Cancer Treatment: The Critical Factors
Step Eight: Inhibiting Angiogenesis
Angiogenesis—the growth of new blood vessels—is critical during fetal development but occurs minimally in healthy adults. Exceptions occur during wound healing, inflammation, following a myocardial infarction, in female reproductive organs, and in pathologic conditions such as cancer.110,111
Angiogenesis is a strictly controlled process in the healthy adult human body, a process regulated by endogenous angiogenic promoters and inhibitors. Dr. Judah Folkman, the father of the angiogenesis theory of cancer stated, "Blood vessel growth is controlled by a balancing of opposing factors. A tilt in favor of stimulators over inhibitors might be what trips the lever and begins the process of tumor angiogenesis."112
Solid tumors cannot grow beyond the size of a pinhead without inducing the formation of new blood vessels to supply the nutritional needs of the tumor.113 Since rapid vascularization and tumor growth appear to occur concurrently, interrupting the formation of new blood vessels is paramount to overcoming the malignancy.114
Tumor angiogenesis results from a cascade of molecular and cellular events, usually initiated by the release of angiogenic growth factors. At a critical phase in the growth of a cancer, signal molecules are secreted from the cancer to nearby endothelial cells to activate new blood vessel growth. These angiogenic growth factors diffuse in the direction of preexisting blood vessels, encouraging the formation of new blood vessel growth.115,116 VEGF and basic fibroblast growth factors are expressed by many tumors and appear to be particularly important for angiogenesis.117
A number of natural substances, such as curcumin, green tea, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), resveratrol, grape seed-skin extract, and vitamin D have anti-angiogenic properties. For further discussion, see the “Cancer Adjuvant Therapy” protocol.
The FDA has approved an anti-angiogenesis drug called Avastin (bevacizumab), but it has demonstrated severe side effects and often only mediocre efficacy. Several other drugs inhibit angiogensis as secondary mechanisms and are sometimes utilized in cancer therapy. These included sorafenib, sunitinb, pazopanib, and everolimus. These options should be discussed with a healthcare professional because these drugs may cause considerable side effects, and are only FDA approved for specific types of cancer.
How to Implement Step Eight
- There are clinical trials using other anti-angiogenesis agents. Log on to www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials to find out if you are eligible to participate.
- Several nutrients have demonstrated potential anti-angiogenesis effects such as green tea extract and curcumin.
- Green tea; standardized extract: 725 – 1,450 mg daily
- Curcumin: (as highly absorbed BCM-95): 400 – 800 mg daily
- Vitamin D: 5,000 – 8,000 IU daily (depending on blood levels)
- Grape extract (seed and skin): 150 – 300 mg daily
- N-acetyl cysteine: 600 – 1200 mg daily