|DNA and Cancer
One of the most remarkable discoveries stemming from my research on the Cancer Salves book is that medicine has had such a varied and controversial history. I left school with the impression that science has been heading in an almost linear fashion towards deeper and deeper levels of understanding and truth. In fact, it would seem that theories come and go; moreover, it is absolutely certain that an individual with an idea that is ahead of its time will rarely live long enough to enjoy the acceptance of that idea.
As we are perched on the New Millennium, I have been particularly reflective about the where we have been and where we are going. In is evident to me that 20th Century medicine was dominated the theories of Pasteur, a man whose integrity has continually come into question and who himself recanted on his deathbed, saying that Bechamp should have won the debates that made the Pasteur name famous.
Bechamp had a theory of terrain whereas Pasteur focused on germs as causative rather than incidental to disease. With the benefit of hindsight, we can probably agree that germs exist and that some people succumb to them more easily than others. We could then argue that immunity is a critical aspect of health and perhaps more important than the risks of infection: i.e., the microorganisms are more dangerous when immunity is poor.
In any event, much of the research money in the last century went to development of vaccines and drugs to conquer infectious diseases. In my opinion, aside from some public sanitation projects, not much progress was made in the area of preventative medicine. Only towards the end of the century did the concepts of immunity, psychoneuroimmunology, and now terrain come under serious review.
Science is a very complex field with many areas of specialization; very few within the ranks have an overview of the whole person. This is to be expected when one spends so much time looking through a microscope.
If we examine the consequences of 20th Century medicine, we will see that countless new vaccines have been developed and viruses continue to mutate at a galloping pace. New antibiotics were created but they are failing to meet the expectations of the very persons who invented them. In reality, we could say that the alleged progress was mainly in the area of infectious diseases, acute conditions, and that precious little progress was made in the area of chronic diseases.Be realistic, instead of healing the heart, hearts are transplanted or replaced with promising new devices. Instead of curing cancer, a battle is waged against the disease that is nearly as dangerous to the patient as the disease itself. Billions of dollars later, the statistics haven't improved.As we process the history of the 20th Century, we can expect to learn that the suppression of immunity by over-immunization and medication has aggravated the challenges of chronic diseases and done little to alleviate the dangers of infectious diseases. Worse, in our mad effort to conquer disease, we have unleashed a host of new mutations into the serums that are being used to inoculate people against what they have been taught to fear.I believe in what might be called collective consciousness. As a people, we have a right to fear infections. Our civilization has been decimated many times over by epidemics of the plague, syphilis, cholera, and many other diseases. Those of us who are alive today are alive because our ancestors somehow survived these challenges.What is not so well known is that Nostradamus was curing people of the plague while his colleagues in medical school were denying the validity of his rose petal remedy. Today, the same dynamics continue: if there were a cure for the common cold or cancer, we could be almost certain that those who are convinced of what they know and closed to what they do not know would decry the rantings and ravings of what has come to be known as the "alternative."I do not like like the term "alternative." I generally use the word "holistic" because it reaches for holiness whereas "wholistic" puts the emphasis on wholeness and "integrative" or "complementary" suggest that the two systems of medicine can somehow be reconciled the one to the other. I do not even like the terms "traditional" or "classical" or "historic" because the words may imply that the trustees of those systems have not kept pace with the rush of the modern world.
