Sensational New Theory Of How Cancer Lives And Grows

Did Otto Warburg get it all wrong? This new theory overturns everything we thought we knew about the biology of cancer.

In the 1930s, Nobel Laureate Otto Warburg suggested that cancer cells produce the bulk of their energy by breaking down glucose in the absence of oxygen, a process called glycolysis. The Warburg effect, as it is called, is now widely accepted in orthodox cancer research.

But it’s WRONG, according to Michael Lisanti MD at the Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has a completely different model, which puts a whole new light on how cancer cells feed and grow.

Cancer, as we all know, is made up of rogue cells, where the DNA has gone frighteningly wrong and lets cells off the leash of restraint. They multiply out of control and often cannot be stopped: the immune system works hard against them but with certain cancers, they grow too fast, even for a competent immune system.

The missing part of the mechanism says Dr. Lisanti, with good evidence to back up his new theory, is that cancer cells release a lot of hydrogen peroxide, which hammers nearby support cells in the tissues called fibroblasts. These decay and lose their vital mitochondria.

Without their mitochondria, fibroblasts cannot now metabolize properly using oxygen. They switch to glycolysis, which we thought was being used by cancer cells. Not so, says Lisanti. According to him, “It’s the Warburg effect, but in the wrong place.” Lisanti calls is the Reverse Warburg Effect. He believes the reason Warburg got it wrong is because he looked at cancer cells in isolation, rather than in co-culture with fibroblasts.

So Warburg wasn’t exactly wrong but this new idea takes things forwards several paces. It’s a revolution, if true. But is it?

Surprisingly, there is an astonishing amount of evidence to suggest that it is.

The wound that doesn’t heal

This form of “metabolic coupling” is already known to exist and mirrors the way in which the epithelial cells that make up the skin and the surface of the body’s organs produce hydrogen peroxide during wound healing. In doing so they rally immune cells to repair the damage – but in cancer the signal is never turned off. Cancer is “a wound that doesn’t heal”, because it keeps on producing hydrogen peroxide.

When Lisanti and his team cultured breast cancer cells alongside fibroblasts for five days, they spotted the cancer cells releasing hydrogen peroxide on day two. By day five, most free radicals generated by the hydrogen peroxide were found inside the fibroblasts (Cell Cycle, DOI: 10.4161/cc.9.16.12553).

Also, the team found a reduction in mitochondrial activity in fibroblasts, consistent with the cells self-destructing. There was also an increase in glucose uptake by the fibroblasts – a sign of glycolysis (Cell Cycle, DOI: 10.4161/cc.10.15.16585).

In a further experiment, they found that treating cancer cells with catalase, an enzyme that destroys hydrogen peroxide, triggered a five-fold increase in cancer cell death, possibly by preserving the fibroblasts and cutting off the cancer cells’ fuel supply.

The theory looks pretty solid.

Why chemotherapy is a bad option

This new theory would explain why chemo often makes things worse.

Lisanti makes the point that his own father was saved from colon cancer by timely and effective chemo (yes, it does happen). But he admits it’s a fine line between success and damaging the body. If by chance the chemo is too much, it may be damaging fibroblasts.

That would HELP the cancer cells, by feeding them with more “victims”. In certain circumstances, chemo or radiation therapy could be adding to the problem (as well as hurting the patient).

It would also reinforce my frequently voiced objection, that at least 50% of a tumor consists of healthy cells (my book “Cancer Research Secrets”, page 15). So gauging the success of a treatment by tumor shrinkage is very foolish indeed; it might just be killing the good guys and not the bad guys. Yet that’s what orthodoxy does and is the “required” proof of effectiveness for a drug to be officially approved.

Any other evidence?

Can we look around and find any similar mechanisms? You bet!

For example, malaria is another disease in which local tissue cells get damaged, giving the malaria parasite a free banquet. Oxidative stress kills infected cells, which then auto-digest and release food for the malaria parasite.

Chloroquine, one of the principal antimalarials for decades, has the effect of blocking this self-digestion process and may turn out to be a key anti-cancer agent.

