Dec
09
2023

Too much Ultraprocessed Food Makes you sick

A Lancet study published on Nov. 13, 2023 found that too much ultraprocessed food makes you sick. Researchers noted that ultraprocessed animal products and sweetened beverages were linked to an increased cancer risk as well as other diseases such as strokes or diabetes.

In Europe more than half of the food intake consists of ultraprocessed food. In the US a 2019 study found that 71% of the food supply is ultraprocessed.

Details of the study

The details of the study were summarized in a CNN report. Researchers of the study collected nutritional data from 266,666 men and women (60% were women) from 7 European countries between 1992 and 2000. The researchers followed the participants for 11 years. During that time they observed the participants for the development of chronic diseases and cancer. During the observation time 21,917 primary cancers, 10,939 cardiovascular events, and 11,322 type 2 diabetes cases developed. On entry into the study participants were questioned about their food intake in the past 12 months. This was matched with the NOVA classification system. It became clear that not all ultraprocessed foods were detrimental to the health of the participants. Animal products and sugar-sweetened drinks and foods caused chronic diseases in the participants of the study. However, ultra-processed breads, cereals or alternative plant-based products were neutral in terms of health risks.

Main findings of the study: too much ultraprocessed food makes you sick

The main findings of the study were that ingesting mostly ultraprocessed food leads to a 9% increase of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer. This is in comparison to controls who ate very little ultraprocessed food. However, when you reduce your intake of ultraprocessed food your risk of developing these diseases reduces. The key is to eat more fruit and vegetables and concentrate on eating minimally processed food.

Other studies with similar findings

In 2022 the British Medical Journal published two studies that documented a higher colorectal cancer rate and cardiovascular disease rate when subjects were eating larger amounts of ultraprocessed foods (UPF). Specifically, when men had exposure to a high percentage of UPF in their diet they developed 29% more colorectal cancer after 28 years of observation in comparison to men who ate a low percentage of UPF. A related study that went on for 14 years showed a 32% higher risk for death from cardiovascular disease for men who ate a high UPF diet in comparison to men on a low UPF diet.

French study 2019

A French study in 2019 followed 44, 551 French adults 45 years or older for 7.1 years. A 10% increase of consumption of ultraprocessed food caused a 14% higher risk of all-cause mortality. The authors stated that 80% of all premature deaths from noncommunicable disease are due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), respiratory disease, cancer, and diabetes. The authors discussed in detail the problems with overconsumption of ultraprocessed food.

Some of the contents of ultraprocessed food

Ultraprocessed food contains:

  • High salt content, and high sodium intake has been associated with cardiovascular deaths and increased stomach cancer risk.
  • Excessive amounts of added sugar. There is an association between added sugar consumption and an increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
  • Ultraprocessed foods contain very little fiber. More dietary fiber in one’s diet has an association with lower death rates.
  • Studies have estimated that reducing saturated and trans fats, salt, and added sugar in the diet prevent cardiovascular deaths.
  • High temperature food processing produces acrylamide. Acrylamide is a known carcinogen.
  • Consumption of processed meat products causes a higher risk of colorectal cancer and stomach cancer.
More ingredients of ultraprocessed food
  • Artificial sweeteners can alter microbiota and can cause the onset of type 2 diabetes and metabolic diseases.
  • With bisphenol A coating in food packaging endocrine disruptors enter the food. Bisphenol A causes endocrine cancers and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.
  • The food industry uses additives frequently in their formulations. Some studies raised concerns about the health consequences of food additives. For instance, the food industry uses titanium dioxide widely. There is an association of titanium dioxide and increased risk of chronic intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis.

It is easy to see that when we expose our bodies to a mix of these ingredients this can cause cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes. The final outcome is that this leads to premature deaths.

Too much Ultraprocessed Food Makes you sick

Too much Ultraprocessed Food Makes you sick

Conclusion

Too much ultraprocessed food (UPF) makes you sick. This is the conclusion of a large study, which the Lancet published on Nov. 13, 2023. Researchers followed 266,666 men and women (60% women) for 11 years. The main findings of the study were that ingesting mostly ultraprocessed food leads to a 9% increase of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer. This is in comparison to controls who ate very little ultraprocessed food. Other studies going back to 2019 and 2022 showed very similar findings.

Other studies

A French study from 2019 noted that a 10% increase of consumption of ultraprocessed food caused a 14% higher risk of all-cause mortality. Several studies in 2022 showed that men who had an exposure to a high percentage of UPF in their diet developed 29% more colorectal cancer after 28 years of observation in comparison to men who ate a low percentage of UPF. A related study that went on for 14 years showed a 32% higher risk for death from cardiovascular disease for men who ate a high UPF diet in comparison to men on a low UPF diet. It follows from this data that a simple diet consisting of vegetables, fruit, nuts and lean meat (chicken turkey, fish) with minimal amounts of UPF protects you from premature death.

Nov
11
2023

New Treatment against Advanced Bladder Cancer

At a Cancer congress in Madrid, Spain a new treatment against advanced bladder cancer was discussed at this year’s European Society for Medical Oncology Congress. The standard treatment for advanced bladder cancer is gemcitabine in combination with cisplatin or carboplatin. According to CNN the median survival with the standard chemotherapy is 16.1 months. In contrast, treatment with the new intravenous antibody drug enfortumab vedotin in combination with intravenous pembrolizumab resulted in longer survival. The combination yielded a survival of 31.5 months for advanced bladder cancer patients. This new immunotherapy method resulted in a 96% longer survival. The safety profile of the two approaches were similar. 55.9% of patients taking the combination immune therapy developed skin rashes or hyperglycemia, while 69.5% of those taking platinum chemotherapy developed this.

Other new findings about advanced bladder cancer treatment

Dr. Thomas Powles is a professor of urology cancer at the University of London and director of the Barts Cancer Centre in the United Kingdom. He said:” The problem with chemotherapy is although it works quite well initially, resistance occurs quickly, and the median survival for metastatic bladder cancer has been about a year. What this study showed is, we did a big, randomized Phase 3 study where we compared a new treatment — two new drugs — with standard chemotherapy,” Powles said. “And in this randomized trial, when you gave those two drugs together, you reduced the risk of death for this cancer by over 50%. So, you’ve doubled survival, with patients living twice as long, and we’ve got long-term durable remission.”

