"" Ralph Moss—Cancer Consultant

Friday, November 3, 2017


Alcohol poses a danger in terms of causing or promoting cancer. Research suggests that even moderate use is dangerous. We suggest treating it with extreme caution. It also lowers your inhibitions and gets you to eat more sugar and carbohydrates in general.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Fever is actually beneficial for those receiving immune therapy (such as IL-2) for cancer. In fact, it is an essential part of the treatment. Patients whose fever was left untreated lived almost twice as long as those who had their fevers reduced! Therefore, it is a mistake to use fever-lowering drugs in this context. Here is the article:


Friday, July 14, 2017


My good friend, Thomas Seyfried, PhD, an outstanding biologist at Boston College, is senior author on an amazing case report of a complete remission in a patient with triple-negative breast cancer. The treatment took place at an innovative cancer center in Turkey and involved a combination of chemotherapy with hyperthermia, hyperbaric oxygen and a ketogenic (i.e., a very low carbohydrate + high fat) diet.

The article in question appeared in July 2017 in the online PubMedCentral-indexed scientific journal, Cureus. Here is a link to the article:

Efficacy of Metabolically Supported Chemotherapy Combined with Ketogenic Diet, Hyperthermia, and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Stage IV Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

I have a special favor to ask my readers: If, after reading, you like this article as much as I did, please RATE IT and leave a review at the site. This is important because the paper is in a best outcome competition at the journal and winning this contest will advance the cause of innovative cancer treatment. You may need to sign up with Cureus first.

Here is my comment: Based on the prevalence of the Warburg effect, and the enormous amount of preliminary work on the glucose-dependency of cancer, it would be logical to pursue such strategies as a ketogenic diet, water fasting, and extending the nightly fast, to the cancer situation. This would most logically be done at first as an adjunct to other, better established treatments. Despite this great promise, there has been little human clinical research on this topic. Thus, this paper, although it concerns only a single patient, is highly suggestive that this approach is fully deserving of a full-scale randomized clinical trial.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I'm Now an Honorary Member of ARTOI

International participants at the 2016 ARTOI meeting in Florence, Italy. (Author is third from left.)

I am proud to report that I have been asked to be an honorary member of ARTOI, the "Association for Research and Treatment in Integrative Oncology," based on Rome, Italy. According to Massimo Bonucci, MD, founder and president of this vibrant group:

"On behalf of all members of ARTOI I would like to express our desire to have you as an Honorary Member of ARTOI. It would be an honor for us to consider you a participant in our initiatives. Your commitment to the integrative field is very much in keeping with our mission: to help patients live in the best way the experience of illness."
I am extremely happy to receive this great honor. I will admit to having a 50-year love affair with the entire country of Italy. But, beyond that, I think that complementary medicine fits in perfectly with the values of the Italian people. The emphasis on quality of life accounts for the incredible enthusiasm for "CAM" that I witnessed on my recent visit to Florence, Italy, this fall.

For a description of that meeting, see my previous entry at ralphmossblog.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


(Some of the speakers at the ARTOI meeting; the author is in the middle, between Bharat Aggarwal, PhD, Professor Emeritus, M.D. Anderson and Gary Deng, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.)

This is a belated report on an important cancer meeting that I attended this fall. It was the Eighth International Conference of ARTOI, the Research and Therapy Association for Integrative Oncology of Italy. This was in many ways an amazing conference, which lasted for three event-filled days.

I spoke at the first ARTOI meeting held in Rome in 2008. At that time, we had about 20 attendees, who as I remember, drifted in and out of a classroom in a Roman hospital. But my involvement with the inception of this conference goes back even further. The founding director of ARTOI is my friend and colleague, Massimo (Max) Bonucci, MD, a medical oncologist and pathologist in Rome. Decades ago, we first met at the German Oncology Society (DGO) meeting in Baden-Baden and shared our interest in non-conventional treatments, particularly that of the DGO founder, Hans Nieper, MD. Max Bonucci proposed the formation of a similar society in Italy. It seemed like a far-fetched idea, as there was no organized movement towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for cancer on the Italian peninsula.

