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Gene Therapy

Cigarette Smoking alters Epigenetics

1 year, 8 months ago

7834  0
Posted on Oct 20, 2017, 6 a.m.

Factors that modify the gene without changing it's basic "digital" code

As if anyone on the planet needed more reason to stop smoking, scientists at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins have found that smoking may modify the epigenetics of your DNA that may affect both your life and that of your offspring.

A quick definition of “Epigenetics.” They are factors that modify the Gene without changing its basic “digital” code. They are basically anything that comes from outside the body, attach to the DNA, and change its behavior. Sometimes they modify the gene so much as to affect one or more following generations. Bad behavior leads to bad outcomes, increased disease and shorter life.

Needless to say, there’s a laundry list of deadly effects from smoking which can harm literally every system and organ in your body; the most prominent problems being: heart and lung disease, vascular disorders, cancer, stroke, infertility, compromised immune system, and diabetic neuropathy.

For some reason, some of the population just doesn’t get (or refuses to accept) that cigarettes contain over 700 different chemicals, most of them deadly. The team at Johns Hopkins used human lung cells to determine that smoke from cigarettes actually changes the epigenetic makeup of DNA, thereby paving the road to lung cancer. Unfortunately, smoking is responsible for death in about 50% of the people who don’t quit.

Unfortunately, second hand smoke affects children and their DNA as well, increasing their risk for the same malevolent disorders of cancer, lung disease and cancer, as well as other childhood epigenetic disorders. Adults risk an additional 30% chance of contracting cardio vascular disease, stroke, and lung cancer, just form second hand smoke.

Most men are unaware that cigarettes can cause ED and poor sperm quality and motility thereby predisposing their children to birth-defects or even mis-carriage. University of Washington associate professor Narendra Singh recites that there is about 5% DNA damage to male smokers’ sperm at age 25. At age 35 that number jumps to 20%. Chances of conception drops on its own at that age; smoking simple adds to decreased chances.

Females who smoke during pregnancy, create an even greater risk for fetal harm; stillbirth, low birth weight, premature birth, learning and behavioral disability, increased risk of disease such as asthma. It can also increase sudden infant death syndrome by 2 to 3 times normal.

Johns Hopkins scientists started their study by growing lung cells and exposing them to concentrated liquid cigarette smoke equivalent to smoking one or two packs a day. Over the next three months, they explored both genetic and epigenetic differences of exposed cells compared to unexposed lung cells. The researchers found 2-4 times the normal level of the EXH2 enzyme which damages or dampens genetic expression. If the genes that prevent cancer were dampened it could allow cancer to flourish. Within the first year to 15 months, the researchers found hundreds of genes had been affected, including those which suppress cancer. The evidence clearly demonstrates that cigarette smoke causes cancer by epigenetically changing the way genes function.

The Cancer Genome Atlas group studied smokers that quit for at least 10 years and found that they were less prone to cancer than people who did not quit. They estimate that about 1.3 million people quit every year. In fact, if one quits smoking before 40 years old their chance of dying early from smoking is reduced by 90%. Even after one-year heart disease is reduced by 50%.

Vaz, M. et al. (2017). Chronic Cigarette Smoke-Induced Epigenomic Changes Precede Sensitization of Bronchial Epithelial Cells to Single-Step Transformation by KRAS Mutations. Cancer Cell, 32(3):360.

 Johns Hopkins Medicine. ‘Epigenetic’ Changes From Cigarette Smoke May be First Step in Lung Cancer Development. News and Publications. 11 Sep 2017

September 26, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick News & Reviews


By: Dr. Michael J. Koch, Editor for and Dr. Ronald Klatz, DO, MD President of the A4M which has 28,000 Physician Members, and has trained over 150,000 physicians, health professionals and scientists around the world in the new specialty of Anti-Aging Medicine. A4M physicians are now providing advanced preventative medical care for over 10’s of Million individuals worldwide who now recognize that aging is no longer inevitable.

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