November 26, 2018


#30 – Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D.: Controversial discussion—cancer as a mitochondrial metabolic disease?

“The standard of care should never have been written in granite. It should be flexible. If you have something else that comes along that might be better, you'd think there would be enthusiasm.” —Tom Seyfried

Read Time 38 minutes

In this episode, Thomas Seyfried, a cancer researcher and professor of biology at Boston College, discusses a controversial view of cancer as a mitochondrial metabolic disease. Many topics related to the causes, treatments, and prevention of cancer are covered in this in-depth conversation.


We discuss:

  • How Tom got interested in cancer research [9:00];
  • Calorie-restricted ketogenic diets, fasting, and epileptic seizures [18:30];
  • Otto Warburg and the Warburg effect [30:45];
  • Germline mutations, somatic mutations, and no mutations [42:00];
  • Mitochondrial substrate level phosphorylation: Warburg’s missing link [51:30];
  • What is the structural defect in the mitochondria in cancer? [1:02:00];
  • Peter’s near-death experience with the insulin suppression test while in ketosis [1:06:30];
  • Insulin potentiation therapy and glutamine inhibition [1:13:15];
  • The macrophage fusion-hybrid theory of metastasis [1:39:30];
  • How are cancer cells growth dysregulated without a mutation? [1:47:00];
  • What is the dream clinical trial to test the hypothesis that we can reduce the death rates of cancer by 50%? [2:03:15];
  • How can the hypothesis be tested rigorously that structural abnormalities in the mitochondria impair respiration and lead to compensatory fermentation? [2:26:30];
  • Case studies of GBM survivors [2:32:45]; and
  • More.


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Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D.

Thomas N. Seyfried received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1976. He did his undergraduate work at the University of New England, where he recently received the distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. He also holds a Master’s degree in Genetics from Illinois State University. Thomas Seyfried served with distinction in the United States Army’s First Cavalry Division during the Vietnam War and received numerous medals and commendations. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Neurology at the Yale University School of Medicine and then served on the faculty as an Assistant Professor in Neurology.

Other awards and honors have come from such diverse organizations as the American Oil Chemists Society, the National Institutes of Health, The American Society for Neurochemistry, the Ketogenic Diet Special Interest Group of the American Epilepsy Society, the Academy of Comprehensive and Complementary Medicine, and the American College of Nutrition.

Dr. Seyfried previously served as Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee for the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association and presently serves on several editorial boards, including those for Nutrition & Metabolism, Neurochemical Research, the Journal of Lipid Research, and ASN Neuro, where he is a Senior Editor.

Dr. Seyfried has over 150 peer-reviewed publications and is the author of the book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer (Wiley, 1st ed., 2012). []

Tom’s website: Thomas Seyfried

Tom on Twitter: @tnseyfried

Thomas SeyfriedBiology Departmentscience

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  1. Thomas Seyfried = Ignaz Semmelweis. In 1846, Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that washing your hands before delivering a baby decreased the chances of the mother dying. Doctors disregarded him thinking that “they,” in their high nobility, could not have been the reason why the mother mortality rate was so high. Countless lives could have been saved if doctors were open-minded, but instead, their cognitive dissonance continues today. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

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