Erdafitinib study

A second study from the New England Journal of Medicine used erdafitinib in comparison to standard chemotherapy. Erdafitinib is a small molecule inhibitor of fibroblast growth factor receptor and is effective in the treatment of cancer. This study compared 136 patients on erdafitinib with 130 patients on chemotherapy. Patients treated with standard chemotherapy had a median overall survival of 7.8 months. This compares to 12.1 median survival for the erdafitinib group. Erdafitinib, a kinase inhibitor drug, is slowing the spread of cancer cells.

Side effects that led to death were less common with erdafitinib than with chemotherapy. Only 0.7% of erdafitinib patients had serious side effects versus 5.4% of chemotherapy patients.

Nivolumab study

Another clinical trial was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Nivolumab is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that was originally developed for treatment of intractable melanoma. However, subsequently it was found to be active also against lung cancer, kidney cancer and bladder cancer. In the clinical study mentioned above 304 patients with intractable bladder cancer were treated with standard chemotherapy alone. They were compared to 304 patients on standard chemotherapy plus nivolumab.

The median complete response with the nivolumab-combination therapy was 37.1 months. In contrast, with gemcitabine–cisplatin alone it was only 13.2 months. Side effects of the two treatments were about similar. The authors concluded that treatment with the immune checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab plus standard chemotherapy with gemcitabine–cisplatin resulted in better survivals than treatment with gemcitabine–cisplatin alone.

Discussion

Immunomodulation is one of the newest approaches to cancer treatment. But at the Hope 4 Cancer Clinic immunomodulation is only one aspect of a comprehensive approach to cancer treatment.They mention that they restore the microbiome in the gut. Great detail is spent to a full spectrum nutrition. Detoxification and non-toxic cancer therapies are employed. Oxygenation helps to restore the acid/base balance. Immunomodulation with the newer agents mentioned above helps as well to combat cancer. Low-dose laser photodynamic therapy with various light frequencies helps to destroy cancer cells as well. These lasers activate a variety of sensitizers, which are taken up by cancer cells and lead to their destruction. Finally, the cancer patients are taught how to achieve spiritual and emotional well-being. The Hope 4 Cancer Clinic demonstrates that treatment with immunomodulation is best combined with other treatment modalities to improve patient survival.

New Treatment against Advanced Bladder Cancer

New Treatment against Advanced Bladder Cancer

Conclusion

Physicians used three different immune therapies to treat advanced bladder cancer. Erdafitinib vedotin, a kinase inhibitor drug, in combination with intravenous pembrolizumab resulted in a survival of 31.5 months for advanced bladder cancer patients versus 16.1 months with standard chemotherapy. Another clinical trial showed that patients on standard chemotherapy had a median overall survival of only 7.8 months for advanced bladder cancer. This compares to 12.1 months median survival for the erdafitinib group. Finally, nivolumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor was combined with standard chemotherapy. When end stage bladder cancer patients were treated with this combination, they survived 37.1 months. In comparison, the control group with chemotherapy alone (gemcitabine–cisplatin) survived only 13.2 months. There is definitely better survival of patients when immunomodulation is used. The hope is that future immunomodulators will have a stronger effect against cancer with less side effects.

Oct
23
2023

News from the Blue Zones Regarding Longevity

This article is about news from the Blue Zones regarding longevity. Blue Zones are areas where many centenarians live. Medical News Today ran a review article about Blue Zones on Sept. 23, 2023. These Blue Zones are located in Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California and Okinawa, Japan. Many studies looked at centenarians in these areas and analyzed what lifestyles led to their longevity. Dan Buettner summarized at a conference that only 20% of deaths in the world are due to genetic conditions. 80% of people can postpone their death date by adopting healthy lifestyles.

Factors associated with longevity

Dan Buettner called the factors that lead to prolonged life “Power 9”. The following factors must be adopted simultaneously, if you want to reach 100 years of age and more:

  • Moving naturally and regularly
  • People in Blue Zones have a purpose in life
  • Reduce stress in your life
  • Practice the 80% diet rule, which is to stop eating when 80% full
  • Adopt a plant-based diet.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation
  • Be part of a community
  • Put family first
  • keep a social circle that supports healthy behaviors

A diet for longevity

Dan Buettner analyzed the dietary habits of centenarians. He found that 90% of the diet they consumed consisted of whole food, plant-based sources and about 65% of their diet were complex carbs. Buettner noted: “The pillars of every longevity diet in the world are whole grains, nuts, greens, and other garden vegetables, tubers and beans.” For years the benefits of a Mediterranean diet were investigated and found to be life prolonging. It also emphasizes vegetables, whole foods, greens, grains, nuts and beans. The review article in Medical News Today that I mentioned above contains recommendations of how to change your diet to a healthier one.

Regular exercise

We are built in a way that requires regular exercise. When you exercise regularly, your body produces healthy HDL cholesterol that balances the unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Overall, this counteracts clogging of arteries and prevents heart attacks and strokes.

When you prevent strokes and heart attacks, you live longer.

Have a purpose in life

When you have a purpose in life, your mind is focused on what excites you. Achieving what is your dream satisfies you. Your brain releases feel-good brain hormones (dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin). When these hormones are released, you relax and cope with stress better. Your blood pressure normalizes, hardening of the arteries is postponed. At the same time, you prevent heart attacks and strokes. This contributes to longevity.

Reduce stress in your life

When under stress, your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol. In the short term these stress hormones help you to cope better with stress. But when stress gets chronic, it weakens your immune system and increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke. It ages you faster. You can counter stress in your life by adopting stress management techniques. Regular exercise stabilizes your emotional life. You can listen to relaxation recordings or to relaxing music to calm your nerves. Developing friendships is another method of coping with stress. Here is more information on how to reduce stress in your life.

Limit alcohol consumption

In the past it was thought that small amounts of alcohol would prevent cardiovascular disease. But these studies overlooked the fact that even small amounts of alcohol can cause various cancers. So, by limiting the amount of alcohol consumption you also limit your probability of getting cancer.

Be part of a community

Many psychological studies showed that social isolation leads to health problems. It follows from this that being part of a community stabilizes your health and prevents disease. When you socialize with other people you counter stress and prevent loneliness.

