A history of cancer research that advocates for understanding the disease through a metabolic rather than genetic lens.
In this debut health book, Christofferson draws on noted scientific histories, published papers and his own interviews with individuals involved in cancer research to present an argument in favor of treating cancer through understanding the role of cellular metabolism. While acknowledging that the metabolic theory of cancer has been rejected by the scientific establishment for most of its century of existence, the book presents a convincing argument for taking a new look at the work of scientific renegades whose work suggests that a combination of diet modifications and drugs may be a far more effective treatment than genetic treatment, and far less expensive. The tone is evenhanded, from a history of the evolution of cancer treatment to a description of 3BMP, a treatment with high potential that has not yet received approval for human trials. Personality conflicts and corporate financial interests both appear among the challenges that have kept the metabolic theory out of favor, but Christofferson largely refrains from editorializing, with lapses that demonstrate a touch of naïveté: “The continuum of science has little room for ego.” The fast-paced, journalistic writing makes even the more technical sections easy to follow, though the metaphors that drive much of the prose can be overdone: Scientific progress “is a torch carried by human beings, it lurches, stumbles, wanders into dead ends, and then finds its way back out”; cancer “is the Bobby Fischer, the George Patton, the Mozart, the Houdini, and the Einstein of maladies.” An appendix explains the diet modifications involved in the metabolic treatment of cancer, with a sample meal plan contributed by a nutritionist. While the book doesn’t remove all doubts about the validity of mainstream science’s understanding of cancer, it does raise useful questions and points to specific research that could provide definitive answers and effective management of the disease.
A well-written account of a nonstandard but plausible theory of oncology.