The cancer killers in your kitchen

February 15, 2010 by  
Filed under CANCER

Did you have a great Valentine’s Day? With flowers, chocolates, candle light dinner, and wine?

Well, if you got the right chocolate and the right wine, then you would have had not only a romantic evening but an evening highly beneficial to your health.

We might not have to look beyond our kitchen to find substances that prevent, even stop cancer. This is according to experts at the Angiogenesis Foundation. The Massachusetts-based not-for-profit organization is dedicated to fighting diseases based by fighting angiogenesis, defined as “the growth of new capillary blood vessels in the body.”

The foundation’s goals are:

to help people lead healthier, longer lives by restoring balance to blood vessel growth

to enable patients to gain access to safe and effective treatments coming from the angiogenesis field for cancer, blinding diseases, wounds, and many other serious diseases.

One of the projects offs of the foundation is to identify foods that contain substances that can stop cancer cells. These foods while feeding our body, can cut off the blood supply to cancer cells and tumors, thereby starving them to death.

Some of the foods they have identified are

  • Blueberries
  • Garlic
  • Say
  • Tea
  • Tomatoes
  • Maitake mushrooms

And of course, the latest additions to the list are

  • Dark chocolate
  • Red wine

Look at the longer list taken from the foundation’s website.

The concept of angiogenesis in cancer is nothing new. Several anti-cancer drugs in the market are called anti-angiogenesis therapies.

Angiogenesis Foundation believes that eating foods which have anti-angiogenesis properties can just as effective as or even more effective than pharmacological-based therapies.

According to Angiogenesis Foundation head William Li:

“We are rating foods based on their cancer-fighting qualities… What we eat is really our chemotherapy three times a day…
We discovered that Mother Nature laced a large number of foods and herbs with anti-angiogenesis features… For many people around the world, dietary cancer treatment may be the only solution because not everyone can afford cancer drugs.”

Interestingly enough, the very foodstuffs listed as cancer fighters due to anti-angiogenesis properties are also the same foodstuffs that have been found to have cardiovascular benefits that can prevent stroke and cancer. These foodstuffs are said to be very rich in antioxidants.

Oh, by the way, remember my friend who was battling Stage 4 lung cancer? She had one dose of chemotherapy in January which had to be stopped because her body couldn’t tolerate it. She shifted to a diet of organic fruits and vegetables, shitake mushrooms and nutritional immunology supplements. After a couple of weeks, her X-rays and ultrasounds show the tumors are shrinking! Isn’t it wonderful?

How NOT to make a good impression on the greatest cancer scientist alive

October 31, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

I just got some really exciting news from some old labmates of mine: Judah Folkman, the father of angiogenesis therapy in cancer, has agreed to speak at my alma mater!

Who is Judah Folkman and Why Should I Care?

To understand the significance of this event, please allow me to give you a brief cell biology lesson: The body’s cells are surrounded by capillaries, or tiny blood vessels, which nourish the cells and carry off their waste. These capillaries are made up of endothelial cells, and because these endothelial cells generally never divide, the blood vasculature pretty much stays the same. Angiogenesis refers to the few times (like during wound healing or menstruation) when these sleepy endothelial cells actually do decide to wake up and start dividing. Like anything that has to go to work after a long nap, the cells get everything they need to get done in a short, controlled burst, and then tune right back out again.

Back in the 1960’s, it was generally thought that the living cells that comprise tumors were just feeding off the blood supply of normal tissue. Dr. Folkman was the first to hypothesize that perhaps these unwanted tumor cells were surviving due to angiogenic activity. Turns out that he was right, and a new way to approach cancer treatment was born.


A flurry of anti-angiogenic approaches have found success not just in cancer, but in but heart disease, obesity, and infertility as well. Researchers in Dr. Folkman’s laboratory have been in the forefront of the “stop ’em where it starts” approach to management and treatment, and both the man and his research have been highlighted in books both by him and others, a documentary, several news stories, and most recently, new business development.

The Judah Folkman Lunchbox

Because he was not afraid to try new approaches when almost everyone in his field thought he was wrong, I’ve considered Dr. Folkman to be a Rock Star Scientist in my eyes for years. Both my husband and I had done our graduate work in an cancer angiogenesis laboratory, so we used to joke that getting the thumbs-up approval from Dr. Folkman would trump even a Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Fast forward a few years to this past April when I presented my work at the American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting for the first time. Until my labmates and I got our conference programs in the Los Angeles Conference Center, I had no idea that it was the 100th anniversary of AACR and that Dr. Folkman had been invited to be a keynote speaker. After briefly hyperventilating, I planned my entire schedule around seeing him speak. When I saw him at his sunrise session talk, he was both humble and instantly likeable as he spoke not just about his recent work but that of his collaborators.

Since I figured I’d never get the chance to see him in person again, I hung around afterwards with a small crowd of scientists. As I eavesdropped on the other people talking to him, I realized that each person he was talking to was asking for his expert opinion on research approaches or clinical practices. They were all dressed up and from big-name institutions. I was some scruffy kid who came from an cancer center no one’s ever heard of — and I had nothing brilliant to say! When it came to my turn in line, I said, in true Lesly-fashion, the first thing that came to mind: “Dr. Folkman, I’m Lesly, and me and my husband think that you’re so great that we would buy a lunchbox with your face on it!”

And there it was for all to see: my pedicured foot inserted neatly in my mouth. Read more

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.