Biochemist Nick Lane

The biochemist Nick Lane raises a lot of interesting points in this interview with Quanta magazine:

Here is my favorite passage:

This ties into some of your ideas about cancer. Since the 1970s, most of the biomedical establishment working to cure and prevent cancers has focused on oncogenes. Yet you argue that cancer isn’t a genomic disease so much as a metabolic one. Can you explain why?

“About 10 years ago, the cancer community was amazed by the discovery that in some cancers, mutations can lead to parts of the Krebs cycle running backward. It came as quite a shock because the Krebs cycle is usually taught as only spinning forward to generate energy. But it turns out that while a cancer cell does need energy, what it really needs even more is carbon-based building blocks for growth. So the whole field of oncology began to see this reversal of the Krebs cycle as a kind of metabolic rewiring that helps cancer cells grow.

This discovery also caused a reinterpretation of the fact that cancer cells grow primarily by what’s called aerobic glycolysis. In effect, cancer cells switch from burning oxygen in their mitochondria for respiration to fermenting for energy like yeast cells, even in the presence of oxygen. When Otto Warburg reported this nearly 100 years ago, he focused on the energy side. But the cancer community now sees this change is about growth. By switching to aerobic glycolysis for energy, cancer cells free up their mitochondria for other purposes. Cancer cells have biosynthetic mitochondria for making the building blocks of life.”

Now let’s take what Nick Lane is saying about the macro world and apply it to the subatomic world of spin, using light itself as our frame of reference. Beneath the speed of light, light has speed. At the speed of light, light has no speed. Above the speed of light, light has “reverse speed.”

When I am spinning left–>right and the basal cells in my shoulder are spinning right–>left, I have cancer. When I am spinning left–>right and the H. pylori in my gut are spinning right–>left, I have an H. pylori “infection,” and possibly an ulcer. When I am spinning left–>right and the DNA in my womb is spinning right–>left, I am pregnant. But the infant will likely need some vitamin K1 at birth, to help her change directions.

We should not read the images our brains are creating without considering what the background is doing. Are we seeing true light—a “true green”—or yellow through a blue lens? Or blue through a yellow lens?


Let’s end with another quote from the Nick Lane piece in Quanta:

The Vital Question, where he [Lane] wrote, “Carbon and energy metabolism are driven by proton gradients, exactly what the [electrochemical] vents provided for free.” He describes the idea in more detail for the general public in his latest book, Transformer: The Deep Chemistry of Life and Death. In his view, metabolism is central to life, and genetic information emerges naturally from it rather than the other way around. Lane believes that the implications of this reversal touch almost every big mystery in biology, including the nature of cancer and aging.

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