Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Cancer is driven by inflammation. Curiously, we typically think simply in terms of things being either good or bad. In reality, things are more complex. For example, inflammation is a double edged sword: local and acute inflammation is good for you whereas systemic and chronic inflammation is bad for you. Inflammation needs to be optimized – seed nutrition is the inflammation optimization agent.
Cancer and Inflammation: Promise for Biological Therapy
Cancers often arise as the end stage of inflammation in adults, but not in children. As such there is a complex interplay between host immune cells during neoplastic development, with both an ability to promote cancer as well as limit or eliminate it, most often complicit with the host. In humans, defining inflammation and the presence of inflammatory cells within or surrounding the tumor is a critical aspect of modern pathology. Groups defining staging for neoplasms are strongly encouraged to assess and incorporate measures of the presence of apoptosis, autophagy, and necrosis as well as the nature and quality of the immune infiltrate. Both environmental as well as genetic factors enhance the risk of cigarette smoking, H. pylori, hepatitis B/C, human papilloma virus, solar irradiation, asbestos, pancreatitis, or other causes of chronic inflammation. Identifying suitable genetic polymorphisms in cytokines, cytokine receptors, and Toll-like receptors among other immune response genes is also seen as high value as genomic sequencing becomes less expensive. Animal models which incorporate and assess not only the genetic anlagen but also the inflammatory cells and the presence of microbial pathogen [PAMPs] and damage associated molecular pattern molecules [DAMPs] are necessary. Identifying micro-RNAs involved in regulating the response to damage or injury are seen as highly promising.
Although no therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat cancers based on insights into inflammatory pathways are currently approved for the common epithelial malignancies, there remains substantial interest in agents targeting COX2 or PPARγ, ethyl pyruvate, as well as steroids and several novel agents on the horizon.
Dr. Weeks’ Comment: