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Hello and Welcome: Part 2

Posted on August 22nd, 2010 by Stephen Hardy | 5 Comments | Print | RSS

In our first post we talked about why we started Promoting Good Health, what we wanted the website to stand for and what we wanted it to do for you. We also introduced you to one of the principles of Promoting Good Health: Professor Alf Poulos. In this post, we introduce you to the other: Dr. Stephen Hardy.

A personal message from Stephen:

I went to university because I wanted to cure cancer. I started my career looking at what caused potentially cancerous cells to switch on and grow. While I learnt much, I couldn’t find a way of making my research practical for those with cancer. The problem was the timing. A cancer has typically been growing for between 2 and 9 years before symptoms appear and the Doctors become aware of it. By then, the rules have changed. The only way my research was going to be useful for people with cancer was if I could come up with a drug that went backwards in time, to stop the cancer from developing in the first place. It was the biological equivalent of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. By the time people had cancer it was too late for a clinical treatment based on stopping the cancer from getting started. So I went from wanting to cure cancer to learning everything I could about how to prevent potentially cancerous cells from getting out of control in the first place, as that was the only way to tackle cancer that made any sense to me. I wasn’t alone. About that time (the early 1980’s), other researchers were proposing that around 80 % of cancers were preventable, with 35 % being related to diet and the rest being due to attitude and lifestyle factors. I’ve seen nothing since to suggest these estimates need changing.

The quest to discover how to prevent cancer took me in surprising directions. I went to university because I wanted to defeat a rogue cell called cancer. But despite all my research I was left with more questions than answers. What made the cell go rogue? Where did the signal to go rogue come from? Did the signal come from the cell itself or from outside? Why did the surrounding cells allow it to go rogue? Does the environment trigger or encourage the cell to go rogue? How does the body spot rogue cells and what does it do about them? Read the rest of this entry »