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Apoptosis & Dog Cancer

Discussion in 'Doberman Health and News Articles' started by strykerdobe, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    If your dog has cancer, his apoptosis genes have been suppressed. That's one of the reasons cancer wins.


    Time to get cellular! Today's subject is a big one: apoptosis. Think of apoptosis, a natural process encoded in the DNA of every cell in your body, as your body's automatic braking system.

    Just like in your car, the ABS monitors for problems all the time, but it only kicks in when necessary.

    Apoptosis genes monitor cells for health and wellbeing all the time. They look for signs of damage, derangement, or old age. They only kick in, though, if they notice a cell is unhealthy and cannot repair itself.

    When they start up, they shrink the cell and then systematically take it apart from the inside. This apoptosis process is also called "cell suicide."

    A lack of apoptosis is common in cancer cells. In fact, it's one of the six hallmarks of cancer.

    No matter where cancer is located in the body, it's not considered cancer unless it has six characteristics (and maybe a few more, based on recent research). These six factors are called the "hallmarks of cancer" and are defined by Hanahan and Weinberg, two researchers who wanted to help us understand just how complex and nasty cancer really is.

    Here are the six hallmarks of cancer cells. In other words, every cancer cell does the following:
    • Sustains proliferative signaling (a fancy way of saying they keep on dividing faster than they should)
    • Evades growth suppressors (a way of saying they keep growing bigger, rather than staying a normal size)
    • Activates invasion and metastasis (the cancer cell takes over nearby structures AND spreads to distant sites)
    • Enables replicative immortality (they keep replicating indefinitely, making them effectively "immortal")
    • Induces angiogenesis (in a nutshell, this means the cell starts to steal the blood supply of neighboring normal cells)
    • Resists cell death (a lack of normal apoptosis, the subject of today's article)
    Cancer is a monster of a disease, which is why Dr. Dressler created a FIVE STEP approach to managing it.

    You might look at The Dog Cancer Survival Guide and all the steps and treatments he suggests you consider ... and wonder why just surgery doesn't cut it.

    It's because cancer doesn't do "just one thing." It does all six of the above (which each deserve their own textbook) in each and every cancer case.

    So the five steps in Dr. D's approach manage to address each of these hallmarks in different ways. Some are with conventional methods, and others with lifestyle, diet, and supplements.

    But in the end, he's attacking cancer from as many of these ways as possible. Read more about apoptosis using the link below, and if you don't yet have a copy of his book, really, get one. It's so helpful!

    Warm Aloha,

    Molly Jacobson, Editor
    The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

    Dog Cancer Vet Team | the team of dog lovers at Maui Media who really know what it's like to have a dog with cancer

    Dog Cancer Blog | Dog Cancer Store | Maui Media

    Apoptosis and Dog Cancer

    Apoptosis and Dog Cancer
    By Demian Dressler, DVM

    Updated: January 14th, 2020

    Apoptosis and Cancer … what’s the connection? Every cancer shares six characteristics — and a LACK of apoptosis is one of those characteristics. Every cancer suppresses apoptosis, which is why boosting apoptosis in cancer cells can help.


    What makes cancer cells different from normal cells? That’s a simple question with a complicated answer. In this post, we’re looking at just one of the basic differences: apoptosis.

    This is such an important topic that an entire chapter of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is dedicated to apoptosis. But for now, let’s look at a few videos and some very brief explanations to find out why a lack of apoptosis is a factor in cancer. Or, as one writer put it, cancer is a failure of apoptosis.

    Apoptosis: a Natural Way To Die
    Every day in the adult human body, 50 to 70 billion cells die and get flushed out. And we don’t notice a thing!

    That’s because the process of natural cell suicide, or apoptosis, is completely pain-free.

    Here’s a beautiful video showing apoptosis in a human melanoma cell. Watch how it kind of shrinks up and the colors of individual parts of the cell swirl together.

    Why Would a Cell Commit Suicide, Anyway?
    Well, there could be several reasons, depending upon the cell.