Putting family first

When you care about your family, family members will care about you. Studies showed that this is an important factor in preventing disease. It even reduces mortality. Lower mortality leads to longevity.

Keep a social circle that supports healthy behaviors

Strangely enough here is another psychological factor that leads to longevity: getting support from a social circle. Being part of a social circle can create positive energy that prevents health problems.

Discussion of factors that lead to longevity

It is interesting to see that a lot of the longevity factors are psychological in nature. But physical factors are also important, like a Mediterranean diet and regular exercise. One factor that was not mentioned by Dan Buettner is the importance of preservation of hormone stability. I attended many yearly conferences of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (also known as A4M). They take place in the middle of December in Las Vegas every year. Over the years many lectures centered around hormone deficiencies. They collectively lead to premature aging and deaths. However, speakers also stressed that when you replace the missing hormones, you can reach a balance point where life gets prolonged.

Hormone replacement

One of the speakers, Dr. Hertoghe, an endocrinologist from Brussels mentioned in various talks that a lack of human growth hormone (HGH) in older age can lead to premature death. When IGF-1 levels in the blood are low, replacing the missing HGH with regular HGH injections can add 26.5 years to your life expectancy. But other hormones like thyroid hormones, testosterone in males, and progesterone and estrogen in females can prolong life when replaced after menopause or andropause (the male version of menopause).

News from the Blue Zones Regarding Longevity

News from the Blue Zones Regarding Longevity

Conclusion

Many factors contribute to longevity in centenarians. A lot of the factors are psychological in nature, like having a purpose in life or reducing stress in your life. Others are: be part of a community, put family first and keep a social circle that supports healthy behaviors. Physical factors causing longevity are moving naturally and regularly; adopt a plant-based diet; and consume alcohol in moderation. There is one important factor of longevity that Dan Buettner overlooked: your hormone balance. When we approach age 60 and beyond many people stop producing adequate amounts of hormones.

Replacing missing hormones

Anti-aging doctors have done studies showing that replacing missing hormones in proper doses will prolong life. Dr. Hertoghe, an endocrinologist from Brussels mentioned in various talks that a lack of human growth hormone (HGH) in older age can lead to premature death. When IGF-1 levels in the blood are low, replacing the missing HGH with regular injections can add 26.5 years to your life expectancy.

Jul
15
2023

Poor Health is Linked to Loneliness and Social Isolation

In June 2023 a new study showed that poor health has a link to loneliness and social isolation. It was also reviewed by CNN. There have been many studies in the past examining whether poor health shows an association to loneliness and social isolation. But this new study is different: it is a meta-analysis of 90 prospective studies with follow-up from 6 months to 25 years. The study included only persons age 18 years and older. There was a total of 2.2 million participants. The study specifically examined the links between loneliness, social isolation and early death.

The Meta-analysis

This new meta-analysis is significant, because with such a high number of participants the statistical strength is much better than with smaller studies. All of the 90 studies examined were prospective studies. The meta-analysis showed the difference between controls and various experimental groups suffering loneliness, social isolation and early death. The researchers identified independent risk factors of subsets among the 2.2 million subjects as discussed further below.

Loneliness

The definition of loneliness in the study was the subjective distress people feel when there is a discrepancy between the social relationships they have and what they want. If their is no fulfillment of the need for connection or intimacy in their relationships, this too can be a source of loneliness. There is increased isolation of Americans due to the increase in TV watching, spending more computer time and increase in cell phone use. This is loneliness by choice. But very few know that this can cause disease.

Social isolation

When people are under social isolation, they are under chronic stress, which translates into disease. In the statistics below it is apparent that cancer and cardiovascular mortality show a significant elevation from social isolation. In women with breast cancer there was a 51% increased mortality due to social isolation.

Findings of the study

Here are the findings form the metaanalysis. All the findings of patients suffering from loneliness and social isolation were in comparison to control groups without social deprivation.

  • There is a 32% all-cause mortality from loneliness and social isolation
  • Loneliness is responsible for a 14% increase in mortality compared to those who are not lonely
  • There is a 24% increased cancer mortality due to social isolation
  • Social isolation is responsible for a 34% increase of cardiovascular mortality
  • Socially isolated individuals with cardiovascular disease had a 28% increased all-cause mortality
  • Socially isolated women with breast cancer had a 51% increased all-cause mortality

Life style factors part of loneliness and social isolation

Turhan Canli, a professor of integrative neuroscience in the department of psychology at New York’s Stony Brook University had no involvement in the study. He said: ”People who feel socially isolated or lonely tend to have unhealthy habits, such as smoking, alcohol use, poor diet or little exercise. Having a small social network or little to no contact with the outside world can also make someone less likely to receive medical care if they don’t have anyone checking on them.”

Broadening social connections

We learnt how devastating loneliness and social isolation are for your health. It follows from this that the solution is to concentrate on broadening social connections as a preventative measure. Canli said: “Think of maintaining a social network like any other health-promoting activity: exercising regularly, eating well, looking after yourself.” Cultivate your social connections with a higher priority than in the past. Engage in new circles of like-minded people. Seek opportunities out like joining an exercise class or a discussion group.

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Conclusion

Loneliness and social isolation are a real entity that threatens all of our health. A meta-analysis of 90 prospective studies (6 months to 25 years of follow-up) including more than 2 million people showed the following. There is a 32% all-cause mortality from loneliness and social isolation. Cancer mortality is up 24% due to social isolation. Socially isolated individuals with cardiovascular disease had a 28% increased all-cause mortality. Socially isolated women with breast cancer had a 51% increased all-cause mortality. There were more findings than these. Overall, this stresses the importance to cultivate your social connections, which prevents social isolation and loneliness. You will stay healthier for longer and not die prematurely.

May
20
2023

Lung Cancer Screening Program

In 2013 the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended a yearly lung cancer screening program. The target population was age 55 to 80. Specifically, this program was to screen people who currently smoke, or had quit within the last 15 years and had a smoking history of 30 or more pack-years. Screening occurs with a special CT scan using low-dose radiation for lung screening. In the US Medicare and Medicaid reimburse residents for the cost of this procedure. The BCMA Journal describes the introduction of a similar lung cancer screening program in BC since May 2022. In the US the lung cancer mortality experienced a 20% drop since the introduction of the lung cancer screening program. This is because physicians now find lung cancer at stage 1 where treatment with surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy is much more effective.

