Cancer theories revisited

Theories for the causation of cancer litter the literature. There are so many and Nutrition is on of the prominent contributors, not to the debate but as dogmatic statements.
In one respect this is so naïve , and yet there are other examples of success with adding nutrients ; folic acid in preventing neurological birth defects and zinc and vitamin A and outcome in infants.
On the other hand in my field I always felt uncomfortable with the suggestion that dietary fibre was an universal agent in the prevention of colonic disease. If similar claims were made for a drug there would be legal actions.
In Nature 2008 vol 451 p 781 there is a touching obituary of a great surgeon scientist M Judah Folkman who died comparatively young.
He noticed the vascular nature of tumours. He saw the undue concentration of blood vessels in tumours as an extension of a fundamental process in the normal physiology, embryonic development and disease including cancer.
He demonstrated the first angiogenesis factor basic fibroblast growth factor and inhibitiors angiostatin and endostatin. He felt that there is a place for angiogenesis inhibitors which acted in the same manner as statins in coronary heart disease.
A fine example of laboratory studies to fortify an observation rather than powerful recommendations based solely on epidemiological observations. The two marry together.

Martin Eastwood
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