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Combating Cancer by inhibiting blood vessel growth

All cancers begin in cells. Our bodies are made up of more than a hundred million million (100,000,000,000,000) cells. Cancer starts with changes in one cell or a small group of cells.

Normally we have just the right number of each cell type. This is because cells produce signals to control how much and how often the cells divide. If any of these signals are faulty or missing, cells may start to grow and multiply too much and form a lump called a tumor. Where the cancer starts is called the primary tumor.

Some types of cancer, called leukemia, start from blood cells. They don’t form solid tumors. Instead, the cancer cells build up in the blood and sometimes the bone marrow.

For a cancer to start, certain changes take place within the genes of a cell or a group of cells.

 


Genes and cell division

Different types of cells in our body do different tasks, but basically they are all similar. They all have a nucleus, the control center. Inside the nucleus are chromosomes made up of long strings of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA contains thousands of genes, which are coded messages that tell the cell how to behave.

Each gene (a protein, or a different type of molecule called RNA) is an instruction that tells the cell to perform certain tasks. Together, proteins and RNA determine what sort of cell it will be, what it will do, when it will divide, and when it will die.

 

Gene changes within cells (mutations)

Normally genes make sure that cells grow and reproduce in an orderly and controlled way. They make sure that more cells are produced as they are needed to keep the body healthy.

Sometimes by chance a change (mutation) can happen in the genes -damaged, lost or copied twice- when a cell divides. Some mutations cause the cell to no longer understand its instructions and to grow out of control. There have to be about half a dozen different mutations before a normal cell turns into a cancer cell.

Mutations in particular genes may mean that too many proteins are produced that trigger a cell to divide. Or proteins that normally tell a cell to stop dividing may not be produced. Abnormal proteins may be produced that work differently to normal.

It can take many years for a damaged cell to divide and grow and form a tumor big enough to cause symptoms or show up on a scan.

 

How mutations happen

Mutations can happen by chance when a cell is dividing. They can also be caused by the faulty processes of life inside the cell or by things coming from outside the body, such as the chemicals from the ingested food, inhaled smoke or environment. And some people inherit faulty genes that make them more likely to develop a cancer.

Cell mutations happen all across our body at all times. Some genes get damaged every day and our cells are very good at repairing them. Usually a cell with damaged DNA dies soon and is discarded by our body. But over time, the damage may build up. And sometimes the cell ignores the damaged DNA warning and continues to divide. And once cells start growing too fast, they are more likely to pick up further mutations and less likely to be able to repair the damaged genes.

 


What is anti angiogenesis?

Like any other cell in our body, cancer cells cannot live without nutrients and oxygen. Consequently, for growth the cancer cells need a steady supply of blood to deliver nutrients and oxygen.

Cancer cells  do not have blood vessels and cannot grow beyond a few millimeters due to a lack of oxygen and other nutrients, and gradually die to be discarded by our body. Without a blood supply, a tumor cannot grow much bigger than a pin head.

When a cancer cell in dormant state reaches 1 to 2 millimeters across, it needs blood vessels in order to get bigger through rapid cell division and transition into a malignant one.

 

When the conditions are right as a result of unbalanced nutrition, hormonal imbalances and outside stimuli some cancer cells manage to make a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) –angiogenic factor. The VEGF protein attaches to receptors on endothelial cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels of our healthy cells and sends signals that encourage new blood vessels to grow into the tumor. This triggers the blood vessels to grow so the cancer can then grow.

Angiogenesis is the physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. Tumors cannot grow beyond a few millimeters due to a lack of oxygen and other nutrients, so they encourage the formation of blood vessels to support their rapid cell division. For this reason, angiogenesis is a fundamental step in the transition of tumors from a dormant state to a malignant one.

 

Anti-angiogenic nutrients

Anti-angiogenic nutrients -like many drugs which do have side effects- slow down and often stop the new blood vessels growth from pre-existing vessels to the tumor naturally, thus slow the growth of the cancer, and often shrink it. These nutrients …

  • inhibit the angiogenic factor VEGF production by the tumor,
  • block VEGF from attaching to the receptors on the cells that line the blood vessels,
  • stop the VEGF receptors from sending growth signals into the blood vessel cells.
  • blocks the growth signals inside blood vessel cells.

Here are the list of the most effective anti-angiogenic nutrients and how they perform compared to conventional drugs which come with side effects.

 

 

 

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