This week in the NEJM, September 17, 1998

SPHINX Technologies sphinx at
Thu Sep 24 01:00:21 EST 1998

In article <19980923182205.11771.00000866 at>,
AJKim0 <ajkim0 at> wrote:
>Case 1: A 15-year-old boy, diagnosed with stage IIA nodular, sclerosing
>Hodgkin's disease in April 1998.  Multiagent chemotherapy and low-dose
>irradiation to the involved field were recommended.  After lengthy discussion,
>the patient and the parents elected to use Matol Biomune OSF Plus (I haven't
>heard of this one.  According to the manufacturer, it's supposed to elevate
>natural killer cell activity).

I've never heard of this one, either.

>Case 2: A 9-year-old girl, diagnosed with a primitive neuroectodermal tumor of
>the right parietotemporal lobe in the brain.  She underwent a complete
>resection.  Since three-year survival rate after adjuvant therapy for this
>tumor is more than 50 percent, chemotherapy and radiotherapy were recommended
>after surgery.  The parents, however, opted to go with shark cartilage.  Four
>months later, marked tumor progression was documented, and the patient
>subsequently died.

Shark cartilage is known to contain a powerful anti-angiogenesis factor,
according to researchers at MIT's cancer research lab.  However, the
reports I've seen [1] say that dosages of 100 to 120 grams of powdered
shark cartilage are required with adult patients.  (All medications scale
with body size.)  Also, there are reports that some brands of shark
cartilage do not contain much actual shark cartilage.  The MIT researchers
(Dr. Robert Langer and his associates) have a way of testing these products.
[1] states that a product called Cartilade has been found to be made of
pure shark cartilage (no fillers or additives), so should be as effective
as the natural substance is going to be.

It may be that the parents of this unfortunate little girl picked a "bad"
product to stake her life on.  This illustrates the desirability of some
standards for "truth in labelling" for these products.

It may also be that they didn't get good advice on dosage.  This would
seem to argue in favor of more testing.  Unfortunately, the mainstream's
general attitude of trying to discredit these natural treatments instead
of encouraging full and accurate testing doesn't lend itself to dissemina-
tion of accurate information.

Finally, as an anti-angiogenesis agent, shark cartilage, or the "Cartilage-
Derived Inhibitor" which MIT's Langer believes is the main active ingredient,
is not a direct attack on the cancer, but an attack on one of its support
mechanisms.  For that reason, I would think it would be most effective if
used in conjuction with one or more other methods, whether "alternative"
or mainstream.  There are a number of candidate methods within the
"alternative" category that could have been used, as well as the standard
methods.  The fact that this little girl's parents chose to use shark
cartilage alone reflects a lack of good information on what natural
therapies are and are not good for.  That's a failure of the research
system for not making the information widely available, and for not
putting more money into pinning down the capabilities of these methods
individually and in combination.

>"Conventional cancer treatments are recommended only after formal scientific
>study of their safety, tolerability, and efficacy.  We refer to these therapies
>as 'evidence-based.'  This approach has resulted in important improvements in
>the outcome of childhood cancer, and we find it difficult to understand how
>conventional treatments for childhood cancer can be repudiated in favor of
>alternative approaches for which any evidence of efficacy is lacking.

This is, perhaps intentionally, misleading.  I also would find it difficult
to understand how conventional treatments for childhood cancer would be
repudiated in favor of alternative approaches for which "any evidence of
efficacy is lacking."  However, in the case of many alternative treatments,
evidence of efficacy is NOT lacking.  It is available in the form of
many patient records and case histories.  But mainstream medicine doesn't
seem to acknowledge the existence of this information.  And medical politics
and almost certainly the profit motive on the part of the drug business
have fought tooth and nail against getting good data on how well these 
methods work and how they can best be used into the public record.  So
people like that poor 9-year-old's parents, who don't like the idea of
subjecting their daughter to ionizing radiation beams or highly toxic
chemicals - so toxic that doses only slightly higher than used for cancer
treatment would be lethal - are left with basically guesswork about which
alternative treatments to use and how to use them.

I think the fault lies at least partly with the mainstream medical estab-
lishment and the Drug Lords.

It's not that alternative methods have been proven ineffective -- but rather 
that since they are not profitable as drugs, very little money has been put 
into researching them.  And that's the way things are likely to remain until
perhaps the Office of Alternative Medicine succeeds in documenting
the effectiveness of alternative treatments.  Or until dedicated medical
researchers find some way to free themselves from the tyranny of the
Drug Lords' thirst for profits.  I'm not knocking the Profit Motive per se,
but this is an area in which Government should step in and support health-
related research that is *NOT* being supported by for-profit companies
because their interests do not coincide entirely with those of the public.

