Kill Cancer Cells with Green Tea and Chilies

February 11, 2013

Kill Cancer Cells with Green Tea and Chilies 

 Reference;  Morre and Morre 

 Cancer doesn’t spring forth as an aggressive, invading intruder when we are in our later years.  It probably starts 20-30 years earlier as a couple of immature cells.  Pathologists, looking at cancer development under a microscope describe a progressive series of changes in a colony of cells from normal to “hyperplasia” (where cells are still normal-looking but start to look piled up with too many reserve cells) to “metaplasia” (where the normal-looking cells start looking more like skin cells instead of their normal cell type), then to “dysplasia” where the cells really start looking disorganized to finally “anaplasia” where the cells are just bizarre, weird and disordered: cancer.   

From organized, regulated cells you see a progression of disorder. Cancer biology is beginning to understand the steps and how the normal control mechanisms gradually go awry.  The next step is to develop and discover how to identify those cells that have just slipped outside the boundary of normal behavior and have started to lose self-control.  Can we find them there, and teach those cells to reregulate themselves?  Considering that it takes about a billion cells to be a 1 cm sized marble that you can see on an x-ray or feel on an exam, and that takes 30 cell doublings – then we need to find methods of catching that colony of cancer cells when there have only been 20 cell doublings and we only have a million or so cells.   That would be the size of a grain of salt.

 Can we find a cancer when it’s just the size of a grain of salt?  And it’s really not that nasty yet, just getting a little bit mean and crabby.   Well, yes, we can.   As cancers progress from hyperplasia to metaplasia, they start putting a protein on their outer surface that is meant to be deep inside.  It’s called ENOX2. ENOX 2 is a regulatory protein that is distinctly not meant to be on the surface.  It is shed off of cancer colonies into the blood, and in that context can be detected in femtomole quantities.  (A femtomole is a billionth of a millionth or 10-15.)  

A pair of professors at Perdue figured out how to measure it, and that ENOX is a reliable cancer marker.  Their estimates are that you can find this protein between 6-7 years before cancer becomes clinically apparent. More importantly, the cancer colony is still slightly organized.  It isn’t dysplastic yet,  it’s just metaplastic and can be nudged back into regulation.   

And I bet you were wondering where the green tea and chilies come in.  Yup.  That’s it.  EGCG and chilies are remarkably effective at arresting disorganized cells in their growth phase when grown in petri dishes.   Given around the clock in a precise dosing pattern, green tea extract with chili can arrest those cells and make them go through natural cell death.  This type of therapy heralds a whole new world in cancer therapy: the re-regulation of cancer rather than the poisoning of cancer, which often poisons us and never kills the cancer completely. 

 WWW.   What will work for me?  Hmm, I can find cancer cells when there are just a few of them?  Do I want to know?  I’m not sure.  Maybe I would if I had a spot on my lung, or a lump in my breast…… or, or, or…..?   But I do know I’m going to learn to like green tea more.  

This column was written by Dr. John Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI.