June 11, 2012
Why Chronic Infections Cause Cancer

Infection leads to cancer.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- One of the biggest risk factors for liver, colon or stomach cancer is chronic inflammation of those organs, often caused by viral or bacterial infections. A new study from MIT offers the most comprehensive look yet at how such infections provoke tissues into becoming cancerous.

The study, which is appearing in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of June 11, tracked a variety of genetic and chemical changes in the livers and colons of mice infected with Helicobacter hepaticus, a bacterium similar to Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers and cancer in humans.

What I wonder: How much cancer could be prevented if we all got tested for chronic infections and got treated for any infections found? Or could a round of antibiotics without even first testing for a bacterial infection cut cancer risks?

The immune system generates toxic chemicals to kill bacteria. But those toxic chemicals also damage tissue in ways that can lead to cancer.

In the colon, but not the liver, neutrophils secreted hypochlorous acid (also found in household bleach), which significantly damages proteins, DNA and RNA by adding a chlorine atom to them. The hypochlorous acid is meant to kill bacteria, but it also leaks into surrounding tissue and damages the epithelial cells of the colon. The researchers found that levels of one of the chlorine-damage products in DNA and RNA, chlorocytosine, correlated well with the severity of the inflammation, which could allow them to predict the risk of chronic inflammation in patients with infections of the colon, liver or stomach. Tannenbaum recently identified another chlorine-damage product in proteins: chlorotyrosine, which correlates with inflammation. While these results point to an important role for neutrophils in inflammation and cancer, "we don't know yet if we can predict the risk for cancer from these damaged molecules," Dedon says.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when drug resistant strains of tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and other bacteria are spreading globally. Be careful. Bacteria should be taken as a serious threat to health once again.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 June 11 10:23 PM  Biotech Cancer


Comments
PacRim Jim said at June 12, 2012 12:02 AM:

I wonder if it's possible to somehow design T4 bacteriophages specific to certain strains of bacteria.
Then the target bacteria could be labeled so that bacteriophages could specifically kill only them, and there would be minimal side-effects.
Or so it seems.

marvel said at June 13, 2012 11:20 AM:

What I wonder: How much cancer could be prevented if we all got tested for chronic infections and got treated for any infections found? Or could a round of antibiotics without even first testing for a bacterial infection cut cancer risks?

One issue would be determining which bacteria are actually "infectious," recognizing that what is a colonizer in some people is infectious in others. Host immune factors complicate interpretation. Blindly treating with broad-spectrum antibiotics could be disastrous -- on an individual level, disturbing the microbiome-host interactions can lead to worse infections (by allowing outgrowth of pathogenic bacteria) and on a societal level, as you increase prevalence of antibiotic-resistant organisms. Sadly, no simple answer.

Cardinal Fang said at June 13, 2012 11:48 AM:

The inflammation is not caused by viral or bacterial infections. It's caused by insulin shock from high-carb diets.

What is old is new again ..... said at June 13, 2012 2:15 PM:

There is the revitalization of old technology involving UV treatment of human blood. Now routinely called "UBI", there are remarkably effective methodologies involving UBI to stimulate immune activity when the subject patient's blood sample is reintroduced intravenously after spiking with H2O2 and then passage via an ultraviolet light saturation circuit before venous return. Realize that chronic and systemic cryptopathic infections have been "normed" to some degree and enjoy a quality of "acceptance" or tolerance by the immune system. This process is remarkably providing a means to reverse such tolerance.

It is understood by medical practitioners schooled in this methodology that any organismal presence in the sample will be rendered into "red meat" and excite an immune response upon post UBI return. This means undiagnosed bacteria, virus or other organisms present in the sample will be amplified for immune system targeting.

New in this reinvigorated methodology is the use of small but statistically meaningful sampling and treatment of blood volume, precluding the original belief that significant or full transfusions were needed for UV effect. Not only does the 30-35cc blood draw work well, its dilution into saline and H2O2 'boost' create a vibrant translucence that allows the UV saturation to be dramatically more efficient. We just finished one trial with a >70 y.o. insulin dependent male wheelchair bound in very poor general health with chronic cellulitis and a confirmed chronic bacterial infection of SE asian origin not common to our hemisphere. After multiple UBI treatments (~16) he has now gone more than 100 days without antibiotics or manifestation or presentation of prior infection symptoms. This, after nearly three years of constant antibiotic use and multiple hospitalizations for emergency IV antibiotic therapy. Obviously, there needs to be more study, but this preliminary finding is simply an astounding outcome given the case history.

As for Cardinal Fang's comment, there is more systemic inflammation to this than the archetypical infection paradigm where the patient is a host being attacked by an organism. This involves the exploitation of our bodies as defacto habitat by organisms that become trapped within and opportunistically exploit any adaptable habitat present in our physiology, and in such ways the immune system comes to see it as normal physiology -- point being -- such physiological deteriorations created by insulin deranging provides many habitat opportunities to any organismal intruder that somehow ends up trapped in our physiology. The situs of infection need not be a classic target situs, but any dis-eased situs that creates an exploitable habitat in the body that provides shelter to the infesting entity.

Cancer as "a wound that will not heal" remains the best general description of cancer I have yet to hear. These data in the MIT findings are instructive and threaten to be disruptive to the established orthodoxy.

Larry said at June 17, 2012 6:57 PM:

This is the week we learned about all the healthy bacteria with which we are "infected". Which is it?

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