Drugs that inhibit the ability of mitochondria to burn lactate and other products of glycolysis may also serve to cut off the tumor’s food supply. One such drug is metformin, widely prescribed to treat diabetes.

And guess what? Several recent studies have suggested that people taking metformin have a reduced risk of developing cancer! (Gastroenterology, DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2009.04.013).

New cancer marker?

Lisanti is now gathering evidence to find out whether his ideas can be applied to many cancers or just a few. His theory gives us what may become a valuable new marker for cancer (most of the existing ones are pretty unreliable).

A special protein is secreted by healthy fibroblast cells and, as they stop producing it when killed or even damaged, a lowering would suggest that destructive auto-digestion going on. It’s called caveolin-1. Lisanti has recorded a drop in caveolin-1 levels in 40 to 50 per cent of patients with breast cancer, and loss of the protein correlates with early tumor recurrence, metastasis, and resistance to the drug, tamoxifen (Breast Cancer Research, DOI: 10.1186/bcr2892).

He also has evidence for caveolin-1 loss in prostate cancer. So with this particular marker, a drop is a negative finding but could still be valid.


What is happening, in this new model, is that cancer cells form a parasitic relationship with nearby fibroblasts.

This changes EVERYTHING! Orthodox medicine has been obsessed with killing cancer cells.

A whole new take on this would be to block cancer cells from killing local cells, such as fibroblasts.

Antioxidants are supposed to just that. Surprisingly, the effect of taking everyday antioxidants is disappointing. But there is a measurable effect, as shown by a number of studies, which would certainly be predicted by this new theory.

Most chemotherapies work by generating lethal doses of free radicals to kill the cancer cells and this would cancel out the effects of any antioxidant treatments. That may be why the studied effects don’t show too strongly. I agree with Lisanti, who believes we need trials of antioxidants alone, rather than in combination with chemotherapy.

A great new direction to go in treatment would be to block the signaling between cancer cells and fibroblasts, which will stymie the nutrition process and starve cancer cells into submission.

It’s great to see orthodoxy taking an interest in the micro-environment surrounding disease tissues. But, as I keep pointing out (to the annoyance of “holistic” bigots!), there are some great people out there, pushing in towards the truth, with far more resources than we alternative practitioners could muster.

Any doubts?

There are always naysayers. But in this case there are sensible objections. They don’t prove Lisanti’s theory is wrong, merely that it needs serious working up.

For example, it has been suggested by Dr. Ian Hart of Barts Cancer Institute in London, that if fibroblasts are sacrificing themselves so that the cancer can eat, sooner or later they are going to be completely depleted. And that doesn’t happen.

I don’t quite agree with Hart. Cells can replace themselves, after all, either by dividing or maybe from pluripotent stem cells. Hart says more evidence is needed to confirm this is happening.

But also, it may be objected, many previous studies have found increased glycolysis actually in cancer cells. Maybe that could be explained by the strongly symbiotic relationship that clearly develops between cancer cells and fibroblasts.

What about the future of cancer treatment?

If proven correct, this new theory would change everything about eradicating cancer. Instead of trying to kill cancer cells, which is tricky and dangerous, we should be trying to protect and support local fibroblasts.

So good nutrition would be predicted to help – and it does!

The use of oxygen therapies would be predicted to help – and they do.

Anti-oxidants are crucial (they block the effect of hydrogen peroxide) – and they are.

Learn hundreds more major research secrets in cancer treatment—get my book:

In conclusion

If Lisanti is correct, his ideas would explain why people become more susceptible to cancer as they age. As we age, our body produces more hydrogen peroxide and free radicals and becomes a fertile ground for cancer.

More than 100 years ago, Steven Paget proposed that cancer cells are seeds that need the correct micro-environment in which to grow. “What we’re now saying is that the hydrogen peroxide is the fertiliser,” says Lisanti.

[Lisanti presented the idea earlier this month at the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence meeting in Cambridge, UK].

