The first therapeutic virus to pass the blood-brain barrier.
A study attempting to show that viruses could be delivered to brain tumours has delivered that and more.
Not only did the virus in question reach its target, it also stimulated the patient’s own immune system – which then also attacked the tumour.
Preclinical experiments in mice, followed by window-of-opportunity trials in nine human patients, showed that the naturally occurring virus offers potential for a new type of cancer therapy that could be used alongside other treatments.
The virus they used is one that has previously shown potential for cancer treatment – what is known as an oncolytic virus.
Previous experiments have demonstrated this mechanism, but researchers from the University of Leeds are the first to successfully direct it at brain tumours.
This is because, until now, it was thought unlikely that the reovirus would be able to cross the blood-brain barrier, a membrane that protects the brain from pathogens.
“This is the first time it has been shown that a therapeutic virus is able to pass through the brain-blood barrier, and that opens up the possibility this type of immunotherapy could be used to treat more people with aggressive brain cancers,” co-lead author Adel Samson said.
Nine patients were selected to be injected with the virus via a single-dose intravenous drip. All either had brain tumours that had spread to other parts of the body, or fast-growing gliomas – a type of brain tumour that is difficult to treat and has a poor prognosis.
All were scheduled to have their brain tumours surgically removed in a matter of days following the reovirus experiment.
The researchers took samples from their tumours after they had been removed, and compared to the tumours of patients who had had brain surgery, but not the reovirus treatment beforehand.
The researchers found the virus in the tumour samples of the trial patients, clearly showing that the virus has been able to reach the cancer.
But they also found an elevated level of interferons, the proteins that activate our immune system. The team says that these interferons were attracting white blood cells to the site to fight the tumour.
“Our immune systems aren’t very good at ‘seeing’ cancers – partly because cancer cells look like our body’s own cells, and partly because cancers are good at telling immune cells to turn a blind eye. But the immune system is very good at seeing viruses,” said co-lead author Alan Melcher.
“In our study, we were able to show that reovirus could infect cancer cells in the brain. And, importantly, brain tumours infected with reovirus became much more visible to the immune system.”
These findings are already being applied in a clinical trial, where patients are being given the reovirus treatment in addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. One patient’s treatment is already underway – he is being given 16 doses of the reovirus to treat his glioblastoma.
The reason he is being given multiple doses is because of the way the virus activates the immune system. This clinical trial will determine how well cancer patients can tolerate the treatment, since the virus creates flu-like side effects, and whether it makes the standard treatments more effective.
“The presence of cancer in the brain dampens the body’s own immune system. The presence of the reovirus counteracts this and stimulates the defence system into action,” said one of the researchers, oncologist Susan Short, who is also leading the clinical trial.
“Our hope is that the additional effect of the virus on enhancing the body’s immune response to the tumour will increase the amount of tumour cells that are killed by the standard treatment, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.”
This could change the way we think about brain tumours.
A giant study that pooled genetic data from tens of thousands of people could change that, finding more than a dozen new mutations for physicians to hunt for in an effort to identify who is at risk of developing glioma.
Together with researchers from the US and Europe, scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK carried out two studies on the human genome in an effort to spot differences that could result in cancer of the brain’s glial cells.
Our central nervous system relies on neurons to do its ‘thinking’ work, but they’re far from the only cell in the neighbourhood. For example, glial cells provide support for the neurons by insulating them, holding them in place, and helping them access nutrients.
But like a number of tissues in the body, changes in the genes inside these ‘nanny’ brain cells can cause them to grow out of control, prompting cancerous tumours to develop.
Glioma can be further broken down into categories, depending on the type of glial cell they started out as. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), for example, is a common form of brain cancer that begins as a type of glial cell called an astrocyte.
Tumours that grow into glioblastomas are particularly aggressive, killing around 95 percent of patients within five years.
An Ohio State University study conducted in 2015 identified interactions between a pair of proteins and the newly developed tumour which could lead to a test that allows oncologists to diagnose a tumour as much as five years before symptoms appear.
