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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Has an 8-year old girl found a cancer cure?

Sent in by Rohini Senaratne Anandaraja

Please read the comments at the end of the article. Rohini has also sent a journal link to scientifically substantiate the article. Form your own opinion!

I thought it's best to edit the original post and add the link right here.

New Zealand Herald article as follows:

Has an 8-year-old girl found a cancer cure?

7:25 AM Saturday Jan 31, 2015
In most families, dinner table conversation is restricted to what happened at school or whether homework has been completed.
But Michael Lisanti asked his eight-year-old daughter how she would cure cancer, and it seems she may have got it right.
Camilla Lisanti suggested using antibiotics, "like when I have a sore throat".
Her parents, a husband-wife cancer research team were sceptical at first but tested out her theory in their Manchester University lab. And to their surprise, several cheap and widely-used antibiotics killed the most dangerous cancer cells.
The antibiotics fought seven of the most common cancers - including breast, prostate, lung and hard-to-treat brain tumours.
One antibiotic, doxycycline, is widely used to treat acne and is thought to be particularly promising.
It costs as little as 10-cents a day. In contrast, some of the latest cancer drugs cost hundreds of dollars a day.
Cancer charities said the research shows that the answers to some of the biggest questions are right in front of our eyes.
Professor Lisanti and his wife, Federica Sotgia, were discussing their research over dinner one evening when they decided to ask their daughter for her opinion.
The professor said: "She has heard us talk about cancer a lot and we thought it would be fun to ask her what she thought about cancer therapy.
"We asked her how she would cure cancer and she said 'Mum and Dad, I would just use an antibiotic, like when I have a sore throat.'
Rather than completely dismissing the answer, the professor did a DIY experiment, rubbing an antibiotic cream on a small growth on his face.
When the growth disappeared, he did some reading that confirmed that Camilla may have been on to something.
Unknown to Camilla, a bubbly bilingual child who wants to be a teacher, some antibiotics stop cell from making mitochondria, the tiny engine rooms that supply them with energy.
Camilla's parents showed that cancer stem cells - the deadly "mother cells" that give birth to tumours, keep them alive and ease their spread around the body - have particularly high numbers of mitochondria.
They also showed that four common antibiotics killed these stem cells in samples taken from breast, prostate, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, skin and brain cancers.
Importantly, healthy cells were not harmed.
The experiments on cells in a dish suggest that antibiotics could be used to stop cancer in its tracks and prevent it from spreading through the body - the main way it kills.
Professor Lisanti says that antibiotics could prove to be an inexpensive and safe one-size-fits-all treatment for cancer.
He now needs funding to test his theory on people, including women with breast cancer.
If they are shown to fight the disease, they could potentially also be used to prevent the cancer in those at high risk of developing it.
Several previous studies support Camilla's idea.
This includes one in which lung cancer patients lived longer after being given an antibiotic to treat an infection they had.
Some 75 per cent lived for at least a year - up from the usual 45 per cent.
In another study, tumours completely disappeared after just three weeks of taking doxycycline for an infection.
Cancer Research UK cautioned that Professor Lisanti's work was done in the lab and doesn't tell us whether antibiotics will work on people with cancer.
But Breakthrough Breast Cancer, which helped fund the research, is much more optimistic
Dr Matthew Lam, the charity's senior research officer, said: "The conclusions the researchers have drawn, while just hypotheses at this stage, are certainly interesting.
"Antibiotics are cheap and readily available and if in time the link between their use and the eradication of cancer stem cells can be proved, this work may be the first step towards a new avenue for cancer treatment.
"This is a perfect example of why it is so important to continue to invest in scientific research.
"Sometimes there are answers to some of the biggest questions right in front of us. But without ongoing commitment to the search for these answers, we'd never find them."
Camilla's parents have acknowledged her contribution to their research by naming her as an author of their study, which is published in the journal Oncotarget.
Her father said the story emphasises the importance of listening to what your children say.
Professor Lisanti said: "I thought it was very naïve to think you could cure cancer with antibiotics but at the end of the day Camilla was right.
"She usually is right about things. She always has a snappy answer that makes sense.
"I think she will become a diplomat or a lawyer, someone who has to think on their feet."


  1. Rohini, this is a gem of an article! It could be the Eureka moment for the Lisanti family and an important milestone in Medicine, which will help the rest of the world.

    1. Zita
      Thankyou for your comment-Let's hope that cancer treatment becomes simpler and easier than it is now -The link to the research paper which had got omitted in the original post has now been added on at the end of the NZ Herald article- Regards- Rohini Ana

  2. Rohini
    A most remarkable story. Thank you. When we were kids no one took us seriously neither at home nor at school. Kid were only to be seen and not heard. Just imagine the gems that would have gone down the pan!! As for me, perhaps, I didn't have anything profound to say.

    1. ND ,
      you make me laugh! The gems that have been flowing from your pen more than adequately compensate for what you have lost down the pan! Rohini Ana

  3. Interesting but a bit sensationalist don't you think? "Cure for cancer" -highly emotive language or am I being unfair?

    1. Mahendra, I understand your reaction, but if I remember right, vaccination was discovered as a result of a throw-away remark of a milkmaid, 'he won't get small pox because he has already had cow pox' (in 1770). So it may be-- just may be-- this Lisanti child's remarks could open new vistas---?

  4. I agree it is a sensationalist newspaper article-however if the concept is proven to work in vivo as some studies seem to have shown it will be a great day for cancer patients. The research paper or the link to it which was accidentally omitted will be posted- Rohini Ana

  5. I think this is very interesting and one has to keep an open mind. We'll have to wait a bit longer to see if there will be any clinical trials. Since the newer therapies are designed to target the cancer cells at a molecular level, and some of these antibiotics do the same thing to microorganisms, it certainly makes sense. It will be wonderful if cancer patients don't have to suffer the horrible side effects of chemotherapy. Thank you Rohini for this contribution. Srianee (Bunter)

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