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Fontana comment about Tomasetti 'article

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Hello, you will have for sure noticed the last publlished study by Tomasetti and Vogelstein. I report below the Luigi Fontana'scomment on his facebook page, I think it is very interesting.


there was a question  if it is preferible for limiting the cellular proliferation a daily caloric restriction or also a weekly caloric restriction as consequence of 1 or 2 days of fasting He answered that we don't know still but he thinks it is better the daily caloric restriction and also that if you eat a lot after or before fasting this could bring to a paradox effect....

all the best, Cloud




Sensational article on the Los Angeles Times commenting incorrectly the results of a very nice work published in SCIENCE by Cristian Tomasetti and Vogelstein.



In reality, Cristian (with whom I spoke) did not say that most cancers are due to "bad luck" and that there is nothing to do. What he observed in this study is that most replicative mutations (i.e. unavoidable errors associated with DNA replication) that lead to tumors occur in highly proliferating stem cells. The higher the rate of proliferation, the greater the risk of mutations that develop into cancer. How can we reduce the risk of random mutations? By lowering the rate of cell proliferation! How can we lower the rate of cell proliferation? By reducing calorie intake and performing regular endurance exercise (both together), which in turn reduce levels of growth factors (e.g. insulin, IGF1, testosterone, estradiol, inflammatory cytokines, leptin) that accelerate cellular proliferation and the risk of random mutations! Moreover, the reduction of these growth factors with calorie restriction inhibits the insulin/IGF pathway, which through FOXO upregulates DNA repair genes. This is the reason why caloric restriction in animal models is the most powerful intervention in preventing cancer! 


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I've not read the original article but it is easy to infer that the journalists grasped one aspect that to them seemed more glamorous: the 'bad luck' proposition, which entails that we can worry only so much, our destiny is inevitable if fate decrees a random harmful mutation.


On the other side, AFAIK our bodies are packed with  initial cancer cells which are being fought by the immune system and ony rarely will manage to grow to deleterious size.


So the issue appears that of a system in balance: random cancer-producing mutations (plus non-random ones caused by external factors) happening all the time and the immune system and other defense mechanisms eliminating them.


Of course, checking proliferation would make it difficult to the cancer bodies to develop too much or too fast.


Another side of the balance though is that we cannot slow proliferation down until a certain point, since cellular renovation is a vital requirement.


CR and exercise are only part of our possible defense strategies, since in these fora we discuss protective phytochemicals, anti-oxidating phytochemical, protective dietary regimens and more strategies such as cold exposure. 

Edited by mccoy

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