Friday, April 13, 2007

Is Man the Ultimate Semiconductor; Does a "Cheap, Safe," Drug Kill Most Cancers?

Lately the New Scientist has been all atwitter about the notion that a "Cheap, 'safe,' drug kills most cancers."

To quote the article:

"Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and his colleagues tested DCA (dichloroacetate) on human cells cultured outside the body and found that it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but not healthy cells. Tumours in rats deliberately infected with human cancer also shrank drastically when they were fed DCA-laced water for several weeks."

"Paul Clarke, a cancer cell biologist at the University of Dundee in the UK, says the findings challenge the current assumption that mutations, not metabolism, spark off cancers. “The question is: which comes first?” he says."

Of course, at present we don't know if DCA works or not; we hope it does, but a few things are interesting.

If DCA works, it may vindicate the work of two Nobel Laureates who spent a lot of time thinking about cancer, but whose ideas have faded into oblivion: Otto Warburg, who first discovered that the metabolic processes in healthy cells and in cancer cells are completely different, and Albert Szent-Györgyi, who devoted the later years of his life to studying what life, and cancer is. Szent-Györgyi came to an understanding of life that is substantially more subtle than that of many people in his, and our, time.

What does this have to do with DCA? Szent-Györgyi came to understand life, and pathologies of life such as cancer, not merely as a material or molecular processes, but also as an energetic, electronic, or submolecular processes. He noted that:

  • life on this planet has existed in two forms, and what he called the "alpha form" which originated in an oxygen free environment, and is anaerobic in its metabolism (the fermentation seen in mitochondria and cancer cells,) and what he called the "beta form," which evolved later, and is aerobic (that is relies on oxidation.)
  • living substances have ESR signatures (proof of electronic activity) that are quite different from inanimate objects, and noted that comparable cancer cells do not have normal, and sometimes not even discernible ESR signatures.
  • contrary to the wide-spread belief that these ESR signatures, and the free radicals that cause them, are "artifacts" of rare processes, they, and the electron transfer in various organs that they prove is happening, is central to the health and functioning of the body.
Szent-Györgyi believed that life is much more subtle than the textbooks of his day would have, and that the process of life also involves making changes to the configuration of the electron shells of proteins and more. In the jargon of today's computer scientists, man is a semiconductor and "quantum computer." Szent-Györgyi believed that life uses some chemicals to "dope" the proteins that make up or body, that is to allow them to more easily transfer electrons, just as silicon and germanium semi-conductors are manufactured with inherent impurities, without which the chips made from them would be useless. Interestingly enough, DCA's chemical structure is far from entirely dissimilar to that of the substance which he discussed as the primary doping agent.

If Warburg and Szent-Györgyi prove to have been correct, it will open some extremely interesting new vistas into our understanding of life, health, and the treatment of cancer.

Books: Albert Szent-Györgyi Living State and Cancer. Workshop of the Natl Foundation for Cancer Research, and Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole, Mass

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