Dr. Michael Greger talks about some hopeful research on the effect of phytonutrients in broccoli, broccoli sprouts and broccoli juice on the growth and proliferation of breast cancer stem cells. It’s stem cells that give tumors their virtual immortality.
He considers this approach superior to the antiangiogenesis approach (i.e. taking foods and medicines to discourage the growth of microscopic blood vessels that support tumors) because it targets the “beating heart” of tumors (i.e. breast cancer stem cells).
Cell immortality and the remarkable story of Henrietta Lacks
Attacking breast cancer stem cells is so important because these are the culprits that give tumors their virtual immortality. One startling example of the potential for cell immortality can be found in the best selling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Ms. Lacks was a poor black Southern tobacco farmer. Scientists, without her knowledge, took some of her cells and began growing them. And growing them. And growing them. It was the first scientific experiment in cell immortality. Cells that can be traced to that one sample of Ms. Lack’s cells are still growing today some sixty years after her death. It’s estimated that if you weighed all the cells that have grown from that one sample they would weigh a combined fifty million metric tons! Let me put that in perspective. That’s the weight of the Empire State Building…….multiplied a hundred times. That’s the potential for immortality locked in our cells that cancer stem cells unleash to overwhelm its victims.