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How Tumors Use Meat to Grow: Xeno-Autoantibodies

Cancer may use a molecule found in animal products to trick our immune system into feeding it with inflammation.

December 14, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

 

Images thanks to: Pulmonary Pathology via Flickr and Ilmari Karonen via Wikimedia Commons.

Transcript

We are now finally able to understand how tumors are able to trick our immune system to feed them with inflammation. When we’re born and grow up we have immune cells that attack everything else but us, because the ones that recognized us were eliminated. Cancer cells may be mutated, but they’re still our cells, so how do they get the immune systems attention? Presumably, any B cell that would recognize them was killed off before birth. That’s where xeno-autoantibodies come in. Xeno means foreign, as in xenophobia. Auto come from the Greek autos, meaning self, as in automobile, a self-moving vehicle—no horse required. But how can something be both xeno and auto, foreign and self. Though many tumors, like breast cancer, thrive on inflammation, thrive on a low-grade immune-response, the problem for the tumor is that since it originated from normal breast tissue, it doesn’t look foreign to the immune system and so the tumor isn’t able to evoke the response it wants. That’s where NeuGc can come in. Evidence for a human-specific mechanism for diet and antibody-mediated inflammation in carcinoma progression. See, “Neu5Gc incorporation by the cancer confers a selective advantage to tumor cells that are best at accumulating Neu5Gc.” By actively accumulating this foreign meat and dairy molecule coming our diet into the tumor, the cancer may use it to trick our immune system into producing autoimmune antibodies—anti-neu5GC autoantibodies, which leads to the release the inflammatory compounds that enable the cancer to grow faster. “[T]he combination of tumor-associated Neu5Gc and our circulating anti-Neu5Gc antibodies promotes tumor growth, by inducing weak inflammation, causing infiltration of inflammatory cells and enhanced angiogenesis, enhanced blood flow to the tumor. Our own tumors use what we feed on to get what they feed on. So, as I talked about before, since cancer in a sense may now be considered an autoimmune disease, what are the dietary implications, given the fact that most animals produce this tumor promoter? Well, we don’t make NeuGc—at least we haven't for a few million years—and neither do plants, so to undermine our tumor’s sneaky strategy I guess it comes down to either cannibalism, or a plant-based diet… or both, I guess. “Importantly, these data are congruent with the decreased cancer risk associated with veganism.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Make sure you see the "prequels" to this video Cancer as an Autoimmune Disease and yesterday’s NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc. Why else might those eating plant-based diets have lower risk of all cancers combined? It could be the lack of IGF-1, heme iron, inflammation, viruses, antibiotics, saturated fat, nitrosamines, and arachidonic acid associated with animal product consumption. Or it could be the DNA repair, cellular stress defenses, anti-inflammatory properties, soy, lignans, phytonutrients, and fiber associated with healthy plant food consumption.

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: How Tumors Use Meat to GrowAvoiding Dairy to Prevent Parkinson's, and Flax and Breast Cancer Survival 

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here

  • Fabien Coquel

    this week’s serie was very interesting, great job !

  • Moss

    And I guess if one decides to become a cannibal, they’d be wise to choose vegans for their dinner… ;)

    I agree with the comment above–very interesting series. Thanks so much, Dr. Greger! I so appreciate all the work you do. I’ve been vegan for 8 years but have learned so much from your videos (and it’s even easier now to share that info thanks to this site)!

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Whole new meaning to the bumper sticker Eat Vegetarian :)

      • balconesfalk

        I must be missing something–what does cannibalism have to do with anything? Dr. Greger may talk too fast, and with too much lilt to his delivery for me to catch it all. I do have a BS degree from the University of Texas, so I am not new to scientific terminology.

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          Review the “Transcript” tab of his verbage above. It makes it much easier to comprehend sometimes because I can read and reread the info.

          • balconesfalk

            I am still stuck on the concept of inflammation feeding cancer. My concept of inflammation is that it is a condition, not so much a substance.

          • http://www.facebook.com/fusionhalo Brandon Klinedinst

            When the body is in a state of lowgrade inflammation, it changes the production of a few things because the body is assuming it needs to help get more nutrients to the areas experiencing inflammation (so that they can survive and help fight off whatever is causing the inflammation). That extra help comes in the form of more growth and angiogenesis. All this extra help goes mostly to the cancer cells.

