Much of the research on cancer shows slow progress because scientists tend to follow established lines of research, even if non-productive (See Dr. Gerald B. Demer, The Immortal Cell, specifically the 3 quotes on pages 102-103). There are many possible approaches to studying cancer but standard medical practice concentrates on only two. Modern tools allow us to study deeply, but often narrows the focus of the research.
started as a consortium of scientist to bring a multidisciplinary
approach to cancer research. Different fields have different knowledge and skills, and the multidisciplinary approach adds perspectives that work in one field that might not be used in another.
An example is the application of food science (our founder) to medical research. In a nutshell,
medical practitioners look at proteins in their natural state and
have little interest in proteins in other forms. This bold statement
can be supported by two observations in the medical literature. Although the science is reported, understanding the conclusion requires no formal training in science. (So please read on.)
was awarded a nobel prize for his work on ribonuclease (a protein) through
which he concluded that proteins
conformation (shape) is
dictated by its primary structure (sequence of amino acids) and
that proteins form into a shape which is its most stable conformation.
The first statement is true for all proteins; the second true for
SOME, including ribonuclease. But the projection of Anfinsen’s
ideas to all proteins was generally accepted by the medical community.
Food scientists study proteins in all forms. Anyone who has cooked
an egg knows that minor application of heat will change albumin
(protein in egg white) from a soluble protein to a white insoluble form. Since this white
form will not revert back to the soluble form, it is apparent that
the natural conformation of albumin is NOT the most stable form.
example is PRIONs, which remain controversial. PRIONs are proteins
which can exist in two active states, a natural
and a disease form. The existence of PRIONs is inconsistent with
Anfinsen’s second conclusion, but is consistent with other
1980 Kenneth Marsh and Norm Singer had a six hour conversation
relating various aspects of food and medical research in an attempt
to understand degradation and shelf life of foods. We investigated
studies performed by Michael Tracey (CSIRO, Australia), J.E.L.
Corry (UK), Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Hofmeister and others,
in an attempt to understand plant senescence (aging). The conversation
covered growth in general, and progressed to uncontrolled growth,
which is cancer. We thought of a hypothesis that water structure
must change before growth could occur.
This idea was
intriguing but thought unprovable at the time. Dr. Marsh
spoke with Dr.
Gerald Pierson, a spectroscopist from the University of Iowa, who
related that Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) measured changes
in water structure between cancer and healthy cells. Realizing
that we had an observation which could have a significant impact
suffering from cancer led to the formation of WIS²H (a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institute) .
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