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Killing cancer by cleaning house

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When a large company decides to cut its costs by merging departments and offloading dead weight, perhaps bringing in a consultant to help expedite the job of ‘cleaning house’, we call this process ‘corporate restructuring’. It happens all the time in the business world as a way to maximize efficiency and ensure that the highest-quality goods and services are made available to customers at the lowest possible prices.

It’s a routine survival tactic that has many parallels with the way our bodies work. Particularly with regard to the cellular system, the human body is designed to target both malignant and dead cells that interfere with healthy ones so they can be flushed from the body, improving the overall ‘quality of life’ for healthy cells that, as a result, are able to function at optimal capacity – a win–win for the state of your health.

Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death by which the immune system deals with cancer cells before they start to go rogue and form tumours, spreading by metastases.

But there’s another process of programmed cell life that’s referred to as ‘autophagy’, which literally means ‘self-eating’, and is absolutely critical for health maintenance and disease prevention.

Similar to a corporate restructuring consultant, autophagy is the body’s way of scouring the cellular matrix for waste in order to dispose of and/or recycle it. The primary purpose of autophagy is to pick up any bacteria, subcellular organelles or damaged proteins and get rid of them by whatever means possible.

This process, in which cells constantly degrade their own unnecessary cell components to promote new cell growth and maintain homoeostasis, is the mechanism by which balance is achieved between cell synthesis and the degradation and recycling of cell components, all for the purpose of optimizing cell function. Autophagy lies at the heart of cancer prevention and it’s how our bodies attain and maintain optimal health.

In a nutshell, autophagy acts as a type of ‘grease’ for the gears of the natural cellular degradation process, and serves as a mechanism for continuous cell maintenance and regeneration. It also streamlines the process of waste removal from the body, which is a vital part of metabolic health.

Autophagocytosis, another name for autophagy, is also relevant to the functionality of the neurological system. A study published in the journal Experimental Neurobiology explains how the neuronal system, the means by which cells communicate with one another, is intrinsically dependent on autophagy for its growth and repair.

“Neurons have highly dynamic cellular processes for their proper functions such as cell growth, synaptic formation, or synaptic plasticity by regulating protein synthesis and degradation,” the study reveals, while noting that “the quality control of proteins in neurons is essential for their physiology and pathology”.1

Autophagy by its very nature operates within the realm of cellular digestion and enzyme production, and this is why researchers are increasingly pointing to its dysfunction as a factor in neurological disease.

It also protects the communication apparatus of cells, the breakdown of which can lead to brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, not to mention cancer. If neuronal pathways aren’t constantly being cleared of waste buildup, they eventually lose their capacity to function at all.

Many experts now surmise that autophagy is the single greatest factor in the ageing process. In fact, as evidenced by when autophagy functions as it should, free-radical damage and cellular dysfunction are virtually non-existent, or at least kept to a minimum.

“There is much stronger evidence of a link between autophagy activation and longevity than there is with any other longevity interventions such as exogenous antioxidant supplementation, endogenous antioxidant upregulation, micronutrient replacement, hormone replacement, anti-inflammatory therapy, telomerase activation, or stem cell therapy,” write J.P. Watson, an expert in the molecular biology of ageing, and V. Giuliano.2

A new theory of cancer

Understanding how this process works gives relevance to the cellular life cycle and turns popular cancer theory on its head. While the cancer field remains fixated on gene mutations as the root cause of cancer and unleashes failed drug treatment after failed drug treatment targeted on them, the reality is that DNA damage is merely a symptom of autophagy breakdown, which can only be addressed by therapies that restore metabolic normalcy.

That is what Otto Warburg hypothesized in 1924 as the true nature of cancer when he proposed, in the face of much opposition from his peers, that cancer isn’t a genetic disease but, rather, a metabolic disease characterized by damaged cell metabolism. Mitochondrial dysfunction, in other words – not genetic predisposition – is why otherwise healthy cells suddenly switch to an anaerobic state (without oxygen) and become malignant.

