Fight Cancer With Diet

Fight Cancer With Diet

William Li eloquently develops an answer to the question, “Can we eat to starve cancer?”

Controversial Diet Battle

In the final months, even a compas­sionate hug of her fragile frame brought pain. After a valiant fight lasting several years, a good friend succumbed to multiple myeloma. [1] This is why a slide presented by Dr. Li at the TED2010 confer­ence caught my attention. Therein, a graph showed survival rates from this insidious form of cancer have improved by 70% since 2004 with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved anti­angio­genic drugs. [2]

Dr. William Li heads the Angiogenesis Foundation, a non­profit organiza­tion that is re-conceptualizing global disease fighting. In the U.S., there are currently eight approved anti-cancer therapies with recognized anti­angio­genic properties in oncology. [3]

The FDA has approved bevacizumab (Avastin®) [4] for use with other drugs to treat colo­rectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, some non-small cell lung cancers, and some breast cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.

Bevacizumab was the first angio­genesis inhibitor proven to delay tumor growth and, more impor­tantly, extend the lives of patients. The FDA has also approved other drugs with anti­angio­genic activity as cancer therapies for multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma, gastro­intes­tinal stromal tumors (GIST), and kidney cancer. [5]

Angiogenesis, first coined in 1787 by Dr. John Hunter, [6] describes the body’s natural ability to form capillaries—tiny blood vessels that feed physio­logical organs. When function­ing properly, they starve cancer cells. Abnormal angio­genesis tricks the body into feeding harmful cancer cells with oxygen and nutrients

Antiangiognic drugs target and arrest such abnormal capillary produc­tion. Despite relative success with some forms of cancer, Dr. Li postulates why the treat­ment is sometimes less than optimal. It is best to treat the cancer cells before metastasis—not with some powerful pre-cancer drug—but with diet.

⚠️ Not latest thinking on angiogenesis cancer treatment

Angiogenesis is the process of growing a new blood supply. Numerous researchers continue to explore the control of the growth of blood vessels as a method to starve cancers and inhibit their damaging effects. The number and types of cancers that can be treated this way and the types of treat­ments continue to grow, though not all have proved as effective as hoped. And the findings around which foods may or may not have beneficial effects in this area continue to be an active area of scientific scrutiny and debate.

As a result, William Li's “Can we eat to starve cancer?” should be viewed as a good primer on angiogenesis and a snapshot of the state of the field in 2010. But it should not be viewed as suggesting the most up-to-date medical thinking on treatment. —TED

Eat Foods to Prevent Cancer

Diet accounts for 30-35% percent of cancers. Rather than lengthening the list of carcino­genic foods to avoid, [7] The Angiogenesis Foundation is investigating foods to consume. Many foods—mostly fresh fruits and vege­tables [8]—contain natural angio­genesis inhibitors. The potency varies among different strains and varietals. In fact, with certain combina­tions, there is food synergy. Effective­ness compares well with statins and NSAIDs.

It should be emphasized that angio­genesis is a necessary part of human and animal life. The goal of this nutrition is not to halt the process completely but to inhibit abnormal angio­genesis as it relates to cancer growth. Hence, miti­gating stress and building muscle mass with exercise are encouraged as part of a compre­hensive fitness regimen. [9,10]

Dietary Sources of Naturally-Occurring Antiangiogenic Substances
Green tea
Red Grapes
Red wine
Sea Cucumber
Bok choy
Soy beans
Maitake mushroom
Grape seed oil
Olive oil
Dark chocolate

Continued research is focusing on establishing a rating system for foods based on their anti-angiogenic data. Those interested in or currently battling cancer can discuss anti­angio­genic modalities with their physicians and look for clinical trials. Dr. Li also recommends patients personally investigate credible sources for current anti­angio­genic dietary research. [11,12]

This article was originally published September 23, 2010 on ClinicalPosters. It is provided only for historical research and discussion.

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