Meanwhile I continue to urge anyone interested in the subject of alternative
cancer therapy to read Pelton & Overholser's book for a good, knowledgeable 
overview [1].

I was particularly incensed to read there that, in sharp contrast to what
I was always told, there *IS* a very major difference between normal cells
and cancer cells, of a sort that *CAN* be used to design a biochemical
attack on cancer cells that is NONTOXIC to normal cells, and this difference
is not only known, but was the subject of a Nobel Prize, awarded to one
Otto Warburg back in 1925.  And worse yet, at least two or three cancer
treatment methods based on it have been developed, and used with a fair
degree of success -- which I submit is all you can say for STANDARD cancer
therapy methods, either -- but these methods have been relegated to
"alternative" status.  Near as I can tell, this status is not deserved
because of their lack of efficacy, but stems primarily from the fact that
patentable drugs are not involved.  

Most of these methods use oxygen in some form to speed up cell metabolism 
for the normal cells, which then use up the avilable glucose supply and 
basically starve the cancer cells to death.  Next time you read a disparage-
ment of "oxygen therapy", keep in mind that it's based on a Nobel-Prize-
wining discovery, and is *NOT* quackery.  At worst it has languished without 
sufficient research money to optimize the protocol.  IMO it has the potential 
of working BETTER THAN any current conventional therapy, if only the medical 
community would get off their collective Duffs and do the work needed to 
optimize the method.  BTW, there appear to be variants of this idea at
work in other methods -- e.g. Gerson's method uses thyroid supplements, 
which ought to have the effect of speeding up the patient's metabolism.
And there's the relatively recently developed "Cone Cancer Treatment",
which exploits Warburg's metabolic difference with insulin injections,
apparently depressing glucose levels rather than speeding up glucose

If medical research would spend as much money optimizing this metabolic
therapy idea as they have searching for patentable drugs, we'd have had
a real, safe cure for cancer fifty or sixty years ago, IMO.

I've thrown in a few references on alternative cancer therapies
just for good measure.

-John Sangster


[1] Ross Pelton, R.Ph., Ph.D., and Lee Overholser, Ph.D., "Alternatives in
    Cancer Therapy", NY: Fireside/Simon&Schuster, 1994.  ISBN 0-671-79623-2.


Johanna Brandt: "The Grape Cure", Yonkers, NY: Ehret Literature Publish-
ing Co., Inc.  <no date listed> <no ISBN listed>.  This book may be
ordered from the publisher at (914) 479-0900. Cover price (1998): $3.95.
By mail: 425 Saw Mill River Road, Ardsley, NY.

PERMANENT REMISSIONS by Robert Haas, M.S., Pocket Books,
1997.  ISBN 0-671-00776-9

W. Lee Cowden, M.d,  Burton Goldberg, Future Medicine Publishing, Inc,
1997.  ISBN 1-887-29901-7.  is the site of the American College for Advancement in Medicine.
They offer info on alternative therapies & practioners across the world.  is the Office of Alternative Medicine.  is the site of Information on
Alternative Therapies in Cancer

You Can Prevent Breast Cancer! -----Harvey Diamond.

A Cancer Therapy Results of 50 Cases and The Cure of Advanced Cancer by
 Diet Therapy---Max Gerson.
Gerson Diet
Gerson Institute

The Kelly diet therapy.

Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill----Udo Urasmus
 Contains a clear but brief summary of Budwig's flax oil + protein regimen.
Dr Hoffer & orthomolecular medicine for cancer

One Patient's Recovery from Lymphoma by A. Hoffer, MD, PhD

Vitamins and Metabolites Against Cancer: Even more Good News Richard A.
 Passwater, Ph. D.

 Fighting breast cancer with nutrition

Nutrition for colon cancer story

Nutrition Science News

Enzymes & cancer
 Q10 & cancer

Orthomed Online & Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine

Flax Oil by Dr Budwig

Flax Oil and Cancer -A Tape Transcription by Clifford Beckwith

Links to Other Flaxseed Oil & Health Sites

Dr. Budwig and The Healing Power of Flaxseed (Commercial site)
 (NOTE: Barleans does have a good product, a better-tasting flax oil. -JHS)

Essential Fatty Acids for Kids Superimmunity

Flaxseed and the Immune System @

The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Adults and Children

Essential Fatty Acids: Are You Deficient In These Key Nutrients?

Cancer & Nutrition Articles  In The News


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