Cancer has potential on off switch says new epigenetic research

Cancer has always been talked about as ‘genetic’ or ‘terribly bad luck’ however the more you research cancer initiation, progression and promotion, and the more you see the debris of epigenetic diet and lifestyle choices left behind…

Epigenetics is whereby genetically identical cells express their genes differently. 

I talk about this as ‘genetic expression’.

New research has again suggested that an ‘on and off’ epigenetic switch could be a common mechanism that initiates cancer progression.

The current paradigm states that cancer develops from environmental and genetic changes to cancer progenitor cells. These changes are the result of mutations, exposure to toxic substances or hormonal imbalances.

“If we believe that everything in nature occurs in an organised fashion, then it is logical to assume that cancer development cannot be as disorganised as it may seem.  There should be a general mechanism that initiates cancer progression from predisposed progenitor cells, which likely involves epigenetic changes.  If we believe that all of the irreversible changes, mutations and effects of carcinogens make cells rapidly grow, then the mechanism that allows cells to stop growing and assume new changes in character must be of great importance.  The study of cancer progression is key to understanding how cancer cells continue to differentiate”
Dr Sibaji Sarkar, instructor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).

With cancer growth, tumors develop through different stages.  As these cells rapidly grow (progression and promotion), they become stuck in their current stage of development and their cell characteristics do not change.  What allows for the switch between growth and differentiation can only be achieved through reversible mechanisms. 

This is what suggests epigenetic changes or genetic expression.  And the good news about that is that you have the biggest influence over your genetic expression through your diet, lifestyle and environmental choices in life.

Study by Dr Sibaji Sarkar, instructor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), as published in the journal Anticancer Research and Epigenomics, May 2014.  As reported by on May 17 2014.

Posted: Monday 19 May 2014