Outwitting Cancer's "Deadly Fog"

The world-famous Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Belgium is funding a Phase 1/2 clinical test of a cancer vaccine. This complex carbohydrate blocks galectin-3s.

Briefly, galectins-3s are proteins that have the ability to recognize and attach themselves to specific sugar molecules. This sugar-binding characteristic is typical of all lectins and is essential to our bodies’ functioning, but galectin-3s, for some reason, are also involved in all manner of disorders. Galectin-3s are integrally involved in strokes, heart disease, cancers, inflammation and fibrosis in its many health-destroying forms.

One of the bad things that galectin-3s does is attach to T-cells. T-cells are the white blood cells or lymphocytes that fight disease and communicate information about threats to the immune system.

The “T” in T-cells, by the way, stands for thymus. That’s because T-cells are born in your bone marrow but then migrate to the heart-shaped thymus, located behind the sternum in the center of your chest. There, they mature and are programmed for specific purposes.

This programming is based in part on information about any disease in your body that is contained in the thymus. That information is relayed to the thymus by other T-cells that circulate through your body. This complex information transfer process is not static. It evolves as the body tests different approaches to fighting threats.

In theory, this thymus-regulated immune process should be able to deal easily with cancers. Unfortunately, cancers can escape routine detection and destruction by T-cells by making a deadly fog or shield of galectin-3s. They attach to the T-cells that approach the cancer, triggering cell suicide in the cancer-fighting lymphocytes. As a result, the T-cells are prevented from doing battle with the cancer cells and cannot report back to the thymus. The cancer, in turn, evolves like a malignant intelligence — hidden behind the galectin-3 death fog.

The Ludwig Institute, the world’s largest and one of the most respected cancer research organizations, tested one of these carbohydrate drugs in cultures of cancer cells mixed with T-cells. As expected, the cancer cells quickly shut down the T-cells with galectin-3s. Into this mix of doomed T-cells and cancer cells, the galectin-3 blocking drug was added. Immediately, the T-cells were rejuvenated and began killing cancers.

Cancer vaccine therapies are one of the hottest areas of biotech research today. At least a hundred organizations, I hear, are currently looking for vaccination therapies that train T-cells to more effectively fight cancers. This is only logical, since prior anti-cancer therapies have been, by definition, toxic. Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy harm the patient. The trick is to harm the cancer more, but it is not an optimal solution. Prior to new approaches to cancer, the best possible scenario was to reduce side effects and damage. In fact, the drug in question does that, but the industry is far more interested in nontoxic approaches to fighting cancer.

Ludwig, for example, is investing in clinical trials because they believe, as I do, that the immune system, and therefore vaccines, will work far better when T-cells are protected from galectin-3s. If it works with Ludwig’s particular vaccine, however, it will work with any cancer vaccine. This opens up a vast market.

The important thing to keep in mind regarding this trial is that the galectin-3 blocker would improve the vaccine result even if it didn’t actually interact with the immune process to increase the vaccine’s efficacy. Through the course of my research, I’ve learned that cell culture tests showed that this drug resurrected T-cells so that they killed cancers.

This means that the drug on its own could be a very potent cancer killer. I predict that it will be, in fact. Given periodically, I believe it will work prophylactically to prevent cancers.


Patrick Cox,
for The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning