Could you soon help guard your body from cancer with the help of a smartphone app?
It looks like that kind of development may be on the horizon, according to research at the University of Michigan and the National University of Ireland. Keep reading and I’ll explain. . .
Continued below. . .
Breast Cancer Survivor was told:
Doctors didn’t give Wiltrude much hope when they diagnosed her with cancer in the year 2000. Wiltrude, a German psychologist, never thought cancer would happen to her. But it did. And it came as a big shock.
One doctor told her, “You’ll be dead in a year.” Late stage breast cancer is virtually incurable using conventional treatments. Even M.D.s admit it. They talk about “buying you more time.” (Don’t count on it. The evidence shows you’re better off doing nothing than chemo.)
When Wiltrude told her doctor she was going to try alternative treatments, he said, “You are committing suicide with what you’re doing.” But she was determined to find a way to beat her cancer.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, this European woman came across a book by my good friend Bill Henderson, one of the smartest and wisest people I know when it comes to cancer treatment.
She tried Bill’s top, number one recommendation — a gentle treatment you can do at home for just $5.15 a day. What’s more, the cost goes down to $3.50 after six weeks because you just need a maintenance dose. And it even tastes good.
Not only has Wiltrude passed the five-year cancer survival mark, she’s survived for 12 years. We just interviewed her recently for this publication. The radiologist who tests her every year told her, “You’re the only one with this kind of result.”
You can find out more about Bill’s proven cancer treatment plan if you click here.
When I ask him about some of the treatments that top alternative doctors use, Bill sort of shrugs and says, “They’re fine, but why bother? My treatment works, you can do it yourself, and it costs practically nothing.”
He’s coached thousands of cancer patients with all different types and stages of cancer. Most of the people who follow the detailed, specific plan in this Special Report get over their cancer and live for years.
“Almost any kind of cancer is reversible,” says Bill. “I never give up on anyone.”
In the first part of this scenario, scientists in Michigan are working on a cancer “trap,” a small, implantable device that can capture cancer cells from your blood. If the lab test results pan out, soon you could have the device placed just under your skin and your phone may be able to tell you if it has filtered out cancer cells that may potentially form tumors in your body.
Detecting a cancer come-back
Right now, the researchers are focusing on helping people who have already been treated for cancer and are at risk of suffering repeat episodes of the illness.
As I’ve discussed before, even after you’ve been treated for cancer and have been pronounced cancer-free, cancer stem cells can still lurk in your body waiting for the chance to invade your organs and start forming new tumors.1
The new device, which the scientists call a “super-attractor” for cancer, works like a sponge that mops up cancer cells that are spreading through your circulatory system. The cells it captures represent an early stage in the recurrence phase of cancer: cells that are looking for vulnerable organs to invade.2
Initially, the researchers are designing the trap to be inserted just beneath the skin of breast cancer patients, but they envision its use for other varieties of cancer like pancreatic and prostate cancer.
Cancer cells turn some immune cells against you
According to researcher Jacqueline Jeruss, who teaches surgery at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, the concept for the super-attractor originated in the observation that cancer cells don’t spread through the body in a random fashion. They are actually drawn to certain areas inside the body.
Starting with that knowledge, the team of scientists set out to invent a device that took advantage of this characteristic.
“We set out to create a sort of decoy — a device that’s more attractive to cancer cells than other parts of the patient’s body,” says researcher Lonnie Shea, a Professor and Chairman at the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. “It acts as a canary in the coal mine. And by attracting cancer cells, it steers those cells away from vital organs.”
The attractor exploits the relationship that develops between the cancer cells and the body’s immune cells. Cancer subverts the activity of the immune system, making immune cells do its bidding. It converts immune cells into passive drones that, at the cancer’s command, accumulate in target organs and shield those organs from the body’s immune defenses.
During this process, the immune cells under the control of the cancer cells also collectively send out a signal that pulls in cancer cells to the area where conditions have been rendered favorable for tumor formation.
Knowing all this, the Michigan researchers designed their attractor to be an alluring beacon that biochemically beckons to cancer cells.
Mopping up cancer
The physical structure of the spongy material that makes up the super-attractor is structured to be attractive to cancer cells that are circulating and looking for a place to take root. The material it is made of is a non-reactive, safe, porous substance that is already incorporated into a wide range of medical devices.
The trap is filled with a special substance called CCL22. CCL22 is what is known as a chemokine, a signaling protein that attracts immune cells called regulatory T-cells.
Under normal circumstances, regulatory T-cells moderate immune responses, restraining the immune system from getting overactive and attacking the body’s own structures. But, when cancer strikes, the cancer itself may emit CCL22, attracting regulatory T-cells that, in effect, tell the immune system to stand down and not attack the cancer cells.
In the super-attractor, the resulting collection of T-cells in turn lures cancer cells which then mistakenly identify the sponge as an attractive spot to gather.
In the lab tests on animals, the super-attractor has performed exactly as designed. Placed just beneath the skin of the animals, it initially attracts the T-cells which then start collecting cancer cells like flies to honey.
The lab tests show that once they’re in the attractor, the cancer cells attach and become rooted in the microscopic pores that have been created for their insertion. The researchers have also discovered that the cells that have been tricked into entering the implanted device do not gather together to form a secondary tumor as they would if they had entered one of the body’s organs.
“We were frankly surprised to see that cancer cells appeared to stop growing when they reached the implant,” Prof. Shea says. “We saw individual cells in the implant, not a mass of cells as you would see in a tumor, and we didn’t see any evidence of damage to surrounding tissue.”
Identifying cancer by type
Prof. Shea adds that eventually, as we become more adept at capturing cancer cells in this way, the captured cells could be evaluated to decide what treatment would be most effective against an individual’s particular strain of cancer.
And even though they’ve invented a super-attractor that is remarkably alluring to cancer cells, the researchers do not completely understand why it works so well. A better grasp of what makes this sponge such a cancer magnet may advance efforts to help the body fight metastatic cancer.
“A detailed understanding of why cancer cells are attracted to certain areas in the body opens up all sorts of therapeutic and diagnostic possibilities,” according to Prof. Shea. “Maybe there’s something we can do to interrupt that attraction and prevent cancer from colonizing an organ in the first place.”
Shedding light on cancer cells
When it comes to looking at the cells trapped in this device, a technological system known as optical coherence tomography (OCT) offers the strong possibility that your smartphone could soon be used to reveal the presence of cancer cells in the embedded implant.
First developed in 1990, OCT basically uses two streams of light waves to create images of microscopic structures on the surface of the body as well as below the skin. This non-invasive technique has long been used to scan the retina of the eye in order to detect the changes that can lead to eye disease.3
Researchers at the University of Ireland are using compact disk (CD) optical pick-up heads – the same basic devices found inside a CD player – to design a system that can be incorporated into smartphones to observe cancer cells inside the super-attractor.4
When the hunter becomes the prey
This research not only offers a novel way to detect cancer that might be inside your body, it is also shedding new light on the basic processes in play when cancer cells begin to hunt for organs to invade. That should expand our expertise at seeking out cancer cells and destroying these predators instead of waiting passively for tumors to become life-threatening.