But by identifying the genes that increase the risk of developing glioma later in life, researchers could potentially produce a program of diagnosis and quick treatment that might prevent tumours from growing in the first place.
This recent study didn’t stop at scanning the genome; it also analysed over 30,000 people included in a number of previous studies on GBM and non-GBM cancers, producing the largest ever study into brain cancer research.
All up, the research compared 12,496 cases of glioma with 18,190 people who didn’t have the cancer, finding 13 new locations on the genome which – if changed – could lead to glioma.
“The changes in the way we think about glioma could be quite fundamental,” says Richard Houlston from the Institute of Cancer Research.
“So, for example, what we thought of as two related sub-types of the disease turn out to have quite different genetic causes which may require different approaches to treatment.”
In total, researchers now have strong evidence for 26 locations on the genome that individually increase the risk of developing a form of glioma, in one case by up to 15 percent.
That might not seem like a lot, but when the odds are stacked against those with a metastatic brain tumour, every clue could make the difference between life and death.
“Understanding the genetics of glioma in such detail allows us to start thinking about ways of identifying people at high inherited risk, and will open up a search for new treatments that exploit our new knowledge of the biology of the disease,” said Houlston.
Combining past studies to increase the pool of data is a useful way to spot small differences which have otherwise been missed.
Hopefully this is one record we’ll see broken some time soon.
We’ve known for a while now how to make precision medicines, and now a group of scientists has discovered that sequencing the genes of brain tumors found in children could lead to specific treatments that target their genetic deficiencies. This is a fantastic breakthrough as could mean the introduction of many revolutionary treatments.
This recent study involved sequencing 200 tumor sample genes from children who have brain cancer. Out of the 200, researchers found that more than half of the tumors had genetic abnormalities that could affect the diagnosis or treatment they receive. Pratiti Bandopadhayay, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center where the study was led, says, “The reason we did this trial was that brain tumors are a leading cause of death in children, and the treatments that we and everyone else use are decades old – radiation and chemo. Our approach to try and improve on that is to target the individual tumors of each child.”
Precision medicine is hot right now, and a new initiative has just been signed called the 21stCentury Cures Act which will devote $4.8 billion in federal funding to finding more specialized treatments for patients based on their genes. But, it’s still rarely used in oncology, and even less in pediatrics. Statistics show that brain tumors were responsible for as many as a quarter of all children’s cancer deaths between 2008 and 2012. This needs to change, so hopefully, Bandopadhayay’s study will help do that. During their research, they found 44 cancer mutations and 20 different rearrangements.
Tafinlar is a drug that was approved by the FDA back in 2013. It was created mainly to target the mutated gene BRAF and was approved in 2013 by the FDA. There are currently several ongoing clinical trials involving Tafinlar being carried out in pediatric brain tumors, and so far have shown promising results. Among those involved in the trial was a seven-year-old girl who had been diagnosed with a particular type of brain tumor called disseminated ganglioglioma. The results showed that within just three months of receiving Tafinlar treatment improvements in her health were seen.
All children that receive treatment at the Dana-Farber Center are offered genetic sequencing of their tumors routinely, which makes them special as not many other centers are set up for this type of testing. But, Bandopadhayay is hopeful that this new research will encourage more oncologists and practices to start using tumor sequencing. Rameen Beroukim, an oncologist at Dana-Farber and co-author of the paper, says, “The more comprehensive sequencing we can do, the more likely we’ll be to detect new gene alterations that may be causing these brain tumors. As we get more sequencing into the clinic, hopefully, that will help us to develop new treatment approaches.”
Immunotherapy, a pioneering form of chemotherapy, is gaining a lot of traction right now, in terms of funding and effectiveness. Rather than using chemical or radiation treatments to destroy tumors, this uses the body’s own defense mechanisms to root out the cancerous cells.
Various trials, particularly with skin and blood cancers, have shown that various immunotherapy-inducing drugs can extend the lives of patients otherwise doomed to die too soon. Now, as reported by TIME, an experiment brain cancer treatment has been hailed as a success.
A 50-year-old patient with advanced glioblastoma – an aggressive type of brain cancer – had already been treated with surgery, radiation, and conventional chemotherapy, but to no avail. His cancer returned and metastasized, meaning that it had spread to other parts of his body.
A team from the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute and Medical Center decided to use a novel treatment against blood cancers on this unfortunate man as a last-ditch effort to push back his affliction.
Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers describe how they extracted cells from the patient’s immune system (specifically T cells), and then gave him what amounts to a targeting system.
They tinkered around with these immune cells’ surfaces, engineering them to utilize proteins that would recognize the glioblastoma cells as a threat. Following additional surgery that removed much of the brain tumor, the team unleashed these modified cells back into patient, where they promptly stopped the remaining tumor segments from growing any further.
Over time, cancerous growth was observed yet again, so the team gave the man plenty more doses of the immunotherapy treatment. This time, the modified cells were injected straight into the ventricles, cavities within the brain. This is considered to be a highly risky procedure, as this type of injection can cause deadly inflammation.
However, the gamble paid off. Remarkably, not only did the tumor growth stop, but they actually started to shrink. Half a year later, the tumor had almost completely disappeared.
Glioblastoma cells. Anna Durinikova/Shutterstock
Without this therapy, he would have died a few weeks after his cancer had its resurgence. With it, his cancer did not come back for an additional eight months.
This patient is just one of nine in the trial, so it will be interesting to see how the others turn out. If they are all deemed to be successful at extending their lives by a considerable margin, then this will represent a new, welcome advancement in the science of immunotherapy.
This study will actually come as a personal triumph for the lead researcher, Dr Behnam Badie, whose own father passed away from a serious glioblastoma a decade ago.
Increasingly, science is validating the therapeutic value of spices to prevent and treat disease, including for conditions as serious as lethal brain cancer.
Modern medical science is finally catching up to the wisdom of our distant ancestors. Spices, for instance, were once traded along ancient spice routes throughout Asia, Northeast Africa, and Europe, as highly precious commodities; some of them were so prized for their life-saving properties they were literally worth their weight in gold. Only in the past few decades have the traditional folkloric uses of these powerful plant extracts undergone validation via pre-clinical and clinical research. The results are nothing short of amazing, especially when it comes to providing hope for conditions that conventional treatment not only does not have anything to offer, but may actually worsen.
There are a number of driving factors behind the increasing interest innatural substances as drug alternatives, one of which is the fact that a large number of popular over-the-counter and prescribed drugs are extremely dangerous, don’t work as advertised (ineffective), and are exorbitantly over-priced (e.g. Some patented chemotherapy agents can cost 4,000 times more than gold by weight!). To the dismay of the medical industrial complex, the public is growing increasingly aware of these facts. Indeed, it’s a problem hard to ignore when correctly prescribed drugs have been estimated to take over 100,000 lives each year in the U.S. alone.
Turmeric is one of the most powerfully healing spices known, and yet its use is still mostly relegated to an FDA-approved food coloring agent, instead of the safe, effective, affordable, and easily accessible remedy for the prevention and treatment of disease that is is. In total, we have identified research on its potential value in preventing and treating over 800 different conditions, with cancers — dozens of them — being the most thoroughly researched aspect of its healing properties.
Recently, research has surfaced revealing it may help to combat one of the most lethal forms of cancers: glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma is a particularly fast-growing and deadly form of brain cancer which, despite aggressive therapies, is associated with survival rates that rarely surpass two years. Given the poor prognosis, and the serious dangers linked to chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, natural solutions are beginning to be taken more seriously by the conventional medical establishment. Indeed, two recently published studies provide compelling evidence that turmeric/curcumin may be a viable option in preventing and treating this deadly brain disease.
The first study, published in the journal Medical Oncology titled, “Investigating the therapeutic role and molecular biology of curcumin as a treatment for glioblastoma,” looked at a total of 19 in vitro (test tube) and five in vivo (animal) studies on the turmeric extract curcumin and its ability to combat glioblastoma.
Their literature review produced the following findings:
“A total of 19 in vitro and five in vivo studies were analyzed. All of the studies indicated that curcumin decreased glioblastoma cell viability through various pathways (i.e. decrease in prosurvival proteins such as nuclear factor κB, activator protein 1, and phosphoinositide 3 kinase, and upregulation of apoptotic pathways like p21, p53, and executor caspase 3). Curcumin treatment also increased animal survival compared with control groups.”
The authors concluded:
“Curcumin inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in certain subpopulations of glioblastoma tumors, and its ability to target multiple signaling pathways involved in cell death makes it an attractive therapeutic agent. As such, it should be considered as a potent anticancer treatment. Further experiments are warranted to elucidate the use of a bioavailable form of curcumin in clinical trials.”
From these studies alone, we can not yet draw definitive conclusions about whether or not curcumin will work the same way in humans; nor did the cited research address the problem of the relatively poor bioavailability of curcumin extracts. Moreover, in the case of brain tumors, the delivery of curcumin to the brain is hard to ascertain or prove for obvious reasons (you would have to cut open the brain or use toxic fluorescent dyes and brain scans).
Despite these limitations, a new study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer and titled, “Intratumoral Concentrations and Effects of Orally Administered Micellar Curcuminoids in Glioblastoma Patients,” provides evidence that it is possible to get physiologically relevant doses of curcumin into glioblastoma tumors of patients via oral delivery methods. The study used human subjects to determine the bioavailability of a combination of so-called micellar (water dispersible) curcuminoids. Specifically, the study participants were administered 70 mg of the curcuminoid combination 3 times a day for 4 days prior to surgical resection (removal) of their respective brain tumors. Tumor and blood samples were taken during surgery and analyzed for total curcuminoid concentrations, and (31) P magnetic resonance spectoscropic imaging was performed before and after curcuminoid consumption.
They found that curcumin was absorbed into the tumors. The results were reported as follows:
“Ten (of 13) patients completed the study. The mean intratumoral concentration of curcumin was 56 pg/mg of tissue (range 9-151), and the mean serum concentration was 253 ng/ml (range 129-364). Inorganic phosphate was significantly increased within the tumor (P = 0.034). The mean ratio of phosphocreatine to inorganic phosphate decreased, and the mean intratumoral pH increased (P = 0.08) after curcuminoid intervention.”
The study concluded:
“Oral treatment with micellar curcuminoids led to quantifiable concentrations of total curcuminoids in glioblastomas and may alter intratumoral energy metabolism.”
Taken together, these two studies clear the path for a better understanding of how and why turmeric extracts may help combat treatment refractory glioblastoma.
Additionally, because it is known that cancer malignancy and resistance to treatment is due to cancer stem cells, and that glioma stem cells are present in glioblastoma cancers, turmeric extract is clearly superior in that it targets this particular subpopulation of radioresistant and chemoresistant cells that conventional treatments do not. In fact,chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been shown to actually enrich cancer stem cell populations. This means these treatments may actually increase glioblastoma malignancy and can accelerate the death of patients.
For more information on natural glioblastoma interventions, as well as likely risk factors and causes (e.g. SV40 from vaccines), take a look at our glioblastoma research portal. You’ll find commonly available and recognized foods, plants, and phytocompounds listed there, such as:
Research indicates children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones, and if today’s young people don’t reduce their use of wireless mobile devices, they may suffer an “epidemic” of the disease in later life.
In the United States, at least nine out of ten 16-year-olds have their own handset, as do more than 40 percent of primary schoolchildren.
Many scientists have claimed that the wave of mobile communications made popular in the last two decades will result in long-term health implications worldwide. An unprecedented level and frequency of tumor growth inside the human brain may be inevitable.