On my first tour of Italian CAM clinics, I found only a few isolated individuals, such as Paolo Lissoni at the state hospital in Monza, and Giancarlo Pizza at the University of Bologna, trying to further this cause, but absolutely no concerted effort. However, in the intervening years an astonishing thing happened. ARTOI has grown large and influential, more so than I could ever have imagined. This time there were over 300 participants, mostly from Tuscany (the home province of Florence) but also from all over Italy and from other countries as well.

This time the conference was co-sponsored by Azienda USL Toscano Centro, a giant healthcare organization with 11 hospitals in Tuscany alone, in collaboration with the Cancer Institute of Tuscany “as an opportunity to foster the exchange of knowledge and to promote the integration of care.” 

The conference proper began on Friday, November 11, with an international panel in the Salone dei Cinquecento of the Palazzo Vecchio. Yes, THE Palazzo Vecchio, the ancient City Hall of Florence, whose construction began in 1299! The Cinquecento Room is the most glorious room in the palace. It was built to house the Grand Council of the Republic, which consisting of 500 members, cinquecento in Italian. The monumental paintings that line the walls are by Michaelangelo’s friend and disciple, Giorgio Vasari. I have spoken in some beautiful conference halls around the world, but nothing like this!

In addition to Dr. Bonucci, and many of the political and medical luminaries of Florence, my fellow panelists that evening were as follows:
  • Gary Deng, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York
  • Jun J. Mao, MD, President, Society of Integrative Oncology and Memorial Sloan-Kettering
  • Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, Professor Emeritus, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  • Ping Chung Leung, PhD, Institute of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong
  • Gianni Amunni, The Tuscan Cancer Institute, Florence
  • Eran Ben-Arye, MD, Lin Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  • Lucia L. Li, MD, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University
  • Anil D. Kulkarni, MD, The University of Texas Medical School
  • Philip A. Salem, MD, St. Lukes’ Episcopal Hospital, Houston, TX
  • Thomas Breitkreuz, MD, Federation of Anthroposophical Medical Associations, Germany
  • Yumin Zhang, MD Healthcare Hospital of TCM, Huangshi Province, China
  • Giovanna Franchi, MD, Italian League for the Fight against Cancer
This was an amazing line up of speakers, representing leaders of the CAM cancer field from Europe, America, the Near East (Israel) and China. 

Where other than in the historical country of Italy can one hold a meeting in a 700-year-old building, in a palatial room that is itself one of the wonders of the world? On the next few days, the general meeting was held in the Istituto degli Innocenti, another world famous building--a child welfare association that has worked uninterruptedly for over six centuries.

The conference line-up here was no less significant, with presentations on almost every imaginable aspect of CAM and cancer care. The whole conference was one of the most stimulating I have attended. I don't have room here to go into all the presentations made. But readers can get some idea of the scope of the conference by looking at the agenda:


I am amazed at what my friend Max and his wife and coworker Federica Bonucci have accomplished in a few short years. They and their many coworkers have not only put Italy “on the map” when it comes to CAM and cancer, but have set an example to leaders in other countries on how to skillfully build a popular movement from the ground up through perseverance and dedication to principles.

On a break at the conference...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Dr. Lloyd J. Old and Helen Coley Nauts (c. 1980)

This month, for the second year in a row, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has chosen cancer immunotherapy as its breakthrough of the year. The emergence of immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs (such as Yervoy®, Opdivo® and Keytruda®) is undoubtedly a very important development in cancer treatment. But I thought readers would be interested in the history of the general idea of "de-blocking" the immune system.

The first researcher to postulate the existence of blocking factors in the blood serum of cancer patients was Ernst Freund, MD (1863-1946), of the University of Vienna. Working with his long-time associate, Gisa Kaminer (1883-1941), they anticipated many of the features of modern immune checkpoint inhibition. To me, they are among the unsung heroes of cancer immunology.