Feasibility of a lung cancer screening program

Typically, with the conventional plain X-ray screening of symptomatic patients 40% of them, which radiologists diagnosed had lung cancer at a late stage, namely stage 4. At that stage the 5-year survival is less than 10%. However, now they diagnose patients with early lung cancer at stage 1 using a low-dose CT scanner with the lung cancer screening program. At this stage the 5-year survival rate is 73% to 90%. We know that the main lung cancer cause is cigarette smoking, the second cause is the aging process.

Lung cancer screening program free for patients

Similarly to the US the government sponsors the BC Lung Cancer Screening Program with no cost to the patient. With yearly checks the low-dose CT scanner detects early lung lesions that are highly suspicious of lung cancer. The screening program includes the higher age group and the ones who were heavier smokers. This is the highest lung cancer risk group, which benefits most from the lung cancer screening program.

What happens when the lung cancer screening program identifies early lung cancer?

With all the nodules that the CT scan screening finds, some have the features of suspicious nodules that require biopsy to check histologically whether or not there is lung cancer present.

Various methods to do lung biopsies

The simplest way for the physician to do this is by way of a bronchoscopy, where he inserts a needle into the nodule and retrieves a tissue sample. The pathologist analyzes this biopsy under the microscope. Not all suspicious nodules are within easy reach by bronchoscopy. If a lesion is located close to the lung surface the physician can do a needle biopsy through the skin (transcutaneous biopsy or transthoracic biopsy). Some patients require a biopsy using video-assisted thoracic surgery, which is performed under general anesthesia. Other patients require an open biopsy, which the chest surgeon performs under general anesthesia. In this case the chest surgeon opens the chest cavity and removes a piece of lung tissue, which the pathologist later analyzes for cancer.

Test to determine the extent of the lung cancer

The lung cancer stages are: stage I, II, IIIA, IIIB and IV. Following the initial X-ray, the physician will order an MRI or CT scan in order to determine whether the lung lesion was the only finding or whether there were metastases nearby. The MRI/CT scan can show whether or not there is involvement of the lymph glands in the chest or not. If there are lymph glands in the chest, a thoracic surgeon may be called in to do a mediastinoscopy, where the surgeon can look into the space between the lungs and the rib cage and assess the extent of the metastases in this otherwise difficult to assess space.

Distant metastases

The oncologist will want to continue to do the staging tests by doing CT scans of the liver, the adrenal glands and the brain to determine whether distant metastases are present. Blood tests and bone scans will rule out bone metastases. Finally, when all this information is gathered, the oncologist can do what is called an” extent of disease evaluation”. The following could be found for the various stages.

Extent of disease evaluation: Staging of lung cancer

Stage: 

I :  solitary lung tumor of less than 3 cm (=1 1/4″) in diameter

II :  tumor more than 3cm(= 1 1/4″) in diameter, local lymph gland metastases on the same side as the tumor

IIIA :  peripheral lung tumor: invaded the chest wall; central lung tumor: invaded distal mediastinal nodes on the same side

IIIB :  same as stage IIIA, but more extensive lymph gland invasion involving mediastinal organs and pleural cavity

IV :  Any of the above stages, but in addition distal metastases

Is it wasted time to do the staging procedure?

Why are oncologists “wasting time” to do the staging procedures? Studies over several decades have taught us that treatment of cancer without staging often gives everyone a false sense of security, where they learn later that the real extent of the cancer was much worse than originally thought. While everyone was thinking no further therapy was necessary, the cancer quietly multiplied and spread until it was too late to do anything about it. With the progress in the treatment of childhood leukemia oncologists learnt that long-term survival and cure rates could show significant improvement with adequate staging in the beginning and by following appropriate treatment protocols. In the last few years this has paid off for lung cancer as well.

Treatment of lung cancer

When the oncologist does an “extent of disease evaluation” he can discuss with the patient and the family what stage the lung cancer is in and what the chances of survival for the lung cancer are based on a vast amount of knowledge. There is a discussion of treatment options in detail and the oncologist can tailor the therapy to the needs of the patient. In principle, the approach to treat stage I and II is mainly by surgery to remove all cancer within the healthy surrounding tissue.

Surgical risk and treatment of stage III and IV

With an oncological or thoracic surgeon this kind of surgery has only a mortality of 1% to 8%. In younger patients this risk is lower, in patients above 75 years of age the risk is higher. With surgery higher survival rates are achievable (up to 80 % in stage I, up to 50% in stage II). Stage IIIA can be managed surgically, but stage IIIB needs another approach. Usually with this stage as well as with stage IV radiotherapy and combination chemotherapy is needed.

Lung Cancer Screening Program

Lung Cancer Screening Program

Conclusion

In the US a lung cancer screening program is in place since 2014. Since then, lung cancer mortality has dropped 20%. Also, in 80% of cases lung cancer is in stage I, the earliest form of lung cancer. In the past the majority of diagnosed lung cancer was in stage IV with a 5-year survival of only 5-10%. Now with the CT scan lung cancer screening program the 5-year survival is 73% to 90%. Treatment is mostly surgical for earlier-stage lung cancer (stage I, II and IIIA). For stage IIIB and stage IV a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and possibly chemotherapy is in use. The emphasis is on smoking cessation and yearly screening with a low-dose CT scanner.

May
07
2023

Colorectal Cancer in a younger Population

There seems to be a trend that physicians see colorectal cancer in a younger population. In the past colorectal cancer was almost solely confined to people above 50. But now some people get diagnosed as early as 35 years or 40 years.

On March 10 CNN published a report from Sara Stewart, a film and culture writer.

Example of person who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at age 45

She describes that she was diagnosed at age 45 with a stage 3 colon cancer. She thinks that the medical profession does not pay enough attention to toxins that may be  causing colorectal cancer. Statistics show that colorectal cancer among younger patients than colorectal cancer among younger patients than 55 increased increased from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019.

At the same time colorectal cancer has decreased from 66 per 100,000 in 1985 to 35 per 100,000 in 2019. This means the incidence of colorectal cancer almost halved in 34 years.

Since the 1980’s doctors did colonoscopies on a large scale, which contributed to the rates of colorectal cancer decreasing. With a colonoscopy the doctor removes any identified polyps, which otherwise convert into colorectal cancer. It is a preventative procedure, which is very effective in preventing this cancer.

