happens when we added an extract from strawberries; it potently inhibits angiogenesis. And extract from soybeans. And here is a growing list of our antiangiogenic foods and beverages that we’re interested in studying.

So here are four different teas that we’ve tested. They’re all common ones: Chinese jasmine, Japanese sencha, Earl Grey and a special blend that we prepared. And you can see clearly that the teas vary in their potency from less potent to more potent. But what’s very cool is when we actually combined the two less potent teas together, the combination, the blend, is more potent than either one alone. This means there’s food synergy.

And here are the dietary factors going head to head against these drugs. You can see, they clearly hold their own and, in some cases, they’re more potent than the actual drugs. Soy, parsley, garlic, grapes, berries; I could go home and cook a tasty meal using these ingredients.

  1. Now, I’ve shown you a bunch of lab data, and so the real question is: What is the evidence in people that eating certain foods can reduce angiogenesis in cancer? Well, the best example I know is a study of 79,000 men followed over 20 years, in which it was found that men who consumed cooked tomatoes two to three times a week had up to a 50 percent reduction in their risk of developing prostate cancer. Now, we know that tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, and lycopene is antiangiogenic.

But what’s even more interesting from this study is that in those men who did develop prostate cancer, those who ate more servings of tomato sauce actually had fewer blood vessels feeding their cancer. So this human study is a prime example of how antiangiogenic substances present in food and consumed at practical levels can impact on cancer.

  1. If we’re right, it could impact on consumer education, food services, public health and even the insurance industry. For many people around the world, dietary cancer prevention may be the only practical solution because not everybody can afford expensive end-stage cancer treatments, but everybody could benefit from a healthy diet based on local, sustainable, antiangiogenic crops.
  2. Albert Szent-Gyorgi once said that, “Discovery consists of seeing what everyone has seen, and thinking what no one has thought.” I hope I’ve convinced you that, for diseases like cancer, … there may be a great power in attacking their common denominator: angiogenesis. And that’s what I think the world needs now. Thank you.
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