Once again, that link to purchase Cancer Research Secrets, if you don’t already have it:

Thanks for reading and I hope you found it interesting, even if you are not battling cancer.

This article caused a certain amount of confusion, because of the complexity of hydrogen peroxide function. You might want to go on and read my explanation of that: hydrogen peroxide action


cancer research secrets book


  1. Dear Prof.,
    I appologize for using this comment option for something different. I am trying to find any helpful info on suppressing/curing herpes type 1 virus. That become so important to me, so important, life really played a ‘good’ one on me this time. Not much info out there that is why I am reaching out. Would hydrogen peroxide be helpful? Are there more therapies that might work? You have no idea how grateful I would be to get any information.

    • Try finding someone expiermenting with a frequency generator ( some call it a rife machine) with a 0-25mhz capability. EMR Labs has a nice one. Look up rife technology, you’ll be amazed to find out whats possible. The use of them has increased about 100 fold in the last 5 years and expiermenters are seeing outstanding results with viruses like Herpes, Aids Etc.and also bacterias like Borriela burgdorferi also Known as Lyme Disease. If you get a chance, listen to the web cast between the good doctor (Dr. Keith) and Joshua Parker. Best of luck.

    • There is another very promising therapy which I read about in around last August called Gene Programming of “T” Killer Cells. I believe that this therapy was initally being used and most likely developed at the Univerisy of Pennsylvania by Prof Carl June who is professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Abramson Cancer Center at U Penn. Basically, they removed some of the patient’s own “T” Killer cells that apparantly are produced by the bone marrow and released into the blood stream. Then they somehow genetically programmed the patient’s T cells to recognize markers that are produced by cancerous white blood cells in a disease called chronic lymphocytic leucemia or CLL. They also programmed the patient’s T cells to multipy very rapidly after finding each cancerous white cell so that the T cells’ population overcome the population of cancerious cells within it’s vicinity. The results so far has shown that 100% of the patients treated with this T cell gene therapy have gone into full remision after about 30 days of this treatment! They are now attempting this procedure on other types of cancers. Since our own “T” killer cells appear quite appropriate to be used in blood cancers since these type of cells are mobile, and are released normally into the blood stream, I’m hesitant whether these type of cells will be as effective as say fibroblast cells. I would assume since white blood cells can escape the blood stream to nearby tissues in order to deal with enemy invadors, they still may be appropriate to be used as well in other types of cancers as well since T cells can infuse themselves deep into neigboring tissues. I’m wondering also if a type of gene transfer can go on between the genetically modified migrating T-cells and fibrablasts which are within the local vacinity of multiplying cancer cells. Anyway, since you wondered about any other promising therapies, I thought this therapy might proove to be very promising to many or perhaps to all cancers.

  2. I have been reading where food grade hydrogen peroxide is a cure for what ever
    sickness that comes down the pike, such as diabetes, cancer, infections etc. There
    are a few that swear by it J. Wright to name one.

  3. I am thrilled someone is trying to distroy this fearsome enimy of human flesh
    What ever cancer and whoevre it is in wharever it resides it is a force to be recond with. What is being done now is not working! That is plain and clear to all who has lost a loved one, people are still dieing from this disease that has been in the limelight for hundreds of years. Isn’t it about time some one woke up and said enough!
    If it is for the money Doctors and scientests are craving I am sure if Hell could talk
    it would say it is not worth it…

  4. After reading the articles, it still wasn’t clear to me whether all cancer cells derive their energy from glycolysis only. Can you be more specific and tell me if all cancer cells are anaerobes or can they go either way like facultative anaerobes? I assume that if cancer cells can adapt to being aerobes, then I guess that oxygen would not be an ideal “poisonous” reagent to cancer cells. Also, is just the mitochodrial DNA in cancer cells affected only or can it’s nuclear DNA be affected as well? I also read somewhere that the mitochondria are completely destroyed in cancer cells which leads me to believe that only mitochodrial DNA is only affected or is that assumption incorrect? I would also have to assume that no matter what the life form is, all life forms require ATP to live whether they require oxygen or not, one would need to block the formation of ATP to kill them. Is that statement also correct? Thank you.

  5. How does one send a vital message in a small space? To cut to the quick I will simply state that antioxidants are amazing and yet inadequate. They work on a 1:1 ratio. Eating fifteen pounds of blueberries every day would be daunting. Rather, wake up your survival genes and let your own enzymes do the work of scavanging those free radicals. Protandim is a Nrf2 activator, waking up your DNA and letting your amazing self do what it wants to do by reducing free radical damage with your own catalase, glutathione, SOD, etc. Dr. Joe McCord, discoverer of SOD, invented Protandim. Read the peer reviewed published studies at: There are 4 U.S. patents and more independently funded studies yet to come. For more information visit:, or email me at

    Debbie Foote RN

  6. I do not see a direct answer to the ? does “The One Minute Cure” feed cancer.
    My husband and I have been taking the treatment for some time. He has a nodule on his prostate as well as BPH; please answer “yes” or “no.”

    • The answer is way back JoAnne,
      Peroxide as used by our white cells and by the cancer cells is very short range – just a few microns then, gone, pffft!
      Peroxide by mouth is just another way of raising oxygen levels. That’s different.

  7. Warburg Theory of Cancer and Ferromagnetic Theory of Cancer. Warburg’s theory that cancer starts from irreversible injury to cellular respiration eventually fell out of favor amid research pointing to genomic mutations as the cause of uncontrolled cell growth. Ferromagnetic Theory-2006 of Cancer (Iron Conception) [clinical and molecular biological aspects]: 1) Any human cell is a society of dia-, para-, superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles. 2) Any onco-pathology and ALS work by intracellular superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles. Intracellular molecules FeO;Fe2O3;Fe3O4 ‘create’ intracellular superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles. These nanoparticles are able chaotically distort DNA / shift chromosomes by local magnetic fields. 3) Non-complicated anti-iron methods of the Old Testament can beat Cancer and ALS (intracellular superpara-ferri-ferromagnetic infections). Cancer patients-2012 must receive anti-cancer anti-iron intratumoral injections [sulfur (2%) + olive oil (98%)] by ceramic needles. These intratumoral injections will initiate harmless infiltrations (deposits of cells that die; harmless necroses). Accurate anti-iron slow blood loss (even 75%) [hemoglobin control] and anti-iron goat’s milk diet will neutralize any micro-metastases ; ; ; Vadim Shapoval

  8. Otto Warburg invented wrong theory. Modern Cancer- and ALS-researchers invent wrong theories. Ferromagnetic Theory of Cancer and Ferromagnetic Theory of ALS will eat wrong theories. All forms of ALS are caused by intraneuronal superpara-ferri-ferromagnetic infection. All forms of Cancer are caused by intracellular superpara-ferri-ferromagnetic infection. Any somatic cell (any neuron) should be interpreted as a society of dia-, para-, superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles. Like all cells, somatic cells contain DNA arranged in chromosomes. Neurons have the same organelles as other cells. Normal motor neurons are neurons with non-numerous superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles (‘inclusions’). Degenerative motor neurons are neurons with numerous superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles. Intraneuronal molecules FeO;Fe2O3;Fe3O4 are the main ‘creators’ of intraneuronal superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles that can chaotically distort DNA and shift chromosomes (by local magnetic fields). ALS researchers can suppress ALS (an iron neurodegenerative illness that paralyzes ALS patients) by non-complicated anti-iron methods of The Old Testament. Anti-iron accurate slow blood loss (even 75%) [hemoglobin control], anti-iron goat’s milk diet and anti-iron drinking water containing hydrogen sulfide can gradually neutralize intraneuronal superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles. Ferromagnetic Theory of ALS will beat ALS. Ferromagnetic Theory of Cancer will beat Cancer ; ; Alternative-Doctor & Vadim Shapoval

    • Vadim, you have to stop doing these very lengthy “comments” on my sites. They are really propaganda, not comments.

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