Book Report, Cancer

Book Report: Tripping Over the Truth

Tripping over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine’s Most Entrenched Paradigms by Travis Christofferson

I had been hearing about this book for a bit and was going on a business trip to CA and figured I would start on it, back in early 2017. I had been interested slightly on cancer but this took that interest to a new level. Turns out, the timing on upping my interest level was pretty fortunate, see this interview.

Travis takes us through the history of cancer and the approaches used that have guided how we treat, manage, and think of cancer. The working analysis of the book was that cancer is a metabolic as oppsed to genetic disease.

The first thing that caught my attention in this metabolic angle, a kind of aha moment, was that a PET scan is a real-life evidence that cancer uses more glucose metabolically than other cells.

It’s safe to say that the evidence strongly supports the implementation of metabolic-based therapies in situations of managing advanced brain cancer and metastatic cancer, especially if the tumor expresses a prominent Warburg effect and thus expresses intense visualization with a PET scan, a sign of excess sugar consumption and cellular proliferation.

Otto Warburg was a researcher in the ’30s that was among the first to show tumors have metabolic disturbances, primarily that they use glucose at an exceedingly high rate because their normal energy production machinery (mitochondria) are damaged. This became known as the Warburg effect.

Mitochondria are thought of as the cellular power plants. They generate energy through oxidative respiration, supplying the body with the energy it needs to function. The damaged mitochondria (later pages will show how the damage occurs in the first place), unable to generate enough energy for cellular survival, then send out emergency signals to the nucleus, a 911 call pleading for it to switch on emergency generators. Once this call is made and DNA responds, the entire complexion of the cell changes. It begins to exhibit the hallmark features of cancer: uncontrolled proliferation, genomic instability (the increased probability that DNA mutation will occur), evasion of cell death, and so forth. The process is probably a primordial survival mechanism designed to nurture cells through the transient moments when little oxygen was available that undoubtedly occurred as the planet’s first cells evolved toward increasing complexity. A vestige of our evolutionary past. The bottom line is this: Damage to mitochondria happens first, then genomic instability, and then mutations to DNA. The upshot, according to Seyfried, is that the mutations to DNA, thought to precipitate and drive the disease, are really only a side effect and have sent researchers on a multidecade, multibillion-dollar wild-goose chase. It is a bold proclamation, and the majority of cancer researchers disagree with Seyfried’s assertions, but history is replete with examples of humanity getting big issues wrong for extended periods of time.

The mainstream theory is that Cancer is a Genetic Disease. Since there are numerous genetic anomalies, called somatic mutations (termed as a whole as the Somatic Mutation Theory (SMT)), the thought has been let’s figure out these mutations and target them with drugs.

The problems is two-fold (1) that hasn’t worked and (2) the genetic disturbances happen DOWNSTREAM from the broken energy metabolism. In other words, the damaged mitochondria are communicating up to the nucleus with bad instructions.

The failure to look at the metabolic angle leads to the development of drugs that are chasing downstream events versus the true cause. It’s kind of like creating drugs for a cough without treating what is causing the cough (a cold or pneumonia for example).

Science writer Ralph Moss noticed the odd criteria that the FDA used to approve drugs that allowed scores of ineffectual drugs to gain approval: If you can shrink the tumor 50 percent or more for 28 days you have got the FDA’s definition of an active drug. That is called a response rate, so you have a response . . . [but] when you look to see if there is any life prolongation from taking this treatment what you find is all kinds of hocus pocus and song and dance about the disease free survival, and this and that. In the end there is no proof that chemotherapy in the vast majority of cases actually extends life, and this is the GREAT LIE about chemotherapy, that somehow there is a correlation between shrinking a tumor and extending the life of the patient.

Travis then talks about the work of those pioneering the metabolic approach to treating cancer. Thomas Seyfried is a researcher studying the mitochondrial angle of cancer.  Quite simply, he is remarkable.

Seyfried has shown that a calorie restricted ketogenic diet can starve cancer cells of the fuel they need, while providing a fuel (ketones) to healthy cells. Further cancer cells can’t use ketones! win win

He also looked at hyperbaric oxygen. Dom D’agostino came across something interesting while studying hyperbaric oxygen for the NAvy. Certain cells were dying, and they turned out to be cancer cells. Hyperbaric oxygen, while the patient is in ketosis (having blood ketones from fasting/diet present) can cause oxidative stress to cancer cells, all the while those ketones provide antioxidant support to normal cells.

There were also a number of other specifics that were introduced in a very understandable way. This book was extremely well written and for me a jumping off point into this field. I promptly purchased Seyfried’s textbook, and a textbook in hyperbaric oxygen. And as seen in this video, began deploying these techniques with amazing results promptly!

This Book Report collection is meant to provide some of the best take-home points from the health and science genre I read. I will continue to go thru my notes of the 160+ and counting (as of January 2019) Kindle books I have on file. To view ALL the notes I saved on this one AND many others without a Book Report post yet, THAT IS ALSO SEARCHABLE, please click here.

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