This is the very foundation of the metabolic theory of cancer, which posits that genetic mutations are secondary symptoms of cancer. Science affirms this, yet the cancer industry has shown little concern for trying to set the record straight and has, in fact, gone to great lengths to suppress this vital truth from gaining traction in the public consciousness.3

Boston University professor Thomas Seyfried describes cancer as a metabolic disease that alters the “entire complexion of the cell”, whereas genetic mutations, he says, are just one damaging by-product among many that exacerbate this systemic destabilization process, which lies at the root of most (but not all) cancers.4

Comprehensive DNA sequencing has shown that the mutation signatures of individual cancers vary dramatically from tumour to tumour and even from cell to cell within the same tumour. This renders the targeted-drug model futile, as trying to tackle cancer by focusing on eradicating DNA mutations is like shooting at a moving target – or as Dr Ira Goodman puts it,
“a multibillion-dollar wild goose chase after the wrong target”.5

As for metastasis, the death sentence of nearly every cancer diagnosis, DNA sequencing as a treatment approach has likewise proved to be a spectacular failure for the very same reasons.

“Comprehensive sequencing was unable to find a single mutation responsible for the most important quality of cancer, the single feature of cancer responsible for 90 per cent of all cancer deaths,” writes Travis Christofferson in his book Tripping Over the Truth, which outlines experiments demonstrating the fruitlessness of going after nuclear DNA in an attempt to eradicate cancer.6

So, if damaged DNA isn’t responsible for initiating metabolic disease, what is? Like any other bodily system, cell metabolism can be brought into disarray due to a number of factors, not the least of which are nutrient deficiencies, toxic overload and chronic stress. Insufficient enzyme intakes are also implicated in autophagic breakdown, hence the growing use of enzyme therapy as a way to bring it back up to speed.

The power of enzyme therapy

The late Nicholas Gonzalez, MD, the New York alternative cancer specialist, advocated the use of proteolytic enzyme therapy as a treatment for cancer because, based on the findings of a number of case studies, it’s an unquestionably effective way to optimalize autophagocytosis.

“Proteolytic is a catchall phrase for hydrolytic enzymes that specifically facilitate the chemical breakdown of proteins by severing the bonds between the amino acids that make up those proteins,” writes Jon Barron, an American nutraceutical researcher. “They are different from other enzymes in the body in that they are able to adapt to changing needs.”

The idea of using these enzymes as a ca
ncer treatment originally came from embryologist John Beard who, in 1906, made the proposition that proteolytic digestive enzymes are effective in the treatment of all types of cancer due to their being the body’s primary defence against cancer.

After his death in 1923, Dr Beard’s ideas and methods fell into obscurity for a time, only to re-emerge in the early 1980s, when Dr Gonzalez met William Donald Kelley, a Texas dentist who was using proteolytic enzymes to treat cancer patients. Dr Gonzalez later adopted the therapy as part of his individualized nutrition protocols for cancer that, despite his recent death, are still being used at his New York clinic.

A monograph put together by Dr Gonzalez back in 1986, as part of his fellowship training programme in medical school, reveals how enzyme therapy has helped many cancer patients, who had been told they had only months or even weeks to live, go on to survive for years – thus, making it essentially a formidable cure for cancer. After bringing the treatment back to his clinic, Dr Gonzalez saw first-hand the positive effects of enzyme therapy in his patients, the evidence for which he presented to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Associate Director for the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program Linda Isaacs.

The evidence was so compelling that Dr Isaacs proposed conducting a pilot study of the treatment in patients with one of the most incurable forms of cancer: pancreatic cancer. The results of this study were published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in 1999, and showed that, of the 11 patients followed in the trial, eight with stage IV (metastasized) disease, nine (81 per cent) of the 11 lived for one year, five (45 per cent) for two years, four (36 per cent) for three years and two for more than four years.7 In comparison, in a drugs trial of either gemcitabine or 5-fluorouracil, of 126 patients with pancreatic cancer, none was still alive after 19 months.8

The NCI and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) went on to fund a large-scale trial not long after that. But because of mismanagement by the researchers – according to Dr Gonzalez, they failed to ensure that patients were following the strict nutritional guidelines set forth for the study – it failed to arrive at the same conclusions. A follow-up investigation conducted by the Office for Human Research Protections, an investigative arm of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), verified that the Columbia University scientists had indeed mismanaged the study, a fact also confirmed by the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA).

