Understanding How Cancer Grows

Understanding How Cancer Grows


  • How cancer grows
  • Miracles always exist
  • Chances of cancer
  • A case
  • The Unthinkable Decision
  • Invincible mice bring dawn to cancer patients

1. How cancer grows

Whether producing inflammation or creating blood vessels, cancer is mimicking our body’s basic regenerative nature, only in the opposite direction. It runs counter to health and says no to our life. But that doesn’t mean cancer is invulnerable.

In some cases, this savage force is thwarted and loses its toxicity: 1. When the immune system is mobilized to deal with them; 2. When the body refuses to produce inflammation, without inflammation, it can neither grow nor invade new territory; 3. When blood vessels refuse to proliferate and no longer supply cancer cells with the nutrients they need to grow.

2. Miracles always exist

Over the past century, medical and scientific literature have reported cases of cancers that were considered “advanced” that suddenly regressed and eventually disappeared altogether.

Dr. Miller took a sample of S180 cells from the belly of those incredible mice, put them under a microscope, and discovered the real battlefield. In contrast to the round, hairy, and extremely aggressive normal cancer cells, these cancer cells have a smooth surface, riddled with indentations and small holes. These cells are surrounded by the immune system’s white blood cells, including the famous “natural killer” (also known as “NK”) cells, and fight fiercely. Dr. Miller even used a video microscope to film the white blood cells attacking the S180 cells. [Illustration] He found the answer, the immune system of cancer-fighting mice can develop a strong resistance, even after cancer has a large-scale outbreak.

3. Chances of cancer

The less active NK cells and other white blood cells are under the microscope, the faster the cancer cells will grow, the faster cancer will spread throughout the body in metastases, and the less likely the patient will survive. Therefore, active immune cells are critical to stopping tumor growth and cancer metastasis.

In 2016, a South Korean professor tried to use NK cells in peripheral blood donated by healthy volunteers to culture, expand and activate them in vitro, and directly reinfuse them into patients with lymphoma and various solid tumors. It was found that the side effects of this method are slight, but the curative effect is average. At most, it can only stabilize the condition of some patients, and it is difficult to significantly shrink the tumors of patients. It may still require combined treatment to achieve a better curative effect.

4, A case

A Scottish woman named Marianne brought home in brutal fashion just how important the immune system is to keep tumors from forming. Marianne didn’t suffer from cancer, she had kidney failure, a serious condition that makes the kidneys unable to filter the blood, causing toxins to build up in the body. To avoid having to go to the hospital several times a week for dialysis, Marianne opted for a kidney transplant. For a year after the transplant, she was able to live a more or less normal life. The only limitation is that she has to take immunosuppressant medication every day. The drug’s purpose, as its name suggests, is to weaken the body’s immune system to prevent it from rejecting the transplanted organ on which she depends. Another 6 months later, Marianne felt pain around the transplanted kidney and a routine mammogram revealed an abnormal mass in her left breast. A biopsy revealed that this is a phenomenon in which melanoma — a serious form of skin cancer — doubles and metastasizes. However, the primary melanoma that was the source of the metastases was not present in her. The surgeon brought in dermatologist Rhona McKee, who couldn’t come up with a better explanation for the plausible case of melanoma. Doctors did everything they could to save Marianne’s life, stopping immunosuppressants and removing the diseased kidney, but it was too late. Six months later, Marianne died of a full-blown melanoma whose original location has never been found.

5. The Unthinkable Decision

Shortly thereafter, another patient, George, who underwent a kidney transplant at the same hospital, also developed a nonprimary metastatic melanoma. This time Dr. McKee no longer believed it was a simple coincidence, nor did he blame it on the inexplicable mystery of the drug. Thanks to the registration procedures for transplanted organs, she found the original donors of the two kidneys. The overall health status of the donors has indeed met the general requirements for organ donation: no hepatitis, no AIDS, and of course no cancer. But Dr. McKee did not give up. Finally, she found the donor’s name in the database of melanoma patients in Scotland. The donor had undergone surgery 18 years ago for a 0.26 cm skin microtumor. The woman then spent 15 years at a melanoma clinic. Eventually, she declared that she was “completely cured” of her cancer, and a year later she died in an accident that had nothing to do with her years-long, eradicated cancer. This patient, hell-bent on wanting to cure cancer, still carries microtumors in her apparently healthy organs, but her immune system suppresses their growth. These micro-tumors were transplanted into new bodies—George and Marianne—whose immune systems had been weakened to prevent their bodies from rejecting the transplanted kidneys. Without the normal functioning of the immune system, the microtumors quickly reverted to their chaotic, aggressive growth trajectories. Thanks to the work done by Dr. McKee, she convinced her kidney transplant colleagues to take the second patient off of the immunosuppressants and put him on a powerful immunostimulant instead, so that his body could respond to the micro-melanin as quickly as possible. Renal grafts with neoplastic tumors are rejected. After a few weeks, they successfully removed the kidney. Although George had to go back for dialysis, two years later he was alive and showing no signs of melanoma. Once the immune system has regained its natural strength, it can do its job of getting rid of tumors. 

Note 2: There is an article in the “New England Journal of Medicine” describing the medical history of Marianne and George (both pseudonyms), and the story described in the article is derived from this article.

6, Invincible mice bring dawn to cancer patients

Just 6 hours after the injection of cancer cells, 160 million white blood cells invaded the peritoneal cavity of these special mice. Faced with such a fierce attack, 20 million cancer cells were wiped out within half a day! No one could have imagined that the immune system could be stimulated to such an extent before experiments with the invincible mouse and its offspring. The immune system has not succumbed to tumors up to 10% of body weight, and no one even thought it was possible, least of all immunologists. Prevailing ideas about the limits of the immune system may have blinded conventional immunologists to the unusual health of mice.

Modern science still frequently underestimates the body’s intelligence and potential to deal with the disease. Of course, in the case of the invincible mouse, the unusual ability of the invincible mouse to fight cancer has something to do with its genes. What about people born without these particular genes, like you and me? To what extent can we rely on an “ordinary” immune system to accomplish this extraordinary task?

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Dr AF Saeed

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