“The reasons some people lack this immunity to the phosphopeptides are unclear, but the researchers speculate that those people may have had the cancer-specific killer cells and then lost them as the immune system waned with age. Or perhaps some people’s immune cells never mounted a response in the first place.”
Some interesting research, but the conclusion drawn is that it will lead to “vaccines” for cancer. Whereas the above statement points to an entire realm of “intervention” that is entirely neglected: enhancing the bodies natural ability to protect itself from cancer by supporting immune function. This brings up a typical difference between conventional and “natural” and integrative medicine: compensation vs enhancement. Compensation involves compensating for deficient physiological processes, and in conventional medicine this often involves suppression or inhibition of physiological processes (for example proton-pump inhibitors which inhibit the production of stomach acid). Generally, compensation is most appropriate in acute conditions. Enhancement involves enhancing or supporting the bodies natural tendency to healing and repair. For example using herbs such as ginger to enhance digestive function. Enhancement is very effective for day to day gripes and pains as well as long-term chronic conditions. Enhancement is especially useful from a “constitutional medicine” perspective at re-establishing appropriate balance and function of mental, physiological, and emotional patterns that may under environmental, cultural and dietary influences gotten “out-of-whack.
This article is pointing very strongly toward the support and enhancement of immune function for the prevention of cancer. I suspect the idea of a vaccine is a willow-wisp; cancer is likely too uniquely individual a disease(s) for a vaccine to be broadly effective. Maybe in individuals with a unique set of genetic predispositions? Cost and likely side-effects are another concern. The article seems to useful that waning immune function is inevitable and fails to consider that maybe a lack of immune response is something ought to be addressed. Supporting and enhancing immune function is beneficial to all and would have an impact on health and well-being that goes far beyond cancer.
Immune enhancement can be made part of the daily lifestyle:
Stress-managment and emotional self-regulation: Meditation, HeartMath, Psychotherapy, binaural entrainment. These have been unequivocally shown to improve immune-function. Establishing a state of psychophysiological coherence as measured by Heart Rate Variability. Cultivation of “positive” emotions: joy, gratitude, appreciation, serenity are correlated with enhanced immune function. So is laughter.
Nutrition: a diet with lots of fruits and veg (a recent study showed fruit and veg consumption were the single largest indicators of mortality and morbidity from all causes). Lots of anti-oxidants, omega-3’s, fiber, pro-biotics, etc.
Herbs: Many culinary herbs can help support immune function, improve anti-oxidant status, enhance circulation, and decrease inflammation. Turmeric is the king of herbs that can be easily incorporated into your diet, but ginger, rosemary, cayenne, basil, etc will all prove beneficial. Other herbs, in particular adaptogens, are helpful for modulating stress response and immune-function: these include Withania, Panax, Ganoderma, Schisandra, and so on. The key is taking constitutionally appropriate herbs to balance out your own emotional, mental and physiological patterns. The herbs work beautifully in concert with the therapeutic and emotional self-regulation tools such as psychotherapy, meditation and HeartMath.
One more thing: There is a certain amount of evidence that regular immune challenges – such as a yearly cold/fly may decrease cancer risk. In the context of this article this makes a lot of sense. An annual immune challenge, such as a flu (a virus), means your immune system is activated to several times its normal function and cleans up the system. Why not mop up any potentially cancerous cells, which just happen to be displaying peptides similar to those sign-posting the viruses?
Obviously this is an enormous subject, but hopefully I’ve provided you with some food for thought.