But that didn’t stop Dr Gonzalez and his team from making sure that the truth won out. A peer-reviewed study published in Pancreas and included as part of a lengthy review published in 2007 showed that proteolytic enzyme therapy is indeed an effective treatment for pancreatic and many other forms of cancer.9 In fact, many therapists believe that proteolytic enzymes are arguably the most important factor in cancer prevention at the systemic level.

Dr Gonzalez’s clinic uses it alongside a rigorous diet and detoxification protocol for maximum benefits. “The therapy itself is quite complex, but basically involves three components: diet; aggressive supplementation with nutrients and a pancreas product (containing naturally occurring enzymes); and detoxification,” the clinic says. “The protocols are individualized and each patient receives a diet designed for his or her specific needs. The diets are quite variable, ranging from a pure vegetarian programme to a diet requiring fatty red meat 2–3 times a day.”

For a person who already has cancer, the required daily dosage of pancreatic enzyme supplements is rather intense, ranging from 130 to 175 capsules per day. These supplements contain a range of trace elements, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and animal glandular products, again customized according to each patient’s particular needs.

The most important part of the protocol, however, is the pancreatic product, derived from animals raised in the pristine environments of Australia and New Zealand, where animal husbandry standards are the highest in the world. This is accompanied by an aggressive detox regimen that helps rid the body of all the metabolic waste products and stored toxins released during the therapy’s highly effective “repair and rebuild” phase.10

Dr Gonzalez’s individualized approach to patient care was birthed out of nutritional training under Dr Kelley, who came up with 10 different diets, as well as 94 variations of those diets, which he ‘prescribed’ to his patients. Because every individual has a unique biological and physiological makeup, he realized, no one dietary approach would work for everyone as a kind of one-size-fits-all cure.

But it’s the enzymes that really do the work. As Dr Gonzalez explained it, they seem to selectively target the proteins on cancer cell membranes and “chew them up”, although the precise mechanism of action has yet to be fully detailed due to a lack of rigorous testing.

“Cell membranes are a little bit fatty, but they also have protein molecules that are receptors, and pores that allow nutrients to get in and waste products to get out . . . that is how cells survive, with the protein pores and membrane. These proteins. . . don’t affect normal tissue,” he said, but with the caveat, “but we haven’t had the trillions of dollars of funding to substantiate that.”

What we do have, though, are plenty of peer-reviewed clinical and animal models to show that the therapy works, not only at Dr Gonzalez’s clinic but also at Dr Kelley’s, who successfully administered the treatment to his patients for years. And Dr Gonzalez credits not himself, but his predecessors, for coming up with this comprehensive healing approach, which deals not only with cancer cells and tumours, but also with the tumour waste that so often causes patients to become ill – hence his focus on detoxification.

“They work for any type of cancer,” Dr Gonzalez told me about his enzymes. “That is why . . . I deliberately chose 26 different types of cancer [in my research] – 50 patients and 26 different types of cancer – to make the point that it works for all different types of cancer – leukaemias, lymphomas, blood cancer, solid tumours, breast, colon, rectal, metastatic prostate – and a whole series of them.”

But perhaps most impressive of all is its effectiveness against pancreatic cancer, which is largely considered incurable. One of Dr Kelley’s patients, a woman named Arlene Van Straten from Appleton, Wisconsin, was cured of her pancreatic cancer more than 30 years ago, thanks to the same enzyme therapeutic protocol still in use at Dr Gonzalez’s clinic, a testament to its amazing potential as a universal cancer killer.

Another of Dr Gonzalez’s patients, Brenda Michaels, a 30-year breast cancer and cervical cancer survivor, shares her story.

“I learned that I was extremely toxic, and that I needed to be detoxified . . . I learned about coffee enemas, something that most people go, ‘Oh my God, don’t tell me, don’t share that with me.’ But when I learned about what the coffee bean holds and how it helps to open up those pores in the liver to draw the toxins out of the liver, it made sense to me.