Freund and Kaminer suggested the existence of cancer-dissolving (or “carcinolytic”) factors in normal blood serum. Serum from cancer patients, they said, contained “anti-carcinolytic” elements that protected cancer cells from some destructive element in normal serum. This distinction between normal and cancerous serum formed the basis of their “Freund-Kaminer reaction.” Introduced in 1910, it constituted the first diagnostic test for cancer.

Freund and Kaminer believed that cancer could be diagnosed when a patient’s serum blocked the destruction of cancer cells—in other words, through the presence of these anti-carcinolytic elements. It is hard to interpret these results in terms of modern science, but it is possible that Freund and Kaminer were actually measuring what we now call “PD-L1.” This is a functional part of the linkage between the cancer cell and the immune T cell. 

It is amazing to realize that Freund and Kaminer “attracted attention throughout the scientific world,” according to a 1924 article in Time magazine. The article continued: 
“They have found in…persons with cancer a substance which, when added to the serum of normal persons, changes it to resemble the serum of persons with cancer. The normal serum loses its power to dissolve cancer cells….It is the belief of the Viennese investigators that…the chemical substances mentioned have the power of encouraging or preventing the growth of cancer.”
Freund and Kaminer were of Jewish ancestry, and so, like thousands of others, had to flee for their lives after the Nazi Anschluss (annexation) of Austria in 1938. Like another Viennese professor, Sigmund Freud, MD, Freund and Kaminer found refuge in Great Britain. Kaminer died in 1941 and Freund died five years later. By then the British Medical Bulletin referred to their once-famous test as a “half-forgotten chapter of cancer research.” By the 1950s it was completely forgotten, one of those scientific discoveries that did not survive the turmoil of World War II.


Then, in the late 1960s the husband-and-wife team of Karl Erik and Ingegerd Hellstrom gave new life to the study of blocking factors. The Hellstroms came to the University of Washington from the famed Karolinska Institute. In Seattle, for the next 40 years, they pursued blocking factors in the blood of cancer patients, as well as many other aspects of cancer immunotherapy.

The Hellstroms' starting point was similar to Freund’s, in that they found that adding “tumor fluids” from cancer patients’ blood to immune cells would “specifically block the ability of human lymphocytes to kill…tumor cells.” (Sjorgen 1971).

When these still-undefined factors were removed, immune cells were once again able to attack cancer cells. The Hellstroms wrote:
“Sera from mice carrying progressively growing sarcomas…can block the cytotoxic effect of lymphocytes immune to the tumor-specific antigens of the respective neoplasms [i.e., cancers]. The blocking effect can be specifically removed by absorbing sera with the respective types of tumor cells.” (Ibid.)
A search to define these blocking factor began among immunologists. A major problem was that scientists could not reach a consensus over the exact nature of this blocking process. To quote Prasanta K. Ray of the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hospital in 1981:
"It is not clearly understood how a tumor can grow in an individual despite the fact that the host may have anti-tumor immunity" (Ray 1981).

Prof. Fernando S. Salinas of British Columbia concurred:
"The nature of these blocking factors still remains unclear" (Serrou 1981).
In the past few decades, though, several important discoveries have shown how cancer can block the immune system. The most important of these is the theory of immune checkpoint blockade.


This was also the point at which conventional oncology and CAM converged. Several unconventional practitioners, such as Lawrence Burton, PhD, founder of the Immuno-Augmentative (IAT) treatment center in Freeport, the Bahamas; Valentin I. Govallo, MD, of Moscow, Russia; and M. Rigdon Lentz, MD, an American oncologist who still practices in Prien, Germany, all postulated various methods for “de-blocking” the immune system of cancer patients.

