Biology

Eva Vertes told us first: Stem cells may cause brain cancer

Posted by: Tedconfjune

Evavertes Princeton sophomore Eva Vertes told us her theory at TED2005: That stem cells — seeking to initiate repairs in the body — may actually be the root of cancer. So cancer may, in fact, be the body’s own repair system gone awry. Well, research increasingly is backing her up. Cancer Cell journal reported recently that certain types of brain cancer may start with stems cells: a finding with vast implications for research and treatment. But you already knew that.

Comments (6)

  • 2sw2r bangoo commented on May 20 2009

    I think that cells communicate in a particular way and, if we could learn the language, we would probably have many great breakthroughs. Keep up the good work. If this idea is totally ridiculous, I apologize. I felt better relaying this idea that just keeping it to myself.

  • manning walker commented on Jun 29 2008

    Responding to Eva Vertes’ TED talk:
    If muscular tissue is cancer resistant due to the fact that it has learned to cope with constant damage, this would have developed evolutionarily over the course of millions of years.
    If this is an evolutionary adaptation, than a comparison across many species would likely indicate that the longer a cell type has been exposed to a type of damage, the greater the degree of resistance.
    If damage to muscles occurs from use and activity, it would suggest that our other tissue types have been dealing with the causes of damage for a shorter period of time, evolutionarily speaking.
    The types of damage that cause cancers of the internal organs and nervous structures can be traced by archeology to specific regions, conditions, and even time frames.
    Theoretically, it is possible to trace every cancer type back to a specific first known occurrence.
    It may be possible to prove the first occurrences of lung cancer during the industrial revolution, or the origin of stomach cancer back to dietary changes at a time such as the advent of industrial farming, etc.

  • Linda Velasquez commented on Mar 1 2008

    This is a comment on the speaker blurb for Ms. Vertes, not on the brain cancer idea. I was very disappointed when I read “If smoking can cause lung cancer, and drinking can cause liver cancer, is it possible that cancer is a direct result of injury? If so, could cancer be caused by the body’s own repair system going awry?” with the strong implication that it is a new, even groundbreaking, idea. It is not a new idea in the least! It is the core idea of most theories I’ve encountered about how laetrile works. Why is it being treated as a new idea?

  • Linda Velasquez commented on Mar 1 2008

    This is a comment on the speaker blurb for Ms. Vertes, not on the brain cancer idea. I was very disappointed when I read “If smoking can cause lung cancer, and drinking can cause liver cancer, is it possible that cancer is a direct result of injury? If so, could cancer be caused by the body’s own repair system going awry?” with the strong implication that it is a new, even groundbreaking, idea. It is not a new idea in the least! It is the core idea of most theories I’ve encountered about how laetrile works. Why is it being treated as a new idea?

  • Ralph Bauer commented on Jan 1 2008

    What a wonderful young lady! She seems to be on the right track…her findings support Dr. Hamer’s hypothesis (http://www.newmedicine.ca/interview.php).
    If she keeps asking questions about causation, she should eventually come to the emotional basis for disease; not all trauma is physical! Most of it is not! This will then explain the locations of cytokines as indicative of relevant emotional events in the life path, with symbology becoming a new raison d’etre for the cancer. Of course, she will have to look higher up the tree than the body, which is only the low hanging (and obvious) fruit of the life.
    I think her finding on the relative immunity of muscle cells to metastases may point her to the role of the muscles in dispelling emotional insults. They respond in the now, and tend to not hold on to the sadnesses and fears of a life any longer than a bruise lasts, perhaps only a few days. So they don’t become likely suspects for cancer, as do the other organ systems with their much longer time frames.
    The heart, of course, stores suppressed emotion until later, when the spirit can deal with it, and so is unlikely to suffer from cancer. Its etheric substance is similar to Teflon in that respect.
    All in all, a wonderful presentation! I am filled with hope.

  • TEDBlog Reader commented on Oct 30 2007

    I am not a scientist; however, I really enjoyed Eva’s presentation. I was thinking that, if we could identify the signal (probably electrical) that attracted the metastasizing cancer cell to an injured area of the body, then we could produce a device, implanted in the body, that would send out an attractor signal to lure all roving cancer cells moving through the body. Once in the device the cancer cell could be identified by the same device and differentiated from helpful repairing stem cells. At that point the device would hold onto, destroy, or exit out the pre-cancerous cells and let the healing stem cells go back into the body. If this were possible, the procedure could be done prior to any surgery to totally prevent the, now localized, cancer from metastasizing. If we could stop cancer from metastasizing, we would go a long way toward preventing the worst part of cancer.

    I think that cells communicate in a particular way and, if we could learn the language, we would probably have many great breakthroughs. Keep up the good work. If this idea is totally ridiculous, I apologize. I felt better relaying this idea that just keeping it to myself.