“So instead of pushing all that away because, for a lot of people, the diet is so strict, having to take the pills every so often and waking up in the middle of the night and having to do coffee enemas . . . I was taking 143 different vitamins, minerals, and enzymes a day. Five days on, two days off. And then, in between, I was doing these very heavy detoxifying procedures that he has his patients do . . . I’m in my 60s; I’m the healthiest I feel I’ve ever been.”

What’s so good about these enzymes?

Taking proteolytic enzymes regularly can make all the difference in cancer prevention. Your body can use them t

• destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, moulds and fungi

• quell damaging inflammation

• purify your blood

• clean out your lungs

• maximize immunity

• dissolve scar tissue

• promote systemic detoxification

• eliminate autoimmune conditions.

The key is to combine proteolytic enzymes with a diet focused on more raw and living foods and fewer cooked and processed foods. And remember to chew your food thoroughly and drink plenty of water throughout the day, as detoxification comes to a grinding halt if you’re dehydrated.

Enzymes for cancer prevention

If we recognize that proper mitochondrial function is the base upon which our cells produce ATP, or cellular energy, it then follows that taking the necessary steps to ensure optimal mitochondrial function is critical for cancer prevention.

One of the best ways to do this, both from a nutrition and detoxification perspective, is by supplementing with proteolytic enzymes.

A recent paper published in the journal Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology spells out exactly why proteolytic enzymes are so important: without them, cellular mitochondria would be unable to synthesize proteins, induce cell apoptosis, eliminate waste and perform all the other necessary functions integral to life.

When these functions are inhibited, the consequences can be devastating: think neurodegenerative disease, the metabolic syndrome and cancer.1

Besides cleaning up the blood and improving lymphatic function, proteolytic enzymes help to:

• control systemic inflammation throughout the body

• repair/rebuild the cardiovascular system

• improve blood flow

• clean up and optimalize the immune system

• prevent and dissolve blood clots and arterial plaque

• increase exercise capacity and recovery times

• break down rogue proteins in soft tissue and blood.

As all pathogens, allergens and rogue (cancerous) cells have protein defence shields, it’s easy to understand why proteolytic enzymes, which possess unique protein-degradation properties, are so essential for cell maintenance and waste removal.

What to look for

A good-quality proteolytic enzyme formula should contain the following enzymes at their active levels:

• Protease: 300,000 HUT (haemoglobin unit on the tyrosine basis)

• Fungal pancreatin: 1,200 USP (United States Pharmacopeia)

• Nattokinase: 540 FU (fibrinolytic units, or its ability to break down the blood-clotting enzyme fibrin)

• Seaprose S: 15,000 U (enzyme units)

• Papain: 72 MCU (milk-clotting units, or how quickly the enzyme digests milk protein; sometimes listed as papain units, or PU, equivalent to 0.1 MCU)

• Bromelain: 336 GDU (gelatin-digesting units, or how fast the enzyme digests gelatin; 1 MCU = 0.67 GDU)

• Amylase: 3,000 SKB [after Sandstedt, Kneen, Blish, the test’s creators; sometimes labelled as DU (brewing measurement), with SKB and DU at a 1:1 equivalency]

• Lipase: 192 FIP (Fédération Internationale Pharmaceutique test methodology).

Excerpted from The Truth About Cancer by Ty Bollinger (Hay House, 2016), available from Amazon

Main article



Exp Neurobiol, 2012; 21: 1–8



Mercola J. ‘The Metabolic Theory of Cancer and the Key to Cancer Prevention and Recovery’., 7 February 2016


Carcinogenesis, 2014; 35: 515–27


Goodman IL. ‘Refocusing Our Efforts Against Cancer’. Townsend Letter, November 2015


Christofferson T. Tripping Over the Truth. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014, pp 147–8


Nutr Cancer, 1999; 33: 117–24


Drugs Exp Clin Res, 2000; 26: 179–90


Alt Ther Health Med, 2007; 13: 46–55; Pancreas (2004; 28: 401–12)


Gonzalez N. ‘Enzyme Therapy and Cancer’., February 2016

Enzymes for cancer prevention



Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 2015; 16: 345–59

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Article Topics: Cancer, Enzyme, oncology
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