A new era began when James P. Allison, PhD, now head of immunotherapy at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, showed that directing monoclonal antibodies ("guided missiles") against a so-called checkpoint protein, CTLA-4, helped mice fend off tumors. In a now classic paper, he and his colleagues wrote:
“It has recently become apparent that CTLA-4…is a negative regulator of T cell activation….Antibodies to CTLA-4 resulted in the rejection of tumors, including pre-established tumors….These results suggest that blockade of the inhibitory effects of CTLA-4 can allow for, and potentiate, effective immune responses against tumor cells.” (Leach 1996).
In other words, if you could eliminate the factors that are blocking the immune system, you might eliminate the cancer as well. This was the beginning of the development of "immune checkpoint inhibitors" (or blockade), the most important development in cancer immunotherapy in many years. 

The first drug that directly targeted CTLA-4 was approved 15 years later, ipilimumab (Yervoy®). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration subsequently approved other checkpoint drugs, including nivolumab (Opdivo®) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda®), both of which target a related protein, PD-1. In 2015, Allison won the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. This is frequently a precursor to the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology, for which he allegedly has been short-listed.


Almost 50 years ago, Helen Coley Nauts, the dynamic founder of the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), New York, published a series of 17 detailed monographs on the beneficial effects of acute concurrent infection, inflammation, fever or immunotherapy on a variety of cancers. The series included almost 1,000 cases of advanced cancer that had been successfully treated by her father, the great William B. Coley, MD, using a combination of killed microbes called Coley’s toxins, Coley’s fluid or mixed bacterial vaccine (MBV). I keep the set that she gave me almost 40 years ago close at hand and consult it frequently. But, at the time, Mrs. Nauts’ valiant attempts to defend and revive her father’s epochal work was almost entirely ignored or ridiculed. I remember seeing her monographs on a shelf of Cornell University Medical College, literally gathering dust, unread and unappreciated. At the time, almost the only scientist who took her work seriously was Lloyd J. Old, MD, the young vice president of Sloan-Kettering Institute, who became the first scientific director of the CRI. 

Fast-forward 40 years, and the present-day director of the the Cancer Research Institute’s Scientific Advisory Council is none other than James Allison, who, as I said, developed the first immune checkpoint inhibitor. So, through these individuals--Nauts, Old and Allison--there is direct line of descent from William B. Coley’s toxins to the present generation of immune-checkpoint inhibitors. But we must also pay homage to the unsung heroes of this tale--Freund, Kaminer, the Hellstroms, Burton and Lentz. Without them, I doubt if this field would ever have come to its present-day position of eminence.


Anonymous. Medicine: Chemistry of Cancer. Time, Jan. 28, 1924.

British Council Medical Department. Lactation: Function and Product, British Medical Bulletin. London: Churchill Livingstone1947, p. 259.

Freund E and Kaminer G. Ueber die Beziehungen zwischen Tumorzellen und Blutserum. Biochem Ztschr. 1910;26:312-324.

Govallo VI. Immunology of Pregnancy and Cancer. Moscow: Nova Publishers, 2003.

Leach, DR, Krummel MF, Allison JP. Enhancement of antitumor immunity by CTLA-2 blockade. Science 1996;271:1734-1736.

Lentz, MR. The Role of Therapeutic Apheresis in the Treatment of Cancer: A Review. Therapeutic Apheresis: Official Journal of the International Society for Apheresis and the Japanese Society for Apheresis 3, no. 1 (February 1999): 40–49.

Paulson, Tom. 40 years ago, this Swedish couple pioneered cancer immunology. Seattle PI, Feb. 23, 2006; I can find no references to Freund and Kaminer in their writings.

Ray, P. K., and S. Raychaudhuri. Low-Dose Cyclophosphamide Inhibition of Transplantable Fibrosarcoma Growth by Augmentation of the Host Immune Response. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 67, no. 6 (December 1981): 1341–45.

Bernard Serrou, Claude Rosenfeld. Immune Complexes and Plasma Exchanges in Cancer Patients. Elsevier/North-Holland Biomedical Press, Jan 1, 1981, p. 253.