            So essentially, the cancer cells are like wolves in sheep’s clothing, causing destruction secretly but blaming in on others, crying for more resources for help, and then consuming such vast amounts of resources, stolen from the rest of the body, and eventually growing large enough that the original organism is killed off.

            I think that’s how I understood it. =o

        • Dr. Connie Sanchez, ND

          Neu5Gc is not produced in humans or plants. So, Dr. Greger was just stating, tongue-in-cheek, that in order to avoid it, we either eat plants or humans (cannibalism).

          • balconesfalk

            I got it, thirty seconds after sending the comment.
            Best,
            Frances

        • lgking

          That’s it…you’re from Texas and not the Northeast-coast…

  • TaxpayerX

    Shhh…lest our friends in the food science industry provide us with lab grown human flesh for our delectation. ;-(

  • carfree since ’93

    So if I decide to become a cannibal to avoid the neu3G or whatever it was, do I then have to worry about prions? Maybe I’ll just stick with veganism…

  • Billy Baker

    Mind Blowing Stuff Doctor Greger!
    With this information, can we change our verbage that “plant-based diets reduce the risk of cancer” to “diets with meat and dairy promote cancer growth” or “meat is toxic”
    Also… How come this isn’t front page news? Sheesh!
    Thanks Doctor Greger

    • Hemodynamic MD

      Because your congres and senate subsidize the meat and dairy industries with 60 billion dollars a year. How do you compete with that?
      Think globally act locally one person at a time!

  • jeff

    Dr. Greger,

    This is relevant to your email today asking for donations. I tried to reply to that but could not, so I’ll copy what I wrote here as I don’t see a “contact info” section on the website:

    Dr. Greger,

    I would gladly donate and immediately looked for an address to send a
    check to, but apparently this is not possible. I do not have (and do not
    wish to set up) a paypal account. My donations to my favorite groups
    (Vegan Outreach, MFA, COK, PCRM) are always made via check and snail
    mail. Please consider making this option available to us! Thanks,

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Thank you so much for your kind question Jeff! You can send a check made out to “NutritionFacts.org” to:

      Michael Greger
      5113 Crossfield Ct. #9
      Rockville, MD 20852

      Thank you so much for your support of the site!

      PS: If you look at the bottom right you’ll see the “contact us” link, but I know it’s tiny! Anyone can always contact me directly by emailing me at mhg1@cornell.edu or calling me on my cell: (240) 252-8078.

  • rawrnr

    I’ve been vegan 20 years… 6 of those 100% raw or high raw… I have an 18x15x12cm tumor benign in my retroperitonium… how do you explain that?

  • rawrnr

    20 year vegan here… 6 of those 1005 raw or high raw… fruit and greens based… I have a HUGE tumor in my body!! how do u explain that?

  • rawrnr

    Ive been vegan 20 years…. 6 of those 100% raw or high raw… Ive done 3 water fasts 21-21-15 days each and numerous juice fasts during that time… I have a HUGE benign tumour in my retroperitonium…. how do you explain that????m:(

  • rawrnr

    Ive been vegan 19-20 years…l last 6 100% raw or high raw… fruit and greens based… I have done 3 water fasts during that time 21-21-15 days and numerous juice fasts as well… I have a Greenstar juicer…..I have a HUGE 19x15x12 cm benign tumour in my retroperitonium space… how do you explain that?? :(

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

      I’m so glad it’s benign! Is it a paraganglioma? If so that arises from embryonic remnants (meaning you were born with it). Even if you had cancer, though, many carcinomas (like breast cancer) can take literally decades to grow–some breast cancers may even start in the womb and may depend in part on what our mom’s ate! See my video Cancer Prevention and Treatment May Be the Same Thing.

      • rawrnr

        Its been labelled a low grade tumour… MRI CT scan and ultrasound… my surgeon want to rip me open remove it whole and any organ it is touching… CT shows it touching parts of my small and large intestine, my right ovary. and muscle on my lower back… my uterus is tilted… currently, I am on day 6 of a 30 day water fast with Vitalzyme – 20-30 a day…. I am desperate to lose it… After all my cleansing even if I was born with it… which i doubt…. it should have gone no? I feel totally betrayed by my body.. yet still hold faith that it can heal itself! Can u recommend anything else? I will follow a juice fast/feast – carrot juice/cabbage and some beet and beet greens…. ORGANIC of course!