Yet investigating dangers to the young were omitted from a massive investigation of the risks of cancer from using mobile phones, even though the official Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme — which is conducting it — admits that the issue is of the “highest priority”.
Mobile phone owners were urged to limit their use after the World Health Organisation admitted they may cause cancer. Yet despite recommendations of an official report that the use of mobiles by children should be “minimised”, the Government has done almost nothing to discourage it.
Ministers across Europe have been encouraged to bring in stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, Wi-fi and other devices, partly because children are especially vulnerable to them. They are more at risk because their brains and nervous systems are still developing and because — since their heads are smaller and their skulls are thinner — the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains.
Neurosurgeon and researcher Dr. Leif Salford has conducted many studies on radio frequency radiation and its effects on the brain. Dr. Salford called the potential implications of some of his research “terrifying.” Some of the most concerning conclusions result from the fact that the weakest exposure levels to wireless radiation caused the greatest effect — causing the blood brain barrier to leak.
Since he began his line of research in 1988, Dr. Leif Salford and his colleagues at Lund University Hospital in Sweden has exposed over 1,600 experimental animals to low-level radiation. Their results were consistent and worrisome: radiation, including that from cell phones, caused the blood-brain barrier–the brain’s first line of defense against infections and toxic chemicals–to leak.
Swedish research reported at the first international conference on mobile phones and health stemmed from .further analysis of data from one of the biggest studies carried out into the risk that the radiation causes cancer, headed by Professor Lennart Hardell of the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden. Professor Hardell told the conference — held at the Royal Society by the Radiation Research Trust — that “people who started mobile phone use before the age of 20″ had more than five-fold increase in glioma”, a cancer of the glial cells that support the central nervous system. The extra risk to young people of contracting the disease from using the cordless phone found in many homes was almost as great, at more than four times higher.
Those who started using mobiles young, he added, were also five times more likely to get acoustic neuromas, benign but often disabling tumours of the auditory nerve, which usually cause deafness.
By contrast, people who were in their twenties before using handsets were only 50 percent more likely to contract gliomas and just twice as likely to get acoustic neuromas.
Professor Hardell told the IoS: “This is a warning sign. It is very worrying. We should be taking precautions.” He believes that children under 12 should not use mobiles except in emergencies and that teenagers should use hands-free devices or headsets and concentrate on texting. At 20 the danger diminishes because then the brain is fully developed. Indeed, he admits, the hazard to children and teenagers may be greater even than his results suggest, because the results of his study do not show the effects of their using the phones for many years. Most cancers take decades to develop, longer than mobile phones have been on the market.
The research has shown that adults who have used the handsets for more than 10 years are much more likely to get gliomas and acoustic neuromas, but he said that there was not enough data to show how such relatively long-term use would increase the risk for those who had started young.
He wants more research to be done, but the risks to children will not be studied in the MTHR study, which will follow 90,000 people in Britain. Professor David Coggon, the chairman of the programmes management committee, said they had not been included because other research was being done on young people by a study at Sweden’s Kariolinska Institute.
He said: “It looks frightening to see a five-fold increase in cancer among people who started use in childhood,” but he said he “would be extremely surprised” if the risk was shown to be so high once all the evidence was in.
But David Carpenter, dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of NewYork — who also attended the conference — said: “Children are spending significant time on mobile phones. We may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers as a result of mobile phone use.”
A scholarly article on cell phone safety published online in the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine reported the finding that cell phones used in the shirt or pants pocket exceed the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exposure guidelines and that children absorb twice as much microwave radiation from phones as do adults.
The paper notes that the industry-designed process for evaluating microwave radiation from phones results in children absorbing twice the cellphone radiation to their heads, up to triple in their brain’s hippocampus and hypothalamus, greater absorption in their eyes, and as much as 10 times more in their bone marrow when compared to adults.
Earlier research on pregnant mothers who use mobile phones has shown they are likely to give birth to kids with behavioural problems, especially if those children start using mobile phones early themselves.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have found that less than an hour of cellphone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna, raising new questions about the health effects of low levels of radiation emitted from cellphones.
The study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, is among the first and largest to document that the weak radio-frequency signals from cellphones have the potential to alter brain activity.
“The study is important because it documents that the human brain is sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by cellphones,” Dr. Volkow said. “It also highlights the importance of doing studies to address the question of whether there are — or are not — long-lasting consequences of repeated stimulation, of getting exposed over five, 10 or 15 years.”
The protective sheath surrounding the brain’s blood supply—known as the blood-brain barrier—is a safeguard against nasty germs and toxins. But it also prevents existing drugs that could potentially be used to treat brain cancer or Alzheimer’s disease from reaching the brain. That’s why scientists want to unchain the gates of this barrier. Now a new study shows it’s been done in cancer patients.
The procedure works by first injecting microbubbles into the bloodstream and then using a device implanted near patients’ tumors to send ultrasonic soundwaves into the brain, exciting the bubbles. The physical pressure of the bubbles pushing on the cells temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier, letting an injected drug cross into the brain.
“People for years have been trying to open the blood-brain barrier,” said Neal Kassell, founder of theFocused Ultrasound Foundation. The device, called SonoCloud, was implanted and used on 15 patients during monthly chemotherapy with no ill effects after six months.
Although this is the first published study using ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier in humans, it is not the first study to hit the news. In November, a team at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto announced the start of a clinical trial to open the blood-brain barrier using ultrasound in a single brain cancer patient. Carpentier’s trial, on the other hand, began in July 2014, and Kassell said the French study “is the first time they’ve shown the safety of repetitively opening the blood-brain barrier in humans.” Both clinical trials are ongoing.
The Sunnybrook trial used a focused ultrasound device, which is good for pinpointing localized cancers. In contrast, SonoCloud emits ultrasound more diffusely, which is useful for glioblastomas that blend into surrounding brain tissue. “It seems a little more aggressive to implant something,” Carpentier said, but the wider-ranging ultrasound opens a larger swath of the blood-brain barrier. This enables chemotherapy drugs to reach cancer cells around the periphery of the main tumor, hopefully reducing the chance that the cancer will grow back.
Carpentier, who invented SonoCloud and founded its parent company, CarThera, says the most surprising part was the patients’ response to the implant. “The patients don’t feel anything when we emit ultrasound,” he says. “And they actually don’t complain about it. It was set up in the protocol to remove it after six months, but patients don’t want to remove it.”
He is now designing the next phase of the clinical trial to determine how much more effective the chemotherapy is with an opened blood-brain barrier. Carpentier says the technology is a “huge opportunity” to improve treatment of many diseases. He is also beginning work on a trial with Alzheimer’s patients, since studies in mice have showed that merely opening the blood-brain barrier with ultrasound helps remove the amyloid-β protein thought to be responsible for Alzheimer’s without using any drugs.
The ultimate goal of ultrasound therapy is “to be able to repetitively and reversibly open the blood-brain barrier in a non-invasive, targeted, and focused manner,” Kassell says. “This is one more step toward that goal.”
Activating a specific family of proteins may stop the spread of the most lethal and aggressive brain cancer Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), new research has found.
GBM is the most common brain tumour in adults and people with GBM often live fewer than 15 months following diagnosis because, despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, individual cancer cells escape and invade healthy surrounding tissue, making additional treatment attempts increasingly difficult.
“New therapies for GBM are desperately needed,” said Corresponding Author on the study Kathryn Eisenmann, Assistant Professor at University of Toledo Health Science Campus in Ohio, US.
“We hope our latest finding will lead to a novel and effective treatment for this extremely aggressive cancer,” Eisenmann noted.
The study expands upon an earlier discovery of a bioactive peptide called DAD (Diaphanous Autoregulatory Domain) and small molecules called Intramimics.
Both DAD and Intramimics activate a family of proteins called DIAPHs or mDIA, which are known to play vital roles in GBM spread.