Sjögren, H. O., I. Hellström, S. C. Bansal, and K. E. Hellström. Suggestive Evidence That The ‘blocking Antibodies’ of Tumor-Bearing Individuals May Be Antigen--Antibody Complexes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 68, no. 6 (June 1971): 1372–75.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Annie Appleseed Conference 2017

Dear Friends,

Do you know about the Annie Appleseed Conference?

For 11 years this has been one of the best patient-centered conferences on the topic of complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments for cancer. My friend Ann Fonfa has done an amazing job of building up this conference from scratch. It is a great venue for learning about many evidence-based treatments. Plus, it takes place in sunny Florida in early March–just the time for a break from the dreariness of winter (for some of us, at least). I spoke at the first of these conferences, and have been proud to participate on many subsequent occasions. I am sure you will benefit greatly from hearing the multiple points of view presented at these enjoyable and educational meetings.


March 2-4, 2017


Embassy Suites Hotel
1601 Belvedere Rd
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Learn More:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Article about me from the Northern Mariana Islands!

Nice to be talked about in a newspaper (Saipan News) from the Northern Mariana Islands!

No cure for cancer


Posted on Oct 27 2016
Cancer is almost never cured. Instead, it is “managed.”
Yes, there have been remissions, but a remission is not a cure. This is part of the agendas of the FDA and the big pharmaceutical companies.
If a cure were made available—and there are some—a multi-billion dollar industry would grind to a halt. Cancer patients would become well and there would no longer be a need for costly pharmaceuticals.
More than a dozen years ago I interviewed a man named Ralph Moss, Ph.D. At the time, he was fairly unknown in the cancer world. Since then, however, he has become the foremost expert on cancer treatments and methodology in the world. He’s brilliant.
In the mid 197s, Dr. Moss was hired by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Although he was formerly a scholar of ancient Greek, he was hired to do two things: to write a weekly newsletter about the goings-on at the center, and to answer letters sent in by cancer patients.
Some of the letters he received asked about unorthodox cancer treatments, such a laetrile or essiac tea.
Dr. Moss would always respond that there has been no scientific proof that these protocols had any effect on cancer. Then he thanked them for writing to the center.
One day, as part of his duties, he visited Walker Labs in upstate New York. Walker Labs was the research component to Sloan Kettering’s anti-cancer initiatives. They were looking for a cure.
Quite by accident Dr. Moss encountered the head of the research department, Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura—“the father of chemotherapy.”
Moss asked him, “What are you working on now?”
Sugiura replied, “I am working on amigdalyn (laetrile).”
“Why would you study something that doesn’t work?” asked Moss.
“But it does,” replied Sugiura.
Sugiura’s research confirmed that not only did amigdalyn prevent cancer, it also prevented metastases (spreading) 80 percent of the time. It was a potent anti-cancer substance, which occurs naturally in fresh apricot (and other) seeds.
Excited, Moss shared Sugiura’s findings with the head officers of Sloan Kettering, and they shared his excitement.
They went to Washington, D.C., to petition the FDA to allow clinical trials of amigdalyn on people.
Not only did the FDA say no, they threatened to cut Sloan Kettering’s funding if they pursued this course of research.
Disheartened, the heads of Sloan Kettering returned to New York.
The FDA then issued an edict to the head doctors: the research was to be re-done according to their guidelines.