In any event, what we can see through the periscope into the New Millennium is a system of cure revolving around DNA and genetic modification of the DNA. Rarely in the annals of mankind has such a new discovery taken off with such speed. It seems utterly apparent that the 21st Century will be the era of genetic modification.What do we know thus far? We think we can determine a predisposition to most diseases in the complicated double helixes of the DNA code. Where cancer is concerned, this is called the oncogene, a gene that if left unchecked would tend to cause cancer sometime during the course of the patient's life. Then, there is a tumor suppressor gene, a gene whose task it is to hold the oncogene in check. There are also a host of other genes that are specific to certain tissues and that would explain why one person develops brain cancer and another liver cancer. There is only one FDA approved drug that purports to address genetic predispositions to cancer is Herceptin. It was approved on the basis of the incredible promise of a new technology, not its cure rate. I only know two patients who have used it. While they are alive, it would appear to be a far from perfected drug. As I understand the present state of genetic work, there is the capacity to harvest precisely the gene one wants. What is humbling is that we homo sapiens share so much genetic material with other species. What makes us unique constitutes 1-2% of our genetic make-up. This is truly sobering. When I contemplate the ramifications of this material, I truly feel my kinship with all life forms, not only the wingeds and four-leggeds but the plants and trees.What is not at this time possible in this new medicine is the ability to splice a harvested gene into the desired place in the DNA sequence. It is also not possible to teach the modified DNA to replicate in such a way as to replace the disease causing gene with the disease inhibiting one. At this juncture, what happens when a gene is transplanted is random and unpredictable. The patients with whom I have discussed this treatment also describe fairly strong reactions. There is much more to the genome project and oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Just two years ago, experts had identified 33 factors that compromise the efficiency of the tumor suppressor genes. These included such variables as sick building syndrome and specific personal factors that affect mood and happiness. In other words, even if the new science becomes very Star Trekky and almost trans-Earth-like in dimension, we will still be people. People are an incredible mixture of divine spirit, soul motivation, intellectual comprehension, emotional turmoil, and physicality. I have chosen these terms carefully because I feel that most of our being is immortal. If it is strong enough to defy the finality of death of physical structure, it must also be more or less impervious to the measures that are used to prolong the existence of the physical. What we do not understand is the relationship of the transcendent to the ephemeral.However, we know enough to know that light may be the real key to healing. Hundreds of years ago in Tibet, the monks were taught that the component in plants that heals is the light. Researchers in Austria have now determined what that light is and herbalists have sought to examine the processes that are used in making remedies so as to determine which processes preserve the light and which compromise it. For me, these studies are more interesting than what is going on with DNA, I think it is because I can relate to my immortality as well as my mortality and am therefore not convinced that physical measures alone will preserve the life of my body.I am inclined to speculate even further. If we ask what light is, we are almost stunned into silence. Is Light the emanation of the Divine? the energy that is Life itself? Is Light the essence of all Creation and the body the space in which this essence gestates and matures into its ultimate destiny?Elsewhere, I wrote about the spontaneous remissions I have witnessed. In all cases, there was the presence of great light. The first instance I ever saw of this type was so powerful that I never forgot a second of it. It was Christmas Eve and the patient was in the hospital. The doctor told her parents that she would not live until morning. I saw her soul in the corner of the room. It moved towards her body and flooded her with a river of white light. She recovered instantly and the doctor said, "There has been a miracle, the chemotherapy is working." Yes, it would have been a miracle if chemotherapy ever accounted for such a recovery; she was discharged from the hospital on Christmas Day. Isn't this the ultimate story of the resurrection of light? Do not we celebrate the birth of light rather than the winter solstice? At the solstice, the light seems to have been conquered, but after three days, it arises from the tomb and gives birth to a renewal of hope.As individuals, our destiny is to be receptive to the light. Many of us are Sun worshippers, but a good tan is not what light is all about. Light is about inspiration, divine guidance, and willingness to function as children of God in a world of endless, banal distractions. For me, these diversions are threatening. In my sarcastic moments, I have referred to Earth as the Entertainment Planet. We are restlessly searching for something to do and forgetting to be who we are. Then, when a crisis, such as a life-threatening illness, occurs, we seek remedial measures and perhaps some psychotherapy to help us understand our issues. Some people will also undertake a spiritual quest to determine the relationship of the Divine to the psychological and physical aspects of being. With any luck, such persons will discover what every religious teacher has said all along: the nature of God is Good and the relationship of Spirit and Matter is intended to be loving.
Fair Use Notice: This document may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. We believe that this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.