The new study found that locking DIAPH into an “on” state using DAD, Intramimics stops GBM cells from invading normal brain tissue.
The researchers hope to soon evaluate the effectiveness of this new strategy in preclinical models, a crucial step in translating this discovery to the clinic and patients.
“GBM is lethal because it so effectively escapes and evades therapy,” Eisenmann said.
“Our hope is this discovery will prove to be an anti-tumour strategy and one that will be safe and effective for patients,” Eisenmann noted.
- Those who use their cell phones the most are twice as likely to develop lethal brain cancer (glioma) compared to those whose exposure is minimal
- Those who have used either a cell phone or cordless house phone for more than 25 years have triple the risk of glioma, compared to those who have used them for less than one year
No one wants to hear that something as “indispensable” as your cell phone might cause grave harm to your health, but that’s exactly what mounting evidence tells us we’re faced with.
Wireless phones and other gadgets have the potential to cause all sorts of health problems, from headaches to brain tumors. The link between brain cancer and cell phone use has been a particularly persistent one, and mounting research has only made this association stronger…
As mentioned in the featured video, previous research has shown that those who begin using cell phones heavily before age 20 have four to five times morebrain cancer by their late 20s, compared to those whose exposure is minimal.
In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared cell phones a Class B Carcinogen, meaning a “possible cancer-causing agent,” based on the available research.
This places cell phones in the same category as diesel engine exhaust, some pesticides, and some heavy metals. The expert panel ruled that there was “some evidence” that regular cell phone use increased the risk of two types of tumors – brain tumors (gliomas) and acoustic neuromas.
When you consider the fact that your body is bioelectric, it’s easier to understand how and why biological damage from wireless phones might occur.1
For starters, your body uses electrons to communicate, and inside every cell are mitochondria, the “power plants” of the cell, and these mitochondria can be adversely impacted by electromagnetic fields, resulting in cellular dysfunction. Other mechanisms of harm have also been discovered in recent years.
Wireless Phone Use Increases Risk of Malignant Brain Tumor
The latest analysis,2, 3 published online ahead of print in October, was performed by Dr. Lennart Hardell, a professor of oncology at University of Örebro in Sweden, and statistician Michael Carlberg from the same University.
The pair looked at data from two previous case-controlled studies on Swedish patients diagnosed with malignant brain tumors during the periods of 1997-2003 and 2007-2009.
The patients were between the ages of 18 and 80 years old at the time of their diagnosis. Cell phone use was ascertained via questionnaires. (Use of a hands-free device counted as non-exposure.) In all, nearly 1,500 brain cancer patients were included, along with 3,530 cancer-free controls.
Using regression analysis, adjusted for gender, age, year of diagnosis, and socioeconomic index, the odds of developing a malignant and highly lethal brain cancer called glioma rose concurrently with increased cell phone use.
The more hours spent with a cell phone pressed to their ear, and the more years they’d spent using a mobile phone, the higher the odds were.
- Those who logged the most amount of hours on their cell phones were twice as likely to develop glioma compared to those who used them the least
- Those who used either a cell phone or cordless house phone for more than 25 years had triple the risk of glioma, compared to those who had used wireless telephones for less than one year
To put this risk ratio into some perspective, just over five people out of 100,000 were diagnosed with malignant brain cancer between 1995 and 2002. If that rate triples, the odds of developing a malignant brain tumor rise to about 16 out of 100,000.
But, there are also signs that technology is progressively getting more harmful—not less so… As noted in the featured article:4
“The case control studies covered periods during which phone technologies had changed considerably. It started with first generation analogue phones that had an output power of 1 W at about 900 MHz.
The 2nd generation GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) phones (2G) with either 900 or 1800 MHz frequency had pulsed output power averaging tens of mW.
The 3rd generation (3G) phones UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System) are more amplitude modulated than pulsed, and typically use a broad frequency band (5 MHz width) from 700-3 590 MHz on a worldwide basis, and from 900-2 170 MHz in Europe with output power of the order of tens of μW.”
