Corrado Spadafora: Does The Weismann Barrier Really Exist?


Corrado Spadafora‘s work 20 some years ago on the organization of chromatin in sperm cells revealed that “sperm cells can behave as vectors of foreign genetic information to embryos at fertilization.” This led to his current investigation of embryos and cancer. Spadafora, a biomedical research scientist at Rome’s Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italian National Institute of Health) says findings from his experiments have “profound implications” for non-Mendalian inheritance of characters from one generation to the next. Our interview follows.

Suzan Mazur: Is biotechnology’s approach to targeting disease currently based on wrong thinking?

Corrado Spadafora: It is possibly an insufficient strategy altogether. My current experience is with anti-cancer drugs. . . . Most anti-cancer drugs target the last ring of an assembly line, usually specific substrates that play important specific roles in particular tumor types. . . [H]undreds of drugs have been developed, each of which is directed against a specific tumor variant, usually with time-limited efficacy and with unbearable costs for most health systems in Western countries.

The question is: Why should so many compounds be necessary when all tumors share similar features, namely uncontrolled proliferation, low differentiation level and invasivity? Suggesting that the genesis of cancer has fewer causes.

The focus should be targeting fewer parameters shared by a large number of cancers rather than developing a specific drug for every single cancer type. . . . Go to the very origin of the tumor lesion and reduce the number of drugs because the causes are not myriad — they are few.

Furthermore, basic science can’t be dismissed, and there are basic questions that still need answers. You can’t just develop a drug because it kills cells. Instead, it is necessary —> Read More