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An important new study reveals both the abject failure of conventional radiation treatment for cancer, and the very real possibility that blueberries contain a curative compound far more effective than anything modern cancer specialists have available to them to strike at the very root of cancer malignancy.
Published in the journal eCAM and titled, "BlueBerry Isolate, Pterostilbene, Functions as a Potential Anticancer Stem Cell Agent in Suppressing Irradiation-Mediated Enrichment of Hepatoma Stem Cells," researchers reported two major findings:
- Irradiation of liver cancer cells (hepatoma) with the same type of radiation used to treat cancer patients resulted in enriching the highly malignant cancer stem cell subpopulations, as well as cell properties associated with increased invasiveness and treatment resistance. [see figure 1 below]
- The addition of pterostilbene, a stilbenoid chemically related to resveratrol and found in blueberries and grapes, suppressed the adverse changes associated with irradiation.
The figure above shows the enrichment of the CD133 cell marker, and list of 5 additional cellular markers (e.g. c-Myc) indicates enhancement of "stemness" (i.e. malignancy) following radiation treatment.
In order to fully appreciate the significance of these findings, one must first understand what cancer stem cells are.
Cancer Stem Cells
As far as back the mid-19th century, researchers observed that cancer tissue looked like embryonic tissue, and formulated what is known as the embryonal rest theory of cancer (ERTC). According this theory, cancers grow out from a small collection of embryonal cells that persist and do not differentiate into mature adult cells. While the past century has been dominated by the view that cancer is a de-differentiation of adult cells that through repeated arbitrary damage to their DNA have gone 'rogue,' the recent discovery of a small population of stem cells within most cancers, capable of differentiating into all the cell types found within various tumor samples, lends support for ERTC. Furthermore, it underscores just how misguided our views and treatments of cancer have been since the official 'war on cancer' was declared by Nixxon in 1971. If cancer is not strictly a chance byproduct of multi-mutational DNA changes (known as 'internal Darwinism) but a highly organized hierarchy of cells created and governed by the cancer stem cell, then using what amount to weapons-grade materials of mass destruction (chemoagents and radioisotopes) to further drive mutagenesis and cause fatal collateral harm to the patient makes little sense.
Indeed, the ERTC/Cancer Stem Cell explanation is very important, as it explains the mechanism behind the abject failure of the modern chemotherapy and radiation-based standard of care.
Conventional cancer treatments were almost exclusively developed using animal models, where a therapy's effectiveness was determined by its ability to shrink tumors. Animal models, however, are entirely inappropriate when it comes to understanding human cancer because the average rodent life span does not exceed two years, and therefore tumor relapse is exceptionally difficult if not impossible to study. When applied to human physiology, conventional chemotherapy or radiation treatment will effectively 'debulk' a tumor ('fractional ablation'), creating the appearance that the 'war is being won,' when in fact the stem cell population within that tumor has either been enriched, or worse, has been supplemented through de novo transformation of non-tumorigenic cells within a benign or indolent mass into cells with cancer stem-cell like properties, i.e. the theoretically infinite ability to self-renew.
This, of course, means that years after the original treatment, the small population of highly invasive and malignant cells can reappear somewhere else in the body, which the conventional cancer establishment often categorically denies as being linked to the original cancer (this is not unlike the re-emergence of an antibiotic resistant infection). If a patient makes it past the '5-year- survival mark' post-treatment they are considered 'cured' and any new cancer defined as being of novel origin and written off as unrelated to the original treatments.