        • rawrnr

          Lymopma… fatty mass,,,, encircling my organs…. my liver and kidneys are being affected…. as is pain in my lower back on the right side of my spine, I can see a large lump/bump in my belly… like a water balloon…
          I have no symptoms and was working out 2 hours a day… I have stopped all activity while water fasting

          • rawrnr

            I would REALLY love a reply… some guidance..

          • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

            The only treatment I’m aware of for a lipoma that large is surgery–sorry!

          • rawrnr

            yaaa,,,, thats what the medical community tells me…. Im on day 7 of a 30 day water fast… hoping it shrinks even a little… I will do another fast and another till its gone… IF it shrinks… Im not going to agree to have the above done to me, only as a last option…. If anyone’s body can heal this on its own, its mine… I have been the most healthy person I have known for YEARS!! :)

          • http://twitter.com/andreakladar Andrea Kladar

            I feel for you rawrnr. Sounds like you’re doing all the right things. Can you imagine what might have happened if you had been following the SAD (Standard American Diet) diet?? You might not have been here to tell your story!
            I hope you get better very soon! I’m sending you all my get well wishes!

          • liz

            phoenix tears

        • rawrnr

          Forgot to mention… surgeon will remove EVERYTHING it is touching… parts of my intestines, my right ovary and muscle off my lower back,, and parts of any other organ the CT did not show… she is paranoid that it will come back if she does not do this.. I am now avoiding her till I complete this fast and give my body RAW VEGAN (loads of greens) for the next 4-6 months…. see if It shrinks at all…. if it does, it will be another 30-4- day water fast in the summer….. then take it from there… my LAST option is to be chainsawed!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Matesz/1555993211 Don Matesz

      Have you kept your B12 levels up?

    • Joe

      Maybe systemic enzymes like vitalzym would do something? Or mushroom extracts like turkey tail?

      • rawrnr

        I’ve had my blood tested and everything is normal.
        I went 24 days on water.. it shrunk big time,,,, no bulge no feeling it… but it grew back once I started eating! :(
        I am still living with it at this point…
        I have taken Vitalzyme as well as other serrapeptase pill.. I have done numerous things.. none worked… I am now just living with it, and will leave, surgery will me my LAST option… hope to be free of having to ever decide….
        Turkey Tail? have not heard?

        • Joe

          Turkey tail is a medicinal mushroom. I have absolutely no idea if medicinal mushrooms would help your situation, but things like reishi, turkey tail and chaga boost the immune system and fight tumours. Whether that is benign as well as malignent I don’t know – you’d have to research it.

          All the best, Joe

  • http://nutrientuniverse.blogspot.co.uk/ JamesKB

    Been trying to find stats on vegans and cancer. Mostly just come across vegetarians and cancer. In terms of mortality there seems to be no significant differences, but non vegetarians do seem to get more colon and prostate cancer. The most interesting thing I’ve found so far though is that about half of self defined vegetarians (in this one study anyway), eat almost as much meat as non vegetarians.

    • Thea

      JamesKB: I believe that there is a lot of data out there. But it is hard to find. I thought you might be interested in the following “Breaking Medical News” from PCRM. They have a bunch of others too.

      PCRM Breaking Medical News: “Vegetarian diets can extend life expectancy, according to early findings from the Adventist Health Study-2. Vegetarian men live to an average of 83.3 years, compared with nonvegetarian men who live to an average of 73.8 years. And vegetarian women live to an average of 85.7 years, which is 6.1 years
      longer than nonvegetarian women. This study is ongoing and includes more than 96,000 participants. The results further indicate vegan diets to be healthful and associated with a lower body weight (on average 30 lbs. lower than that of meat eaters), and lower risk of diabetes, compared with diets that include animal products.”

      Fraser G, Haddad E. Hot Topic: Vegetarianism, Mortality and Metabolic Risk: The New Adventist Health Study. Report presented at: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic (Food and Nutrition Conference) Annual Meeting; October 7, 2012: Philadelphia, PA.

    • Thea

      JamesKB: In pure coincidence, Meetout Monday’s just sent out this blurb that also relates to your post and Dr. Greger’s series:

      “A new study funded by the National Cancer Institute reports that vegans have lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians (those who still consume eggs and dairy).