This was accomplished by another research team. In the end, it showed that amigdalyn (laetrile) was worthless as a cancer treatment.
Baffled, Dr. Moss called up Dr. Sugiura to report the findings.
“What was the dosage?” asked Dr. Sugiura.
It turns out that the new research was one-tenth the dosage of Sugiura’s initial treatment. And yet, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center published the new research, claiming that amigdalyn was worthless.
Enraged, Dr. Moss held a press conference and told the truth: that the research and its findings were manipulated by the FDA, and that a viable treatment option for cancer was being discarded.
Moss was fired, and he burst into tears. Then he rallied and said, “You haven’t heard the last of me. I am going to write a book about this.”
Moss’s book, The Cancer Industry (still in print) became a best seller. It also put Dr. Moss on a path of finding the best and most reliable treatments for cancer, including amigdalyn.
Since then, Dr. Moss has appeared in numerous videos, and a feature film, Second Opinion. He has also been on many radio programs, including coast-to-coast AM with George Noory.
Although his primary focus is on the curative properties of amigdalyn (laetrile), he discusses other treatment options—options which the FDA has banned here.
Why would the FDA ban treatment options?
Because, as I stated above, if cancer were cured, the pharmaceutical industry would lose billions of dollars and the funding they receive from the FDA.
However, amigdalyn is legal and available in Mexico, and many cancer patients drive down to Tijuana to buy the drug. It is also widely available in Europe, but not here.
However, there is a loophole, so a cancer patient can get amigdalyn by buying and eating fresh apricot seeds.
They are only available from a Website: Rainrocknutritionals.com A one-lb bag, containing approximately 660 apricot “kernels,” costs around $20.
The cancer-preventive dose is eight kernels per day. If you have cancer, you can eat more, up to 60 per day. Apricot seeds are less toxic and far cheaper than chemotherapy.
World Without Cancer is a book and audio series by a man named G. Edward Griffin. Although he is not a physician, he is a wise researcher, who had many consultations with cancer doctors prior to publication. If you search for World Without Cancer on YouTube, you will find Mr. Griffin’s video, which was made in 1974.
Griffin’s thesis is that amigdalyn (laetrile) is also known as vitamin B17, and that cancer is actually a deficiency disease.
Griffin cites that animals in the jungle, such as apes, will seek out this vitamin by eating certain foods and nuts.
Griffin based his findings on the research of Dr. Ernst Krebs, who found that people who were deficient in vitamin B17 increased their risk of cancer significantly.
Dr. Krebs also found that people who ate fresh (not sun-dried or roasted) apricot seeds were not only able to prevent cancer, but to halt its progression if someone had the disease.
There are other effective treatments for cancer, as I have previously written. Foremost among them is baking soda. You dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda (not baking powder!) in a glass of water and drink it.
An Italian physician, Dr. Simoncini, claims to have cured cancer patients with baking soda. Although I never met the man or any of his patients, he is obviously sincere in his online videos.
In fact, there are dozens of reported cancer cures on YouTube if you take the time to find and watch them.
But as I have stated often, the best remedy is prevention. By preventing cancer in the first place, you spare yourself the heartache—and great expense—of a terrible disease.
Therefore, if you eat 8 or more fresh apricot seeds every day, and drink the baking soda solution, you have cut your risk of getting cancer significantly.
The FDA would prefer that you do not know this; because they, along with big pharma, want everyone to have a nice, long, expensive illness.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


