Cancer: Evolution in Reverse


The Oxygen Model of Cancer—Circa 2011

Majid Ali, M.D.

Cancer, in essence, is evolution in reverse. Nature took about one billion years to evolve modern life—from hydrogen-nitrogen bonding to amino acids synthesis to RNA make-up to DNA replication. Cancer is evolution in reverse—respiratory to fermentative shift in ATP generation—developing in a millionth of a nanosecond or so on the evolutionary time scala. Your writers have done a great service to readers in presenting a most informative synthesis of recent advances in the field. I might point out that the reversal of evolutionary steps in cancer was the center piece of the oxygen model of cancer which I first published in 1994. I wrote two volume of Oxygen, the Crab, and cancer (2007) to present the model in detail, as well as to explain its clinical implications.

The Oxidative Model of Cancer

In 1995, I proposed the oxidative model of cancer, which holds that oxidosis (accelerated oxidative stress) is the common denominator in all known factors that have been implicated in the cause of cancer. Oxidosis from any and all causes is also the single most important mechanism for sustaining and perpetuating the malignant cellular replication.1

In 2001, looking through the prism of oxygen homeostasis, I extended the my oxidosis model to put forth my oxygen model of cancer. I propsed that cancer is destructive behavior of cells incited and perpetuated by many factors that cumulatively lead to anomalous oxygen signaling. It has six other principal characteristics:

1. Respiratory-to-fermentative (RTF) shift in ATP production—regression to primordial cellular energetics, in the current context);
2. Production of prodigious quantities of organic acids— lactic acid, as well as other Krebs cycle intermediates;
3. Creation of a cocoon of coagulated proteins around malignant cells to exclude functioning host immune cells and their soluble defense molecules;
4. Uncontrolled cellular replication that disrupts local tissue architecture;
5. Colonization of distant tissues in which the destructive behavior of neoplastic cells continues; and 6. Under certain conditions, a cancer cell can be coaxed to alter its behavior

A Pathologist’s Perspective

During my 29 years of work as a hospital pathologist, I conservatively estimate I assumed the responsibility for diagnosing over 75,000 malignant neoplasms and followed the clinical course of many of those cases. That experience was rewarding. It gave me a clear sense of the biology of diverse cancers, as well as the clinical outcomes achievable with the mainstream therapies. During the last two decades, my colleagues at the Institute and I participated in the clinical management of over 2,000 cases of cancer. That experience has been disconcerting, largely because it was not possible to clearly delineate the long-term efficacy of our integrative therapies. Most of those patients concurrently received immunosuppressive therapies— chemotherapy, radiotherapy and others — that countered the integrative oxystatic therapies which we prescribed. Another common problem has been the financial burden of integrative therapies on patients, since insurance carriers nearly always refuse to cover such therapies, seriously compromising the continuity of care.

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