My lightbulb moment...
...the Warburg effect reinterpreted
The Warburg effect refers to the abnormal use of cell energy by cancer cells. It is a core feature of cancer as it appears to drive many of the symptoms associated with the disease, so identifying the mechanism driving it is of paramount importance in terms of pin-pointing the underlying cause – whatever is driving the Warburg effect is likely driving cancer. At present, the reason for the Warburg effect is unclear; defective OXPHOS – one proposed mechanism thought to be driving it – is in contention, because OXPHOS still appears to be operational in many cancers.
"We still don't know the reason for the Warburg effect. If I had two billion dollars I would give it to 20 biochemists, give them £100 million each and tell them - go to it."
- James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA
While studying an immunological paper discussing how cells react to an infection, I was astounded to read the phrase: a 'Warburg-like response was instigated'. It turns out, that when certain opportunistic pathogens become invasive, they trigger the very same Warburg effect witnessed in cancer! This is highly significant, because here, hiding in plain sight, is a valid explanation for the Warburg effect as it occurs in cancer - indicating that, through a sustained mechanism of suppression, micro-organisms could be responsible for causing it. This is highly significant in light of Ravid Struassman's work that found intracellular pathogens to be present within all tumours tested so far. It was this ability of an infection to stimulate a Warburg-like energy transition in cells, that made me realise that cancer could be a disease of cell suppression orchestrated by an ongoing infection, rather than cell malfunction. When speaking of infection triggering cancer, nearly all mainstream theories assert that pathogens generate the disease inadvertently through the cell damage they can inflict. A faulty cell is allegedly to blame for cancer. It is the acknowledgement of a suppressive mechansim – orchestrated by the controlling influence of intracellular pathogens – that sets my theory apart.
The Cell Suppression Theory (CST) presents a compelling alternative to the conventional understanding of cancer. It sheds light on the significant role of micro-organisms in both the initiation and progression of tumours, operating through an overlooked mechanism. This paradigm shift challenges the notion that random cell damage solely determines the course of the disease. Instead, it emphasizes the impact of intracellular pathogens that strive to control and suppress cellular defence mechanisms, thriving within compromised tissue.
By embracing this new perspective, the landscape of cancer treatment undergoes a profound transformation. The theory suggests that targeting the intracellular pathogens present within tumours, which drive these conditions, may hold the key to effectively treating cancer. This approach contrasts with the traditional method of employing cytotoxic substances designed to kill cells, which relies on the questionable assumption that our own cells have 'gone rogue'. According to the CST, our cells have not turned against us; rather, their unusual and seemingly selfish behaviour reflects the parasitic nature of the pathogen, which exerts control over critical cellular functions.
While it is widely acknowledged that certain infections, such as the Human Papilloma Virus and Helicobacter pylori bacteria, contribute to tumour development, the established view differs significantly from the alternative interpretation presented here. The conventional perspective attributes cancer to pathogens damaging DNA and cellular machinery. It regards cancer as a result of a "malfunctioning" cell, rather than being primarily driven by the pathogen itself. According to the mainstream view, any form of DNA or cell damage, regardless of its origin, can potentially generate and propel cancer. There are two major caveats that underpin all 'cell malfunction' theories: 1) Each cancer cell within the same tumour harbours unrelated random damage - randomness cannot cause the consistency of cancer. 2) As a result, no pattern of cell damage has been identified and replicated in studies to confirm said damage is driving the disease. This indicates another mechanism is at play
In contrast, the CST proposes that the consistency of the disease can be explained by the ongoing interaction between the cell, the immune system and intracellular pathogens that appear to be present from the outset and persist within the tumour mass, even migrating with metastatic cancer cells. The CST asserts that, through the mechanism of cell suppression, the pathogen actively triggers cancer symptoms by manipulating crucial aspects of the cell to ensure its survival within the host. Inability to eradicate these intracellular pathogens leads to tumour growth and the manifestation of cancer symptoms, including the random DNA damage thought to be driving the disease.
*It's important to note that while this implies that cancer can be treated simply by administering particular antibiotics, and while they have shown efficacy, adopting such an approach can be very dangerous given the considerable toxicities of certain antibiotics to humans. These potential risks are explored in-depth in the 'Potential Solutions' chapter within my book.
A Unique Interpretation
Page 185 - THE CANCER RESOLUTION?
A Complete Explanation of Cancer
INFECTION > SUPPRESSION
A Comprehensive Explanation of Carcinogenesis
This graphic, taken from my book, summarises the first complete explanation of carcinogenesis as it pertains to the successful invasion of a cell by an intracellular pathogen. This interaction can account for the entire process of cancer development from its initiation, right through to its promotion and progression, indicating that a sustained infection, due to a common type of human pathogen, appears to be the underlying cause of cancer.
At each stage, the graphic summarises how an intracellular infection triggers and mediates all of the key hallmarks of the disease.
"Mark has presented a coherent model of carcinogenesis and the mechanism of cancer.”
Professor Michael Lisanti - MD-PhD FRSA FRSB FRSC
'Cancer Through Another Lens', February 2023
Page 300 - THE CANCER RESOLUTION?
Cancer's Hallmarks Explained
Cancer's Foundational Characteristics
At present, no mainstream cancer theory can explain all hallmarks, suggesting that the underlying mechanism(s) driving cancer has not yet been identified. For instance, the Metabolic Theory can explain at least seven hallmarks, with three in contention. While the Warburg effect it highlights is a fundamental aspect of all cancers, the cause of the Warburg effect itself, remains unknown.
More concerning, is that mainstream cancer treatments are based upon the DNA Theory (Somatic Mutation Theory), which only appears capable of explaining two hallmarks. This has serious implications for cancer patients, because it suggests that mainstream treatments are targeting the symptoms of the disease rather than the mechanism(s) driving it. Does this explain the lack of a cure and why mainstream treatments are largely hit or miss when it comes to efficacy?
There are currently 10 accepted hallmarks of cancer - shown within the graphic below. These are known characteristics that define the disease. Studying these hallmarks enables scientists to inhibit key aspects of cancer through the creation of novel treatments related to each hallmark - also shown within the graphic.
Hallmarks: the next generation
When we shift our perspective to view cancer through the suppressive lens provided by the Cell Suppression Theory, as opposed to a malfunction lens, the CST becomes the first cancer theory to fully explain all 10 Hanahan and Weinberg Hallmarks. Such an unprecedented achievement indicates that the mechanism(s) driving the disease has been identified, thus providing the exciting prospect of establishing a cure. Just as exciting are the treatment options this opens up to cancer patients, which can be applied now, in conjunction with current treatment protocols.
Not content with the remarkable acheivement of explaining all 10 hallmarks, the CST identifies 20 additional conditions associated with cancer that also remain unexplained by mainstream theories; and provides a comprehensive explanation for all 20 of these additional conditions as well, unquestionably establishing the CST as the most accurate and comprehensive cancer theory currently available.
A Game-changing Breakthrough?
These hallmarks have another crucial purpose, they can be used to assess the accuracy of any cancer theory to provide an indication of whether or not researchers are heading down the correct path of enquiry. To truly solve the disease, the mechanism(s) that drive each hallmark would need to be identified by any given theory. Once achieved, a theory will have, in all likelihood, uncovered the underlying cause of cancer, and thus a cure can be realised. So, the more hallmarks that can be explained, the more accurate the theory is likely to be.