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Why all smokers don’t get cancer | India News

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Why all smokers don't get cancer | India News 2

Why do some people get cancer and some don’t? We are breathing the same polluted air, eating the same chemicals-laced food but cancer strikes only some. Even amongst smokers not everyone gets affected by the disease. We often hear these questions on the non-communicable disease that affects 1.39 million Indians at present; the number is expected to rise by 12% in the next five years. Now, two researchers in Bengaluru have tried to answer these questions by proposing a theory which was recently published in the international Journal of Medical Hypotheses.
Researchers Dr Vishal Rao and Dr Gururaj Arakeri who work at HCG Hospital, Bengaluru, have proposed an electron acceptor theory that states that even before the body is exposed to a carcinogen already there are metabolic processes happening at the sub-cellular level that make an individual prone to cancer. The researchers have gone beyond biology and used inorganic and organic chemistry and quantum physics to predict how cells turn cancerous.
Current theories say that certain genetic changes happen in the cell before it turns cancerous or starts dividing at a fast pace. However, genetics has not been able to explain cancer completely till date. Only 60% of all patients may have actionable mutations, not all. Rao’s two-year-long research shows evidence to support that before genetic changes certain metabolic changes occur in the cell that later lead to cancer.
“All cells derive energy from mitochondria, which provide oxygen for the process and are called the powerhouse of the cells. But the mitochondria gives energy only to healthy, good cells,” said Rao, associate dean for research and academics at HCG. “However, it is seen that sometimes some cells want to change this energy mechanism. They want to bypass mitochondria and start dividing at a fast pace without oxygen. Inside these cells, key energy-acquiring steps need to lose electrons to continue the energy gain and keep dividing. When such cells come in contact with a carcinogen, which is an electron acceptor, it starts providing them endless energy to divide and become cancerous.” These metabolic changes happen in some people and not in others through a trained mechanism inside the cell which explains why all people exposed to the same carcinogen may not develop cancer.
“Cancer cell is a systemic cell, not a chaotic cell. Not only is it bypassing the mitochondria in order to be self-sufficient, it is teaching other cells how to divide without using oxygen from the mitochondria. This re-schooling takes time and that’s why in some people cancer may occur years after they were exposed to the carcinogen. Patients ask me ‘I used to smoke in college and then left it. Why have I got cancer now, 30 years later?’ This is the reason why,” said Rao.

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