The Genetic Cause of Cancer is Over Trumped!
It’s no secret that many diseases can be attributed to an individual’s particular genetic makeup. And now that scientists have become proficient at mapping the human genome and sequencing our DNA, as well as the genetic makeup of many other species of life, we are much closer to learning how and why many diseases work, and perhaps even how to prevent them from afflicting us. Or are we?
Scientists were surprised to find that the genetic code is not providing the information that they expected. Not all the answers can be found solely in our DNA, as researchers had originally thought. It is for this reason that more advanced studies and research are being conducted within the field that is known as epigenetics, which not only studies DNA, but more specifically the criteria that might affect and change a person’s DNA, subsequently affecting an individual’s growth and development and perhaps making them more susceptible to certain types of disease.
How Do Our Genes Change?
The idea that certain environmental factors might cause a person to undergo changes in their DNA is not a new one. It was proposed in the 1950s by Conrad Waddington, a developmental biologist. As Waddington’s idea was further studied, the field of epigenetics evolved, and scientists attempted to determine the effects of environment, stress, traumatic experiences, diet, and other criteria on a person’s genetics.
It should be noted that any changes don’t actually affect the underlying DNA; changes noted are referred to as epigenetic changes, which describe biological modification to specific genes. For example, a 2005 study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed epigenetic changes in the form of an increased level of cortisol, a stress hormone, that was passed on to the babies of women who were pregnant and either witnessed or were heavily affected by the World Trade Center attack on 9/11.
Epigenetics and Cancer
Dr. Antonio Jimenez, M.D., Medical Director of Hope4Cancer Treatment Centers, said, “For the longest time we have spoken about how the genes play only a small role in cancer development, much to the annoyance (and sometimes ridicule) of conventional medicine practitioners. The big player is the overall picture that we call the “cancer terrain” that is a combination of many factors including biological, environmental, behavioral and, of course, genetic.”
Jimenez further stated, “Today, the science of epigenetics and the unraveling of the genetic code is coming full circle and admitting that there is a world outside the control of the DNA that triggers chronic disease and helps it develop. That is exactly what we have been addressing over the past 25 years through the 7 Key Principles of Cancer Therapy – the core message of epigenetics, well before the science started taking shape.”
The evolving field of epigenetics promises to tell scientists much more about how a person’s overall environment may make them more susceptible to disease, as well as how these factors can be actually be passed on to children. Director of the Fels Institute for Cancer Research Jean-Pierre Issa performed research in which it was found that epigenetic markers might have increased the risk of lung cancer in the patient from which the DNA was tested. Issa hopes that further work and a deeper understanding of epigenetic markers will lead to improved treatments and a greater understanding of diseases such as cancer.
“This article reflects the opinions of the author and those of any of the source articles and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. None of this information is evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.”