How to get rid of cancer for good.
Humanity and natural selection.
I think a cure for cancer is not the solution, it’s only a workaround and here is why.
The basic instincts of living organisms, even at the cellular level are survival and reproduction.
Life adapts to its environment through genetic mutations. The human body develops defenses over generations through natural selection.
Well, the same goes for cancer.
Let me give you a little bit of background:
- a chromosome carries our genetic information.
- the tip of a chromosome is called telomere.
- a cell normally divides itself in two, partially losing telomeres
- when the telomeres becomes too small, the cell stops dividing
Well, cancerous cells cheat this lifecycle by constantly reconstructing the telomere of their chromosomes, giving them the ability to keep dividing infinitely.
Also, our cells have a natural lifecycle ending with apoptosis, during which they literally commit suicide. We have recently identified cancerous cells that are recovering after anti-cancerous treatments have induced their apoptosis.
Indeed, they might also evolve to survive. Which suggests that similarly to viruses such as the flu, we won’t be able to find a long lasting cure anyway.
Obviously, a “cure” for cancer is a great mitigation in the short-term and Dr Pat aka billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is on to a truly effective one.
But ultimately, we need to understand the origin of such cells and learn how to avoid their existence in the first place.
The evolution of human societies implies that we’re changing the environment we interact with, through a change of habits.
The human body has changed over many generations and keeps evolving.
But what happens if we change our environment faster than the minimum amount of time our body need to adapt to these changes?
The industrial revolution had started a phenomenon similar to an asteroid hitting the Earth.
The latter covers the sky with particles and blocks the sun rays, causing the temperature to decrease dramatically, killing most living species that cannot already face this type of climate.
Indeed, these ratios of high impact environment change over time are comparable.
After the industrial revolution, we’ve reached that part of the exponential curve of evolution where multiple major changes to our environment and habits happen in a single generation.
Let’s assume that when the body is exposed to chemical compounds in high doses, our body hasn’t got time to adapt.
Multiple genes express themselves as a result of the environment change and one of the consequences is cancerous cells.
It is important to understand that, based on this assumption, cancer has always existed. But in the past, a high number or certain combinations of mutations happened over multiple generations.
The adapted genetic profiles survived and perpetuated the new genomes.
What can we do?
The real question is: do we believe that humanity requires such an important adaptation to our environment today at the risk of extinction?
If yes, then we should keep on finding temporary cures and let natural selection do its job, which might not be a pleasant one.
The answer is probably no. In this case, the first step is to detect cancer as early as possible and develop continuous care that also allows us to understand its evolution.
Prevention will then allow us to identify significantly higher quantities of molecular compounds to which the body is exposed, in comparison with previous generations.
Finally, investing more on research about gene-environment interaction. We need to understand how cancerous cells develop, especially from stem cells which are believed to be the source of cancer recurrence.
While we encourage progress, we also sustain that every compound that we introduce in our environment through air, clothes, food, etc. should already be present in similar quantities looking back to previous generations.
And the same concept should be applied to any habit.
Now imagine if we could have real-time insights on these aspects that affect our health. These are exactly the type of applications where the internet of things can and should play a crucial role. Not by making our toasters smart…
This way, as humans we will be able to actively improve our adaptation time.
The good news is: we’re collectively reaching for this future. Trends such as sustainable organic agriculture, balanced diet, and others, are contributing significantly to reduce that gap.
If you think about it, we have the power to improve our survival chances in the natural selection game.
« Our motto, as you know, is ‘Live according to Nature’. »
— Seneca the Younger