There are about 100 different diseases which can be called cancer, but there are a few common mechanisms behind the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells.
There is evidence that behind cancer development is an underlying severe alkalinization of the interior of the cells. An abnormal handling of the hydrogen ions by the cells underlies neoplastic transformation of the cells. There is an extracellular acidosis that may precede the malignant transformation of cells by years. This abnormality is not seen in any other human disease.
In the cell wall is a “transporter” that removes hydrogen ions from the cell into the extracellular space and exchanges them for sodium, alkalinizing the intracellular space. In cancer cells, this transporter is hyperactive, still removing hydrogen ions even with a normal pH. The transporter is “NHE1.” Large amounts of lactic acid are excreted by cancer cells and the removal of lactic acid further results in alkalinization of the cancer cells’ interior.
NHE1 is necessary for cancer cell duplication, motility and invasiveness. Apoptosis is inhibited by NHE1 activity, ensuring the survival of cancer cells against that normal body process for removing abnormal cells. Some agents that can induce apoptosis of cancer cells do so by producing extracellular acidosis.
One research group was able to kill 90% of leukemic cells by a process of acidification of the interior of cells. Quercitin and some other similar chemicals, which reduce the removal of lactic acid from cells and promote normalization of the cellular pH, have been shown to reduce the survival of cancer cells.
The paradigm for treatment of cancer for 50 years has been to target DNA, which has resulted in limited success against cancer. The newer paradigm of cancer treatment is to target trans-membrane activities. Researchers are trying to improve the more natural process of selective cell death called apoptosis.
It is now known that the failure of cancer cells to retain many chemotherapeutic drugs, multi-drug (multidrug) resistance (MDR), is due to the alkalinity within the cells. This alkalinity is one cause of resistance to the drugs. Drugs such as verapamil, tamoxifen and amiodarone are able to overcome MDR by reducing the alkalinity inside the cells.
Angiogenesis, the process of the growth of new blood vessels, necessary for the growth of cancers, is dependent on the ability of cancers to decrease the extracellular pH (acidification).
“…from the point of view of the induction of apoptosis in the selective chemotherapeutic treatment of cancer, it could be concluded that even a normal pHi (pH of the fluid between cells) in cancer should be considered highly pathological since it allows uncontrolled proliferation…”
Tumor regression has been achieved in animal cancers with such products as ammonium chloride, lactic acid, acetic acid and hydrochloric acid through the “acidotic treatment of neoplasia.” Spontaneous remission of cancer may be due to unusual spontaneous pH changes of uncertain origin.
CONCLUSION: “Cancer cells have an acid-base disturbance that is completely different from that observed in normal tissues and that increases in correspondence with increasing neoplastic state: an interstitial acid microenvironment linked to an intracellular alkalosis.”
NOTE: “Common knowledge” for some time has been that acidosis has been associated with cancer. Now, it appears that there is acidosis of the fluid around cells and alkalosis within the cells. The general level of acidity of the body can be checked with pH paper to test the urine.
Spontaneous remission of cancer is known to occur, especially in certain cancers such as hepatocellular (liver) cancer. In these cases the cancer can disappear without apparent reason or, sometimes, trauma. The exact mechanism is not known and there could be more than one mechanism. See Summary 222.
Read about the use of proton pump inhibitors for treating cancer.
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