Colonoscopy screening

Earlier on the medical profession recommended screening with colonoscopy at age 50 and beyond; now the recommendation is from 45 onward. But more and more people are coming down with colon cancer at younger and younger ages, like 30 to 35. With a screening colonoscopy at the age of 30, the doctor can prevent these cancers because he/she removes colorectal polyps that are precursors of cancer. If the physician does not find a polyp at the age of 30, the next screening could take place at age 38 or 40. With a positive polyp test further screening could take place every 3 years. This would prevent a lot of colorectal cancers.

Statistics of colorectal cancer in a younger population

Newer cancer statistics show the following:

  • In the US from 2011 to 2019, colorectal cancer rates increased 1.9% each year in people below the age of 55.
  • In younger than 50-year-old patient death rates from colorectal cancer climbed 1% each year. At the same time the overall death rate of colorectal cancer fell 57% between 1970 and 2020 (largely due to the effect of doing colonoscopies).
  • There are huge differences in cancer rates of colorectal cancer in different states: Utah colorectal cancer rates were lower: 27 cases per 100,000 people; in contrast, the number was 46.5 per 100,000 in Mississippi. This points to environmental/industrial factors playing a larger role in causation of colorectal cancer.

Causation of colorectal cancer in a younger population

In 2020 the National Cancer Institute reported about scientists “examining factors in the environment as potential causes of early-onset colorectal cancer. Such factors include air and water pollution, chemicals in soil and food, and pesticide use.” In some cases, there may be adverse lifestyle factors at play like poor diets (too much fat, too much meat and junk foods), excessive weight and lack of exercise. Dr. Kimmie Ng, director of the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, told NBC News the following.

Environmental factors causing early colorectal cancer

“It isn’t just diet and lifestyle, there is something else. We see so many young patients with colorectal cancer who follow very healthy lifestyles and diets.” Dr. Folasade P. May, an associate professor of medicine in the University of California, Los Angeles Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases added: “When something is affecting people who have their birth years in common, then we know it’s something in the environment that has led this whole group of people to have higher rates.  Among industrial poisons benzene, asbestos, vinyl chloride, radon, and arsenic are examples of toxic substances that can increase the risk of cancer to those who are exposed.”

Colorectal Cancer in a younger Population

Colorectal Cancer in a younger Population

Conclusion

On the one hand colorectal cancer has decreased in frequency by almost 50% between 1985 and 2019. But on the other hand, colorectal cancer in the younger population has a much earlier onset, way before the previously common age of 50. Doctors find the cancer at a later stage, which has a higher mortality rate. Experts expect environmental factors to play a role like exposure to benzene, asbestos, vinyl chloride, radon, and arsenic. In addition, air and water pollution, chemicals in soil, food, and pesticide use could play a role. In some cases, there may be adverse lifestyle factors at play like poor diets (too much fat, too much meat and junk foods), excessive weight and lack of exercise.

Start initial colonoscopy screening at age 30

The solution to this problem could be a very early colonoscopy screening around the age of 30. In the case of an examination that is negative for polyps at age 30, the next screening could take place at age 38 or 40. With a positive test for polyps at age 30 further screenings could take place every 3 years. This would prevent a lot of colorectal cancer in the younger age population.

Apr
16
2023

What you Must Know about Male Hormones

Dr. Pamela Smith, an anti-aging physician gave a talk about what you must know about male hormones. She spoke on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022 at the Sands Conference Center of the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas. The title was “What you must know about male hormones”. She presented 199 slides, so the following can only be a brief summary of what she said. She started by saying that the term “male menopause” goes back in time to 1944. Other terms are andropause and late onset hypogonadism.

Different testosterone levels at different ages

It is important to realize that at age 20 the blood testosterone level is around 900 ng/dL, but this declines after age 30. It is 550 ng/dL at the age of 40. At the age of 50 the testosterone level is 350 ng/dL. And at the age of 70 the testosterone level has shrunk to 200 ng/dL or less. With this in mind, there are also seasonal variations with higher levels of testosterone occurring in summer and early fall, and low levels happening in winter and early spring. A healthy male produces the following male hormones: Testosterone, 5-6 mgs/day; Androstenedione, 3 mgs/day; DHT, 0.300 mgs/day; DHEAS, 50 mgs/day; and DHEA, 15 mgs/day.

Functions of testosterone

In other words, testosterone is the male hormone responsible for the male body characteristics. Every male body cell has testosterone receptors on it. Truly, this way testosterone is involved in protein manufacture and muscle maintenance. In fact, bone formation depends on testosterone and oxygen uptake as well. It is also controlling blood sugar together with insulin. In addition, normal sperm production depends on testosterone. To clarify, testosterone also regulates cholesterol and the immune system. By all means, it also helps to improve mood, is important for mental concentration and helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, there is stimulation of platelets and megakaryocytes by testosterone, which makes blood clotting easier.

Symptoms of andropause

It must be remembered, towards the end of their 60’s many men get symptoms of tiredness, loss of energy and depression. Specifically, they may get a bad temper, present with irritability, anxiety and nervousness. Specifically, they complain of a loss of memory, loss of sex drive and libido. Certainly, their erections are getting weak or they lose them altogether. There is a decreased intensity of orgasm and they are gaining weight. All this should prompt their physician to have a total testosterone blood test done. When the testosterone level is less than 500 ng/dL the person should see their physician for replacement testosterone therapy.

Other signs of testosterone deficiency

There are other signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency: backaches and joint pains, loss of fitness, being overstressed. In addition, testosterone-deficient males experience a decrease in job performance and a decline in physical fitness. They have bone loss, elevation of their blood cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease. They often also have increased insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Mortality in men with low testosterone is much higher than in controls with normal testosterone. Several dozens of literature references were provided to support the above statements.

Testosterone replacement and hormone balance

When a patient is on testosterone replacement, a digital rectal exam should be performed to check for the size of the prostate gland. A PSA should be done every year (in former prostate cancer patients every 3 months). PSA should stay below 4.0 ng/mL. If the PSA rises by 1.5 ng/mL in one year or by 0.75 ng/mL in two consecutive years, a urologist should be consulted to rule out prostate cancer.

Men produce small amounts of estrogens, which are important for memory function of the brain and for strong bones. Androgens and testosterone aromatize into estrogen via the enzyme aromatase in fatty tissue. There are a few reasons why aromatase increases: obesity, excessive alcohol intake, chronic inflammation and high insulin levels.

The following medications lower estrogen levels: phenobarbital, carbamepazine, trazodone, chlordiazepoxide and sulcrafate.

Side effects from elevated estrogen levels

Increased estrogen levels in males cause gynecomastia (colloquially called “beer tits”), decreased sex drive, heart attacks, strokes and benign prostate hypertrophy. Elevated estrogen levels also cause insulin resistance, rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer. Dr. Smith referenced all of these statements again with many literature quotations.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

This metabolite of testosterone is 3-times stronger than testosterone. It is formed from testosterone by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. It is responsible for the male-specific characteristics, the male genitalia and the prostate gland. Low levels of DHT cause reduced sexual function, decreased libido and weakened muscle function. On the other hand, elevated DHT causes male pattern baldness, hirsutism and benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH). There are two 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, namely finasteride and dutasteride, that clinicians use to lower elevated DHT levels. This can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by about 50%. Dr. Smith provided many literature quotations to support these statements.

Testosterone replacement therapy

Based on more than 3 dozen literature quotations Dr. Pamela Smith outlined the following:

  • Most men tolerated transdermal testosterone application very well.
  • Erectile dysfunction affects 1 in 5 older men.
  • Erectile dysfunction in association with low blood testosterone and low libido responds to transdermal application of testosterone very effectively.
  • It may take 14-25 weeks before transdermal testosterone treats erectile dysfunction successfully, more than 50% of men respond to this.
  • Testosterone replacement prevents beta amyloid precursor protein production, which increases memory and decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s development.
  • High stress produces high cortisol levels in the blood, which affect the hippocampus, where memory is located. Testosterone is neuroprotective, and it preserves memory.
  • Transdermal testosterone decreases coronary heart disease by relaxing coronary arteries. This prevents heart attacks and strokes.
  • Testosterone decreases inflammation and lowers LDL cholesterol.

More facts about testosterone replacement therapy

  • Testosterone lowers inflammatory cytokines and stimulates interleukin-10 production. This has anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic actions, which prevents heart attacks.
  • There was a reduction in mortality from heart attacks in the testosterone treated group of between 66% and 92%. In addition, 30 nonfatal strokes and 26 nonfatal myocardial infarctions occurred in the control group, but none in the testosterone group. Testosterone deficient heart failure patients responded very well to testosterone replacement therapy.
  • Prostate cancer or benign prostate hypertrophy do not increase with transdermal testosterone replacement therapy.
  • A Meta-analysis showed that older men with the highest risk for prostate cancer have the lowest testosterone blood levels.
  • Type 2 diabetics with a high insulin resistance respond well to testosterone replacement therapy. They increase insulin sensitivity and lower their blood sugars. This improvement peaks after 3 months and the effect stays for 12 months.

Further facts about testosterone replacement therapy

  • Testosterone replacement is safe. It provides significant benefits for erectile dysfunction, for muscle mass, prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Testosterone treatment is for males above the age of 50, there is no cut-off for higher ages. There are many controlled clinical trials spanning over 70 years, which support all of what is presented here.
  • Testosterone can’t be taken orally, because it is rapidly metabolized in the liver. Instead, patients use transdermal testosterone gel or cream. Gels are commercially available and very expensive. Compounding pharmacies can provide testosterone creams for you, which are considerably cheaper and can be dosaged according to the patient’s needs. Testosterone esters in oil are available for subcutaneous or intramuscular injection twice per week. This ensured a steady testosterone level.

Improvements after testosterone replacement therapy

  • Timing of improvements: cholesterol reduction occurs by 12 months, for triglycerides it takes 22 months. Testosterone levels take 4 to 12 weeks to normalize. Fasting blood sugars and Hemoglobin A1C come own within 3 months with further improvements by 12 months. Sexual desire and energy are back to normal within 3 to 6 weeks.
  • It is important that you go for blood tests to measure testosterone levels every 3 months initially (blood level). If the levels are stable, the physician may decide to only order tests every 6 months.
What you Must Know about Male Hormones

What you Must Know about Male Hormones

Conclusion

The goal in the aging male is to maintain optimal male hormone levels. This achieves optimal health and prevents diseases of older age. First, it is important to preserve his erections, but at the same time testosterone replacement therapy prevents Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. It also prevents heart attacks and strokes. Testosterone helps to preserve muscle mass. Hormone replacement therapy keeps lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides under control. Testosterone replacement reduces blood sugars and prevents type 2 diabetes mellitus. Replacement therapy also reduces elevated insulin levels. The end result is that testosterone replacement therapy maintains the health of the aging male.

Feb
11
2023

Common Nail Salon Tool Causes Skin Cancer

A recent publication in Nature Communications found that a common nail salon tool causes skin cancer. The researchers voiced concerns about the use of ultraviolet radiation from nail dryers with gel manicures. They were shown to cause DNA breaks in the exposed skin. The artificial nails require ultraviolet radiation to harden them. But the ultraviolet light hits the skin around the nails and of the fingers, which can be the first step in causing skin cancer.

Three stages in the development of skin cancer

In the 1970’s and 1980’s a lot of basic research using mouse models has been done about 3 stages of skin cancer development. Dr. Kripke was one of the pioneers in this field (see Ref. 1 and 2). However, it turned out later that the human skin is not identical to mouse skin and that human skin seems to be more resistant than that of inbred mice. Nevertheless, the basic concept that was researched then has held up to scrutiny over the ensuing decades. The development of skin cancer in man requires three steps.

1. Initiation

Initiators for skin cancer are UV light, tar, nitrogen mustard, psoralen to name a few. The DNA of skin cells undergoes some configurational changes, but when left alone it does not go on to cancer development.

2. Promotion

Common promoters for the development of skin cancer are: Ultraviolet light, phenol, anthralin, phorbol esters, benzoyl peroxide.