“Insulin potentiation therapy” (IPT) is a very popular form of cancer treatment. Also called insulin-potentiated targeted low-dose (IPTLD) therapy, it is very attractive to patients, since it promises to attain the beneficial effects of full-strength chemotherapy, but with virtually no toxicity. The efficacy of the chemotherapy is allegedly greatly enhanced by co-administration of the hormone insulin. The dose of “chemo” given in IPT is typically in the 10 to 15 percent of normal range, sometimes with shorter-than-normal intervals between treatments.

According to proponents:

“Insulin is truly a ‘magic bullet’ cancer treatment, meaning it allows chemotherapy to target cancer cells and results in far less side-effects.” (http://www.cancertutor.com/ipt/)
The administration of insulin will lower blood sugar. Depending on the dose, this will put some people at risk of hypoglycemia. In the worst case scenario, this cut cause insulin shock, in which case the patient becomes unconscious due to a too low blood sugar level. You may think this is unlikely to happen, but in 2000 I actually saw patients being put into insulin shock at a Tijuana cancer clinic. Thankfully, within days the Mexican health authorities permanently shut down that clinic. 

All sorts of claims are made for the efficacy of IPT or IPTLD, but where is the proof? I was on the NIH panel (the Cancer Advisory Panel on Complementary and Alternative Therapies, or CAPCAM) to which the proponents of IPT submitted some of their best cases on September 18, 2000. In my opinion, the presentation was a failure, since they did not present a single case in which a remission from cancer could reasonably be ascribed to IPT. At the time I pointed out that I, and the other members of the panel, had every reason to want them to give a successful presentation, but that they had failed to do so. 

According to the theory, insulin makes cancer cells responsive to small doses of chemotherapy because of the presence of insulin-like receptors on the cells. This does not necessarily follow. In general, the presence of elevated insulin levels in the body is not a good thing. Insulin levels, for instance, are generally elevated in cases of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Yet diabetes and pre-diabetes correlate with an increased risk of cancer, probably because cancer cells thrive in a high-glucose environment. If you are unaware of this connection, let me quote from “The Diabetes-Cancer Connection,” from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR):

“A growing body of evidence is finding that having diabetes or signs of insulin resistance may lead to an increased risk of certain cancers. The connection is strongest among certain types of cancers, including kidney, pancreatic and colorectal.

“The trend emerging [in this area] is that the type 2 diabetes associated with high insulin levels is the biggest problem relating to cancer risk,” said Michael Pollak, M.D., a professor at the Department of Oncology and Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Unit at McGill University. But it’s not just type 2 diabetes, he added, this link is evident for everyone with pre-diabetes, which is a much larger group.”

It is true (as proponents say) that cancer cells frequently have insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptors on their cell surfaces. But why would one assume that it is a good thing to stimulate these receptors? Again to quote the AICR article:

“High levels of insulin, independent of body fat, are linked to increased production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). And IGF-1, which shares a similar structure to insulin, plays a key role in cell growth, proliferation and inhibiting apoptosis” [none of which are good things!]

There are scientific studies on the effects of “exogenous” insulin (that is, insulin injected to control the patient’s hyperglycemia) and insulin-like drugs (analogs) on cancer. None of this is good for the IPT argument:

  • Studies have shown an increase in cancer-related mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) treated with insulin. Bowker concluded: “Patients with type 2 diabetes exposed to…exogenous insulin had a significantly increased risk of cancer-related mortality….”
    (Bowker SL, Majumdar SR, Veugelers P & Johnson JA. Increased cancer-related mortality for patients with type 2 diabetes who use sulfonylureas or insulin. Diabetes Care 2006;29 254–258)
  • Currie reported that patients treated with insulin had an increased risk of colorectal and pancreatic cancers compared with patients treated with metformin.
    (Currie CJ, Poole CD & Gale EA. The influence of glucose-lowering therapies on cancer risk in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia 52 1766–1777; Yang Y-X, Hennessy S, Lewis JD. Insulin therapy and colorectal cancer risk among type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Gastroenterology 2004;127:1044–1050)
  • A German study showed increased cancer risk in patients treated with insulin analogs. There was a a dose-dependent increase in cancer risk in patients treated with the insulin analog, glargine, compared with human insulin.
    (Hemkens LG, Grouven U, Bender R, Gunster C, Gutschmidt S, Selke GW & Sawicki PT. Risk of malignancies in patients with diabetes treated with human insulin or insulin analogues: a cohort study. Diabetologia 2009;52 1732–1744)
  • There was a positive association with breast cancer incidence in Swedish women using the insulin analog glargine.
    (Jonasson JM, Ljung R, Talback M, Haglund B, Gudbjornsdottir S & Steineck G. Insulin glargine use and short-term incidence of malignancies – a population-based follow-up study in Sweden. Diabetologia 2009;52 1745–1754; Others have disputed that there is a greater risk with glargine than with human insulin.)
This hardly covers the full extent of the evidence of an increased risk of cancer associated with the use of insulin and insulin-like factors. Why then would one suppose that insulin administered alongside chemotherapy would exert a beneficial effect on cancer?


