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Questions of A More Technical Nature

Epidermal Growth Factor and Blood Type


QUESTION

My sister is currently being treated for breast cancer. She is type A and I believe is being given an antibody against a "Growth Factor" the tumor is producing, can she do anything with your program to help? Thanks!


ANSWER

One little-known nor appreciated effect of blood type A antigen is its ability to attach to the receptor for 'growth factors' that are found in much higher concentration on tumor cells than on normal ones. Growth factors are proteins that act on nearby cells in a in a way not dissimilar to hormones As a matter of fact the best known growth factor is insulin itself. Growth factors are very powerful regulatory Agents and their production is normally very tightly regulated. Growth factors have varied effects, acting not only as regulators of cell proliferation but also as inducers of secretion. Chemical attractants and stimulants to cell differerentiation. Over the course of our lives, our body changes in a variety of dynamic ways; our bones elongate, men develop facial hair, women breasts, etc. Growth factors are active in every situation where some sort tissue remodeling must occur, such as embryonic development, response to injury, puberty, inflammation and even cancer.

All the above processes require cells to proliferate (hyperplasia), enlarge (hypertrophy) and sometimes die (apoptosis), and major role of the growth factors are to coordinate the activities of the different cell types in remodeled tissues in an organized fashion.

There is a close relation between growth factor action and oncogenes, genes that were discovered because of their association with the transformation of cells to the malignant state. The idea that growth factors may be related to cancer was given strong support by the finding that the actual products that are the physical result of many oncogenes are related either to growth factors or their receptors. Overproduction of these growth factors as a result of oncogene activity contributes to a loss of the body's ability to regulate growth -which results in cancerous cell growth.

EPIDERMAL GROWTH FACTOR (EGF): A growth factor normally synthesized to help tissue to repair itself, EGF also has important effects on the growth of prostate, colon, breast and several other cancer types. These cancer are characterized by cells that have an excessively high concentration of EGF receptors on their surfaces. The larger number of EGF receptors on the cancer cell means that the cell can bind an excessive number of molecules of EGF. It may be that this excessive dose of growth factor is critical to tumor growth. It is now well-documented that the blood type A antigen can also bind to EGF receptors as well. Thus it is not unlikely that free A antigen in blood types A and AB (especially if they are secretors) can find their way onto these excess EGF receptors and act to simulate cell growth. Like Von Willdebrand and factor VIII, excessive activation of the EGF receptor results in cancer cells which become more mobile and able to develop new and additional blood supplies (angiogenesis). (1)

THERAPY NOTE: The antioxidants quercetin and luteolin appear to inhibit the stimulatory effects of EGF, probably by inhibiting its activity on the EGF receptor. (2)

LECTIN NOTE: Wheat germ lectin activates the EGF receptor as efficiently as EGF itself, making the use of wheat lectin products inadvisable in cancer patients. Mannan Binding protein and other mannose specific lectins appear to inhibit the activation of the EGF receptor. (3)

Ueda M, Ueki M, Terai Y, Ueki K, Kumagai K, Fujii H, Yoshizawa K, 1. Nakajima M Biological Implications of Growth Factors on the Mechanism of Invasion in Gynecological Tumor Cells. Gynecol Obstet Invest 1999 Oct;48(3):221-228

2. Huang Y, Hwang J, Lee P, Ke F, Huang J, Huang C, Kandaswami C, Jr EM, Lee M Effects of luteolin and quercetin, inhibitors of tyrosine kinase, on cell growth and metastasis-associated properties in A431 cells overexpressing epidermal growth factor receptor. Br J Pharmacol 1999 Nov;128(5):999-1010

3. Zeng FY, Benguria A, Kafert S, andre S, Gabius HJ, Villalobo A Differential response of the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase activity to several plant and mammalian lectins. Mol Cell Biochem 1995 Jan 26;142(2):117-24




The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.



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