3. Carcinogenic effect

The role of carcinogens in skin cancer is not understood very well. However, the classical studies of scrotal cancer in chimney sweepers pointed to the importance of carcinogens in soot of chimneys (Ref.3). This is one of the first human examples for a carcinogen.  Another carcinogen is arsenic. We do not know enough about long-term exposure to small amounts of carcinogenic compounds in drinking water or in polluted air. Other carcinogenic effects are excess radiation from X-rays or irritation from chronic inflammation (lupus lesions, burn scars, decubitus ulcers, chronic osteomyelitis). Repeated exposure to UV light also has carcinogenic effects on the skin by leading to DNA breaks. UV light exposure plays an important part in every step of skin cancer development.

More causes of skin cancer

Squamous cell cancer of the oral cavity and lip has been linked to chewing tobacco or betel nuts. There is also a link to certain viruses such as the human papillomavirus. This model for cancer development is applicable for many other cancers, if not for all forms of cancer. Many stabilizers and antimicrobial/antifungal substances such as parabens are also mild carcinogens. Many physicians warn their patients not to use parabens in tooth paste, cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners and body wash products. I agree with this opinion. Go to a health food store and get alternative products without parabens in it. Read labels! Numerous paraben-free products are also on the shelves of drugstores. If you read the word ”paraben”, leave the product on the shelf. Exposure to UV light and several sunburns in succession can also cause skin cancer.

Common nail salon tool causes skin cancer: further discussion

Ludmil B. Alexandrov holds dual titles as associate professor of bioengineering and cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California San Diego. He said: ”If you look at the way these devices are presented, they are marketed as safe, with nothing to be concerned about. But to the best of our knowledge, no one has actually studied these devices and how they affect human cells at the molecular and cellular levels until now.” Those who want to continue gel manicures, can use some precautions to minimize the risk of skin cancer. Use a sunblock that contains zinc and titanium on the skin of your fingers around the nails. This will block the damaging UV rays. But the safest way is to stop using nail dryers, which are necessary with gel manicures.

A common Tool in the Nail Salon may Damage your DNA and Cause Skin Cancer

A common Tool in the Nail Salon may Damage your DNA and Cause Skin Cancer

Conclusion

We sometimes lose sight of what modern procedures can do to us. One example is the use of gel manicures that require exposure to UV light to harden the gel nail polish. Several layers are applied during a manicure session. Most people do not think that the accumulated exposure to UV light can lead to DNA breaks and eventually cause skin cancer. But dermatologists have noted that there is a direct link between the amount of UV light exposure and the risk to develop skin cancer later in life.

Prevention of UV light exposure

The logical conclusion is to stop using these applications of gel nail polish. However, if the person finds it difficult to abandon this manicure procedure, a compromise is to cover up the skin of your fingers with a sunblock that contains zinc and titanium. You can apply this to the skin of your fingers around the nails. To a certain extent this will block the damaging UV rays, but it is not a guarantee.

References

  1. Kripke ML, Sass ER,eds.”Antigenicity of murine skin tumors induced by UV light”.JNCI 1974;53:1333-1336.
  2. Kripke ML. “Immunology and photocarcinogenenis”. J. Am. Acad.Dermatol. 1986;14:149-155.
  3. Potter M.”Percivall Pott’s contribution to cancer research”. NCI Monogr.1963;10:1.
Oct
08
2022

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives are Healthier

A recent study showed that plant-based meat alternatives are healthier than the original meat dishes. This spread into various health websites on the Internet. One example is this one.

Some statistics about plant-based meat alternatives

Plant-based meat alternatives came to the market in the 1960’s. At that time, they consisted mainly of soy. Later textured vegetable protein joined soy products. Today they consist of pea protein, soy, potato, oils, various binders and flavorings to mimic the texture and flavor of meat.

The global plant-based meat market was about 5 billion USD last year. It is projected to increase by 19% from 2022 to 2030. The plant-based dairy alternatives market totaled 11 billion in 2020. The estimate is that this will grow to 32 billion in 2031.

How healthy are plant-based substitutes?

In the center of this discussion is the publication of Christopher J. Bryant from the Bath University in England. This publication reviewed 43 studies regarding plant-based substitutes regarding healthiness and environmental sustainability. In the following I am discussing the findings, particularly about health benefit of plant-based foods versus meat-based foods.

Problems with our current food consumption

There are several problems with human diseases that are transmitted from wildlife. HIV arouse from hunting of non-human primates. Rabies was transmitted in South America by vampire bats from cattle to humans. Early cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) came from contact with wild life. Finally, bats transmitted the SARS coronavirus-like virus from wild animals and live animal markets to humans. Subsequently human to human transmission caused the spread of Covid all around the world as a pandemic.

Use of antibiotics in feedlots

In order to control diseases in closely kept animal feedlots farmers feed the livestock antibiotics. This helps to contain infections, but it also poses a grave problem to humans as antibiotics become more and more resistant. Superbugs developed this way. 18% of meat imported from China was contaminated with Salmonella. 88% of those exposed to contaminated meat were resistant to at least one antibiotic. But 58% were resistant to multiple antibiotics.

A Harvard study from Boston showed in 2020 that red meat and processed red meat consumption caused 15% more heart attacks compared to those who substituted the protein source with plant-based foods. The same study also noted that the heart attack rates were about 15% less for subjects who substituted meat with plant products in comparison to meat eaters. 

Other results of the study

Several of the reviewed studies compared the nutritional profile of plant-based meat with the animal-based counterparts. Plant-based meat was significantly lower in saturated fat, and protein. However, they were significantly higher in fibre and salt. 40% of meat products were classified as ‘less healthy’. In comparison to that investigators assessed that only 14% of plant-based meat was ‘less healthy’. When saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and overall calorie content were tabulated, plant-based meat products compared favorably to meat. But salt content was often too high in plant-derived foods.

Plant-based burgers were much healthier than conventional beef-burgers, as they contained no cholesterol, less trans-fatty acids and less saturated fat. Vegetable-based food that contains pea protein is particularly valuable with regard to a high protein content.

Criticism of plant-based meat alternatives

At the present time many plant-based meat products have too much sugar and salt in it, but lack iron and vitamin B12. Various authors suggested that the food industry should add iron and vitamin B12 to their products and reduce the sugar and salt content.

Muscle synthesis

Mycoprotein is the active biochemical that builds up the protein of the muscle mass in man. Non-animal-derived dietary protein contains ample amounts of mycoprotein according to this publication. These authors investigated the ingestion of mycoprotein in a dose-response manner. They also measured insulin levels for 4 hours after ingestion of plant-derived mycoprotein. Insulin levels remain higher than normal for a sustained period.