      The results were especially powerful for vegan women who were found to have a 34 percent lower rate of female-specific cancers (breast, cervical, and ovarian). While vegan men show a significant reduction in risk of prostate cancer and prostate enlargement.

      Of particular interest is the short amount of time needed to “turn on”
      the body’s ability to fight cancer simply by eliminating animal products from one’s diet. For example, the blood of women in the study gained the power to significantly slow down and stop breast cancer cell growth after just two weeks of eating a healthy plant-based diet!

      “This is empowering news,” writes Kathy Freston at HuffPost Healthy Living, “… most people think they are a victim of their genes, helpless to stave off some of the most dreaded diseases. We aren’t helpless at all; in fact, the power is largely in our hands. It’s on our forks, actually.”

      Read more in Kathy Freston’s article at HuffingtonPost.com.”

  • Michel Voss
  • http://twitter.com/andreakladar Andrea Kladar

    Great educational video! Very informative, backed up with sound research and entertaining all the same time. I would also highly recommend watching the comprehensive video: Uprooting the leading causes of death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1836688212 Robert O. Harris

    Have you seen this TED Talk video on antiangiogenesis?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NAIKaGgJq4

    • JacquieRN

      Thank you for sharing this talk on how food inhibits angiogenesis thereby decreasing blood flow to cancer tumors.

  • Weallhave canineteeth

    More Vegetarian propaganda,imagine that!

  • yingyang balance

    It’s also been shown that cancer feeds on sugar. Many vegetarians and vegans eat a lot of sugar and carbs (which also turn into sugar). These include excess fruit sugar, so-called “healthy sweeteners” such as agave (which is fructose), lots of grains, etc. All of these feed cancer. So if you decide to eliminate meat, don’t crank up the carbs and sugars.

    • Toxins

      Your brain, and red blood cells and every other cell in your body uses glucose as its primary fuel source. Sugar from whole grains and fruits has no linkage with disease, and no studies have demonstrated such a linkage. The studies in fact show the opposite, in that these foods prevent chronic disease.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/whole-grains-may-work-as-well-as-drugs/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/great-grain-robbery/

      “Whole grains are rich in many components, including dietary fiber, starch, certain fatty acids, antioxidant nutrients, minerals, vitamins, lignans, and phenolic compounds, that have been linked to reduced risk for coronary artery disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases. Most of these components are found in the germ and bran, which are reduced in the grain-refining process.”
      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/459s.full.pdf

      http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fruits/

    • Stephen Lucker Kelly

      Yin-Yang* Correcting your name for you. Your whole body works on sugar. If you stopped eating sugar while you had cancer… you would die. Not from cancer, but because it’s impossible to avoid sugar, and so you would probable die of starvation. Sugar doesn’t make cancer grow, it just feeds cells in the body. So it basically feeds cancer cells too. If you water fasted that might help slow cancer down… or it might drop your immune system so low that you die any way. The best thing to do would be to eat lots and lots of green vegetables, mostly green leafies, and anything that gave you energy. This would boast your bodies ability to find cancer cells. If you did it any other way you probable would feel like crap and probable possible live longer but die anyways. You have to boast the immune system and hope it works out how to stop the cancer cells. Or use radiation and try kill all cancer cells before it kills you. Personally I would go with immune system boast over radiation.

  • Cynysha Thompson

    So then if our immune systems battle cancer cells daily and for cancer cells to grow out of control and form a tumor, is it our extremely toxic eating habits or direct environment (physical and psychological) that ‘triggers’ the our immune system to turn itself off against these mutated cells? So in essence nothing can give us cancer or cause cancer. Negative inflammatory agents in our food and surroundings cause our own systems to develop cancer cells at a higher rate than our immune systems can kill them off. I’m seeing more and more that illness, disease and more specifically cancer is triggered and developed either over a short or long period of time depending on our exposure to the toxic element or agent.

  • Cynysha Thompson

    So then our immune systems battle cancer cells daily and for cancer cells to grow out of control and form a tumor, toxicity ‘triggers’ our immune system to turn itself off against these mutated cells? So in essence nothing can give us cancer or cause cancer. Negative inflammatory agents in our food and surroundings cause our own systems to develop cancer cells at a higher rate than our immune systems can kill them off. I’m seeing more and more that illness, disease and more specifically cancer is triggered and developed either over a short or long period of time depending on our exposure to the toxic element or agent.