Although viruses and bacteria grab more attention, fungi are the planet's biggest killers. Of all the pathogens being tracked, fungi have caused more than 70% of the recorded global and regional extinctions, and now threaten amphibians, bats and bees. The Irish potato famine in the 1840s showed just how devastating such pathogens can be. Phytophthora infestans (an organism similar to and often grouped with fungi) wiped out as much as three-quarters of the potato crop in Ireland and led to the death of one million people.
Researchers estimate that there are 1.5-5 million species of fungi in the world, but only 100,000 have been identified. Reports of new types of fungal infection in plants and animals have risen nearly tenfold since 1995.
Fungi are dreadful enemies. During their life cycle fungi depend on other living beings, which must be exploited to different degrees for their feeding. Fungi can develop from the hyphae, the more or less beak-shaped specialized structures that allow the penetration of the host. The shape of a fungus is never defined; it is imposed by the environment in which the fungus develops. Fungi are capable of implementing an infinite number of modifications to their own metabolism in order to overcome the defense mechanism of the host. These modifications are implemented through plasmatic and biochemical actions as well as by a volumetric increase (hypertrophy) and numerical hyperplasia of the cells that have been attacked.
In 1999, Meinolf Karthaus, MD watched three different children with leukemia suddenly go into remission upon receiving a triple antifungal drug cocktail for their "secondary" fungal infections.
"Fungal infections can not only be extremely contagious, but they also go hand in hand with leukemia - every oncologist knows this. And these infections are devastating: once a child who has become a bone marrow transplant recipient gets a "secondary" fungal infection, his chances of living, despite all the antifungals in the world, are only 20%, at best," writes Dr. David Holland.
Doug A. Kaufman wrote:
The day I wrote this, a young lady phoned into my syndicated radio talk show. Her three-year-old daughter was diagnosed last year with leukemia. She believes antifungal drugs and natural immune system therapy has been responsible for saving her daughter's life. She is now telling others with cancer about her daughter's case. After hearing her story, a friend of hers with bone cancer asked her doctor for a prescriptive antifungal drug. To her delight, this medication, meant to eradicate fungus, was also eradicating her cancer. She dared not share this with her physician, telling him only that the antifungal medication was for a "yeast" infection. When she could no longer get the antifungal medication, the cancer immediately grew back. Her physician contended that a few antifungal pills surely should have cured her yeast infection. It is my contention, however, that the reason this medication worked was because she did have a yeast infection not a vaginal infection for which this medication was prescribed; a fungal infection of the bone that may have been mimicking bone cancer.A medical textbook used to educate Johns Hopkins medical students in 1957, Clinical and Immunologic Aspects of Fungous Diseases, declared that many fungal conditions look exactly like cancer! -- Doug A. Kaufmann The Germ That Causes Cancer
Many cancer patients find the true fungal link to their cancer only to succumb to heart disease or immune deficiency caused by traditional cancer treatment. If this case were an isolated event, it might be referred to as "coincidental." I have been able to plead with doctors of advanced cancer patients to at least try antifungal drugs for their patients. Afterwards, simply amazing reports have come forth. Several of these have been published in The Germ That Causes Cancer.
According to the Mayo Clinic, cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. This is a fact that does not depend on the various theories. The theorizing begins when we run down the usual path thinking that cancer begins with damage (mutations) in our DNA. Our DNA is like a set of instructions for our cells, telling them how to grow and divide. Normal cells often develop mutations in their DNA, but they have the ability to repair most of these mutations. Or, if they can't make the repairs, the cells frequently die. However, certain mutations aren't repaired, causing the cells to grow and become cancerous... or so the story goes. Looking at the above definition we would be perfectly correct to say that yeasts and fungi are, in human terms, abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue.
A new study, published in December 2012 in Science, could explain why almost none of the new generation of "personalized" cancer drugs is a true cure, and suggests that drugs based on genetics alone will never achieve that holy grail. Scientists found that despite having identical genetic mutations, colorectal cancer cells behaved as differently as if they were genetic strangers. The findings challenge the prevailing view that genes determine how individual cells in a solid tumor behave, including how they respond to chemotherapy and how actively they propagate. The study suggests DNA is not the sole driver of tumors' behavior.
"What our data are saying is, there are other biological properties that matter. Gene sequencing of tumors is definitely not the whole story when it comes to identifying which therapies will work. Our findings raise questions about the resources put into sequence, sequence, sequence," said John Dick, molecular geneticist of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, who led the study. "That has led to one kind of therapeutic - molecularly-targeted drugs - but not the cures the public is being promised."
This information takes the search for the true causes of cancer down a totally different path than it has been on. It opens the doors for looking at a fungal cause of cancer and perhaps will re-focus our cancer researchers on something other than DNA "chatter" (as Dr. Tullio Simoncini termed it) and toward a real cause that can be targeted with simpler remedies like the anti-fungal sodium bicarbonate and iodine.
Anyone who denies the link between cancer and fungi are fooling themselves. Oncologists are well aware of the late-stage infections that routinely accompany advanced cancers. Oncologists are also aware that infections are the cause of a good percentage of cancers, ranging somewhere between 20 and 40 percent.
The idea that a proposed cancer germ could have more than one form is a threat to doctors and some microbiologists. Indeed the cancer germ has been described as having a virus-like and fungus-like as well as a mycoplasma-like phase. -- Dr. Alan Cantwell The Cancer Microbe
Fungi are heterotrophs, meaning that they secrete digestive enzymes and absorb the resulting soluble nutrients from whatever they are growing on.
A new area of research being driven by Dundee University in Scotland is revealing remarkable abilities of fungi to interact with minerals and metals. Led by Professor Geoffrey Gadd in the College of Life Sciences, the research explores the unique taste that fungi seems to have for rock and heavy metal. Yeasts, moulds and mushrooms are all fungi and there are an estimated 1.5 million different species in the biosphere. By breaking down dead organic material, they continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems, and most plants could not grow without the symbiotic fungi that inhabit their roots and supply essential nutrients.
Fungi will also live almost anywhere. They have been found growing in the harshest of environments, in the desert and in polar regions, in the sea and on rocks. "The fact that fungi interact with heavy metals has potentially important consequences for human activity. Fungi also play a significant, if often overlooked, role in the degradation of rocks and stone - including building materials," Professor Gadd said. "Despite this, their role as agents of environmental change has not been fully appreciated."
 Enlargement of a part due to an abnormal numerical increase of its cells.
 Dr. David Holland wrote that in 1999 Dr. Meinolf Karthaus watched three different children with leukemia suddenly go into remission upon receiving a triple antifungal drug cocktail for their "secondary" fungal infections. Pre-dating that, Mark Bielski stated back in 1997 that leukemia, whether acute or chronic, is intimately associated with the yeast, Candida albicans. Dr. J. Walter Wilson, in his textbook of clinical mycology a half a century ago said that "it has been established that histoplasmosis and such reticuloendothelioses as leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, lymphosarcoma, and sarcoidosis are found to be coexistent much more frequently than is statistically justifiable on the basis of coincidence." Histoplasmosis is what we call an "endemic" fungal infection. The late Dr. Milton White believed that cancer is a "chronic, intracellular, infectious, biologically induced spore (fungus) transformation disease."
 Charting the Path from Infection to Cancer; NCI Cancer Bulletin, Sept. 22, 2009;
 Infectious causes of colorectal cancer.Hasan N, Pollack A, Cho I. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2010 Dec;24(4):1019-39, x. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2010.07.009.