Weight loss

A 2017 study showed that 40 grams of mycoprotein, which is the equivalent of 18 grams of protein was sufficient to lead to a robust muscle synthetic response. 60 g of mycoprotein (27 g protein) provided an optimal response regarding muscle synthesis. Gram for gram milk protein and mycoprotein were equivalent in amino acid bioavailability. Several studies examined weight loss following mycoprotein meals. One study found in overweight patients that chicken protein consumption was  higher in comparison to consumption of plant mycoprotein. The mycoprotein consuming group chose to eat 10% less calories than the chicken control group.

Greenhouse gas emissions and other factors

The publication cited above also included a lot of findings regarding how plant-derived food saves greenhouse gas emissions and other facts. For instance, the pork supply chain requires 3.3-times more fertilizer and 1.6-times more pesticides than the production of plant-derived food. What this means is that plant-derived foods are more environmentally sustainable than animal products.

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives are Healthier

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives are Healthier

Conclusion

Plant-derived foods have improved in the past few decades. Pea-derived plant products are now equivalent in terms of protein content to milk and meat. By eating more plant-derived food people consume less meat, which helps the environment, but also benefits the person who eats it. We know that with the consumption of a certain amount of plant-derived food less people develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. 40 grams of mycoprotein, which is the equivalent of 18 grams of protein was sufficient to lead to a robust muscle synthetic response.

Consumer beware

It is important to realize that not all is well with the list of “fake meat” and other highly processed plant-based products. Consumers must read the list of ingredients. If a product contains a laundry list of ingredients that not even an adult can pronounce and understand, it is very likely a highly processed food product that only pretends to be good for you. Should the sodium content be too high, steer away from it. High sugar content means that you put it back in the shelf. All in all, eating more plant-derived foods makes you healthier and improves the environment at the same time. But it is up to us to be discriminating colourful advertising from a nutritionally sound product.

Aug
13
2022

New Immunotherapy Approach against Cancer

A recent publication reported about a new immunotherapy approach against cancer. The model it dealt with was a very vicious brain cancer with the name glioblastoma. The results of this research were subsequently transferred to another vicious cancer, osteosarcoma, which is a form of bone cancer with a very poor prognosis. Researchers have to do further clinical experiments to establish this new immunotherapy in osteosarcoma patients. Physicians completed the following experiments and clinical studies.

Oncolytic virus Delta-24-RGD can lead to remission in glioblastoma patients

Researchers at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain together with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in the US investigated glioblastoma patients. They found that treatment of glioblastoma patients with oncolytic viruses Delta-24-RGD led to a greater than 3-year remission in 20% of cases. Normally, patients with a glioblastoma survive only 9 months on average. 12% had a greater than 95% reduction in the size of the tumor. This was a phase 1 clinical study with 37 patients who had recurrent malignant glioblastoma. The authors said: “Oncolytic adenoviruses are attractive therapeutic agents because they can kill tumor stem cells and induce cell death by several mechanisms, including direct lysis, expression of toxic proteins, induction of cytokines, and T-cell–mediated immunity.” The particular oncogenic virus that the researchers used was an adenovirus Delta-24-RGD.

Transferring glioblastoma results to a cure for osteosarcoma

The same researchers wanted to see whether the cure rates of treating patients with glioblastoma was transferable to other cancer patients. In particular they were interested in patients with osteosarcoma, which is a similarly vicious cancer. Advanced osteosarcoma has a survival rate of 27% after 5 years. The researchers first did experiments with a human osteosarcoma cell line in tissue culture and at the same time a murine osteosarcoma cell line. Later they tested the action of oncolytic viruses Delta-24-RGD in a mouse model.

Experiments with osteosarcoma cells in tissue culture

The advantage of such experiments is that you can control all the parameters easily in a Petri dish. But critics say that this is far removed from osteosarcoma behavior in humans. Researchers found that the oncolytic virus Delta-24-RGD killed many osteosarcoma cells in vitro. They also were able to insert a new gene into the oncolytic virus, which was equally effective in killing osteosarcoma cells. They called this virus Delta-24-ACT.

Curing osteosarcoma in a mouse model

Next the researchers tested effectiveness of the oncolytic viruses, Delta-24-ACT and Delta-24-RDG in mice. They injected osteosarcoma cells from tissue culture into the tibia of mice. Tumor growth was subsequently measured. The experimental groups were given two oncolytic virus infections, the control group did not. On day 10 and 18 the researchers could see that controls had faster growing tumors compared to the experimental groups. The experimental groups had less tumor side effects. And the experimental mice survived longer than the controls. Further research showed that the oncolytic viruses produced a 4-1BBL protein, which stimulated the animals’ immune system to fight the osteosarcoma.

New immunotherapy approach against cancer: Effector T cells

Researchers could prove that in mice treated with oncolytic viruses it was the special protein (4-1BBL) that stimulated T lymphocytes to become killer T cells. They in turn attacked the osteosarcoma cells.

New immunotherapy approach against cancer: The need for human research

Doing research in humans is more complicated than in a mouse model. But in order to improve survival rates in patients with osteosarcoma human research is absolutely essential. However, research is complex and the effects of oncolytic viruses is only in the 20% range with regard to increasing survival. This requires more research. It may be that instead of oncolytic viruses a stimulatory protein would arm T cells to become killer T cells that fight the cancer.

New Immunotherapy Approach against Cancer

New Immunotherapy Approach against Cancer

Conclusion

Glioblastoma patients had a better survival after treatment with oncolytic viruses Delta-24-RGD. Researchers translated this type of research to another cancer, osteosarcoma. This also has a poor prognosis, Researchers did experiments in tissue culture and in a mouse model. They were able to show that oncolytic viruses produced a 4-1BBL protein, which stimulated the animals’ immune system to fight the osteosarcoma. Specifically, the protein armed T lymphocytes and turned them into killer T lymphocytes. These destroyed osteosarcoma cells in tissue culture or in the mouse model. It is encouraging to see positive results in a laboratory setting of a tissue culture. The step further in an animal experiment is also a positive achievement. More research will improve the cure rates of osteosarcoma. The effective treatment of osteosarcoma in humans is still far away! The next step is human research that shows improvements in patients’ survival rates.