Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, with 19.3 million new cases and 10 million deaths recorded in 2020 alone (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2020).
As the global population ages and the prevalence of risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity increases, the cancer burden is expected to rise further. Therefore, there is a pressing need for innovative and effective treatments to combat this disease.
The Duke Cancer Institute Study on Type XVIII Collagen
There is promising research on collagen and cancer dormancy that has recently caught the attention of researchers. Collagen is a structural protein found in the human body, with various types playing different roles in maintaining tissue integrity, wound healing, and skin elasticity, among other functions.
In a groundbreaking study conducted by the Duke Cancer Institute, researchers discovered that a specific kind of collagen, known as type XVIII collagen, plays a vital role in keeping cancer cells dormant and preventing them from becoming malignant.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, focused on the effects of type XVIII collagen on cancer cell dormancy. The research team found that cancer cells secrete this particular type of collagen, which forms a protective barrier around them, preventing the cells from interacting with their environment and turning malignant.
The study’s key findings suggest that maintaining sufficient levels of type XVIII collagen in the cancer cells’ environment could be crucial in keeping them dormant, and that a decrease in collagen levels might lead to the activation of these dormant cancer cells, resulting in cancer growth and spread.
Best Ways to Consume Type XVIII Collagen
While the research on type XVIII collagen is still in its early stages, and there is no direct evidence linking the consumption of collagen-rich foods or supplements to increased levels of this specific collagen type in the body, incorporating collagen-rich foods and supplements into one’s diet could potentially support overall health and help in the prevention or management of various diseases, including cancer. Here are some ways to consume collagen:
- Diet: Consuming foods rich in collagen, such as bone broth, fish, and gelatin, can help boost collagen production in the body. Additionally, foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens, can support collagen synthesis. It is essential to note that while these foods may boost overall collagen levels, they may not specifically target type XVIII collagen.
- Supplements: Collagen supplements, available in the form of powders, capsules, and tablets, can be taken to increase collagen levels in the body. Moreover, it is not yet clear whether these supplements can specifically increase type XVIII collagen levels, although the benefits of consuming collagen suggest that it’s worth adding it to your regime.
Pioneering Research in the Alternative Arena
In addition to collagen’s potential role in cancer treatment, several other promising alternative approaches are being explored. These include immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells (National Cancer Institute), and oncolytic virus therapy, which uses genetically modified viruses to selectively destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
Moreover, researchers are investigating the potential anticancer properties of various plant-based compounds, such as curcumin found in turmeric, resveratrol in grapes, and sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables. These natural compounds may work synergistically with conventional cancer treatments to improve their effectiveness and minimize side effects.
The role of collagen in keeping cancer cells dormant presents a promising new direction in cancer research and treatment. It is crucial to remember that a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle, and consultation with healthcare professionals are vital components of an effective cancer prevention and treatment strategy. The exploration of alternative and innovative approaches to cancer treatment, such as immunotherapy, oncolytic virus therapy, and plant-based compounds, also holds great potential in the ongoing battle against this devastating disease.
It is important to emphasize that if you or a loved one is facing a cancer diagnosis, seeking proper medical attention is essential. Early detection, evaluation, and treatment by qualified healthcare professionals can significantly improve the chances of a positive outcome. While incorporating collagen and other potentially beneficial dietary components can support overall health, they should not be considered a substitute for professional medical care. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet, exercise routine, or supplement regimen, and ensure that you are receiving the most appropriate and effective treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.