    Some cells need to make room. For example, we all had webbed hands in our mother’s womb … until at a certain point the cells in those webs started to commit suicide, and by apoptosis, created our fingers.

    Some cells get damaged. Perhaps they are damaged by a virus, an infection, bacteria, etc.

    Some cells get deranged. They are changed at the DNA level by a chemical or medication, radiation exposure, or trauma.

    Some cells get old. They simply reach the end of their lifespan. They die and are replaced by new, healthy cells.

    In any of these cases, a cell’s DNA will naturally turn on apoptosis genes so that the cell naturally, painlessly, easily kills itself.

    Get the Audio

    Apoptosis for Health!
    As you can see from the list above, apoptosis genes are REALLY important. They are built into the DNA of every cell in the body, and they are constantly monitoring their cell’s health.

    The apoptosis genes are always alert for changes. Changes in the DNA (derangement), damage to the cell, or an inability to function anymore (end of lifespan) “turn on” the apoptosis genes, so they can:

    • shrink the cell’s size, probably to keep it from harming its neighbors as it kills itself
    • dismantle the cell’s structures
    • create “apoptotic bodies,” little tiny dead cell bits that are gobbled up by immune system cells called macrophages
    Apoptosis genes are sort of like the automatic braking system in your car. They are always monitoring, but only kick in when necessary.

    Apoptosis in Cancer
    So … what happens when apoptosis levels are too low? In other words, when cells keep living in an abnormal fashion? Or, in other words, when the automatic braking system is disabled?

    Cancer happens, for one. Cancer can be thought of as abnormally low apoptosis levels in body cells.

    Without active apoptosis genes to stop them, cancer cells aim to keep living and keep reproducing. They consume body resources, destroy normal architecture, hijack the immune system, derange body metabolism, and continue to live at any cost.

    In the end, they zero in towards destroying the very body that nourishes them.

    In fact, a lack of apoptosis is a characteristic that ALL cancers share. That means in order for a disease to be called cancer, it must resist cell death or lack apoptosis.

    Cancer makes sure that the apoptosis genes in a cell do NOT get activated. It effectively tells them to “sleep.” With the apoptosis genes asleep, the automatic braking system turned off, the cancer cell can multiply as much as it wants to. It can live forever — because no apoptosis genes are awake to make it commit suicide!

    Whether you are talking about lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, mammary cancers, melanoma, or any other type of cancer … they all feature a lack of apoptosis.

    What Can Restore Apoptosis
    So how do we “wake up” those apoptosis genes? Well, there are several apoptogens out there. (Apoptogens are agents that induce apoptosis.)

    For example, we used to think that conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation just killed cancer cells directly (cytotoxicity).

    It turns out after we have learned more about apoptosis, that some of those treatments ALSO induce apoptosis! So, they’re killing cancer cells directly AND they are waking up apoptosis genes so the cells will commit suicide!

    There also are dietary factors that support normal apoptosis levels. In fact, in countries where the cancer rates are low, they tend to eat a lot of ingredients that promote healthy apoptosis. These are mostly plant-based foods that have bitter and brightly colored compounds. Curcumin, luteolin, apigenin, silymarin, gingerols, rutin … these are all found in things like celery, parsley, turmeric, the rinds of citrus fruits and the hulls of peanuts.

    I think one of the reasons cancer rates are so high in the western world, in both canine and human, is because we tend to eat diets much lower in these dietary apoptogens!

    Best to all,

    Dr D

    Editor’s Note: Dr. Dressler dedicates an entire chapter of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide to nutraceuticals that are apoptogens.

    Here’s a great video that explains apoptosis very clearly. You’ll see how complicated it is — and why it’s so important!

    Collection(s): Apoptosis, Articles, Cancer Causes, Featured
    Article Topics: Apoptogens, Dog Cancer Diet, Dog Cancer Nutraceuticals
    Demian Dressler, DVM
    Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.

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