The findings show that 3G phones may cause more harm than earlier versions, raising the risk of brain cancer four-fold. It also appears to have shorter latency period—just five to 10 years, compared to about 25 years for earlier mobile phone versions.
Proposed Mechanisms of Harm
One mechanism of harm, published in 2010,5 explains how electromagnetic fields damage your cells and DNA by inducing a cellular stress response. The research was conducted by Dr. Martin Blank,6 PhD, a former Associate Professor at Columbia University in the department of physiology and cellular biophysics, and past president of the Bioelectromagnetics Society.
He gave an informative speech at the November 18, 2010 Commonwealth Club of California program, “The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields,” co-sponsored by ElectromagneticHealth.org.
In his lecture, Dr. Blank explained that DNA, with its “coil of coils” structure, is very vulnerable to electromagnetic fields. It possesses the same structural characteristics of a fractal antenna (electronic conduction and self-symmetry), and these two properties allow for greater reactivity of DNA to electromagnetic fields than other tissues.
Moreover, no heat is required for this DNA damage to occur. Dr. Blank believes the potential harm of wireless technologies can be significant, and that there’s plenty of peer-reviewed research to back up such suspicions.
A review of 11 long-term epidemiologic studies published in the journal Surgical Neurology7 in 2009 revealed that using a cell phone for 10 years or longer approximately doubles your risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head where the cell phone is typically held. Both Dr. Hardell and Carlberg were involved in that study as well, and these findings are very similar to the findings in their latest review, discussed earlier.
Another important study, funded by the US government, was published in JAMA8, 9 in 2011. Using a specialized brain scanner capable of detecting alterations in glucose, the researchers determined that cell phone radiation triggers your brain cells to metabolize glucose at an increased rate. Glucose metabolism equates to cell activation, so the findings indicate that radiation from your cell phone has a well-defined measureable influence on your brain. Essentially, each time you put a cell phone up to your ear, you’re artificially activating your brain cells. While that much is clear, it’s still unknown whether this excess glucose production is harmful, or can cause a cascade of problems down the line.
Common-Sense Guidelines to Protect Your and Your Family’s Health
It’s important to note that researchers are in general agreement that there’s a latency period of about 10 years or more before the damage shows up, which places children at greatest risk—a risk that is potentially exacerbated with more modern 3G technologies, which appear to be even more harmful than earlier versions.
From my perspective, the evidence clearly indicates that we need to invoke the precautionary principle with regards to cell phone use, as well as other wireless technologies. Until the industry starts taking this matter seriously, the responsibility to keep children safe falls on the parents. To minimize the risk to your brain, and that of your child, pay heed to the following advice:
- Don’t let your child use a cell phone. Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones.
- Keep your cell phone use to a minimum. Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. Use a land line at home and at work.
- Reduce or eliminate your use of other wireless devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time. If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least some of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won’t help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz.
You can find RF meters at www.EMFSafetyStore.com. Even without an RF meter, you can be fairly certain your portable phone is problematic if the technology is labeled DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology. Alternatively, you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren’t talking. If you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health. Ideally it would be helpful to turn off or disconnect your base station every night before you go to bed.
- Limit cell phone use to areas with excellent reception. The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
- Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body, and do not sleep with it below your pillow or near your head.Ideally, put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in your bra or in a shirt pocket over your heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man’s pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility. The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area while the phone is on.
- Don’t assume one cell phone is safer than another.There’s no such thing as a “safe” cell phone.
- Respect others; many are highly sensitive to EMF. Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others’ cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor’s office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the “secondhand radiation” effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
- Use a well-shielded wired headset: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded — and most of them are not — the wire itself can act as an antenna attracting and transmitting radiation directly to your brain. So make sure the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded. One of the best kinds of headsets use a combination of shielded wire and air-tube. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the sound to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.
Watch the video.URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnY7utiMwG0