If we take insulin out of the equation, what evidence is there that giving, say, 15 mg of the drug cisplatin will be as effective as 150 mg? 

Leaving aside all theoretical considerations, what clinical data exists to support the safety and efficacy of IPT? If we put the phrase “insulin potentiation therapy” into the PubMed index of 26 million medical journal articles, we come up with four ‘hits.’ 

The first of these was a theoretical article in the journal Medical Hypotheses, dated June 1986, in which the late Steven G. Ayre, MD, the late Donato Perez Garcia y Bellon, and Dr. Donato Perez Garcia, Jr. put forward the concepts of IPT. Over the intervening 30 years this article has only been cited once—by the Damyanov article below.
(Ayre SG, Perez Garcia y Bellon D, Perez Garcia D Jr. Insulin potentiation therapy: a new concept in the management of chronic degenerative disease.   Med Hypotheses. 1986 Jun;20(2):199-210)

A second study, of a bladder leiomyoma from Turkey, contains a passing mention of IPT, but then says nothing further about it.
(Goktug, Goksel Hasan, Ufuk Ozturk, Nevzat Can Sener, Can Tuygun, Hasan Bakirtas, and Abdurrahim Muhammet Imamoglu. “Transurethral Resection of a Bladder Leiomyoma: A Case Report.” Canadian Urological Association Journal = Journal De l’Association Des Urologues Du Canada 8, no. 1–2 (February 2014): E111-113)

There is an article on IPT from Christo Damyanov, MD, of the “Medical Center ‘Integrative Medicine,’” on Deliiska Vodenitza Street, Sofia, Bulgaria. Dr. Damyanov appears to be a urologist affiliated with the University of Sophia, who has been practicing IPT since 2006. His medical center is otherwise unknown to me. This study involved a total of 16 patients with advanced,  “castration-resistant,” prostate cancer. However, this paper only compares two different low-dose chemotherapy regimens. There were objective responses in about one-third of patients, and some improvement in quality of life, but there was no comparison of low-dose vs. normal dose treatments. Thus I cannot see how this helps solve the question of whether or not low-dose IPT chemotherapy is really effective in such situations. 
(Damyanov C, Radoslavova M, Gavrilov V. Stoeva D. Low dose chemotherapy in combination with insulin for the treatment of advanced metastatic tumors. Preliminary experience. J. BUON. 2009;14:711–715; Damyanov C, Gerasimova D, Maslev I, Gavrilov V. Low-dose chemotherapy with insulin (insulin potentiation therapy) in combination with hormone therapy for treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer. ISRN Urol. 2012;2012:140182; see also: See http://www.whatclinic.com/doctors/bulgaria/sofia/medical-center-for-integrative-medicine)

The most recent of these articles is a description of the practice of James Forsythe, MD, but contains no abstract and does not even provide a contact email for the doctor. The article has yet to be cited by a single other study.
(Forsythe J, Gustafson C. James Forsythe, MD, HMD: the success of integrative cancer therapy based on chemosensitivity testing and insulin potentiation therapy. Altern Ther Health Med. 2015 Mar-Apr;21(2):54-9)

There is also a single trial listed at clinicaltrials.gov of IPT that was initiated in 2015 by the Best Answer for Cancer Foundation. It is scheduled to run until 2020. The title of the trial is self-explanatory:

“A Quality of Life Study Using Insulin Potentiation Targeted LowDose (IPTLD) Chemotherapy and Nutrition Therapy in the Treatment of Cancer (IPTLDAZCAM).”

The Best Answer for Cancer Foundation (whose founding director is Ms. Annie Brandt), has expanded their focus beyond IPT or IPTLD, but still promotes this treatment concept at their website. Their slogan is “IPTLD: Targeting the Cancer Cells… Not the Patient!™”

Their website contains some statements about the action of IPT that I do not find to be supported by any of scientific articles on the topic:

“IPTLD, however, penetrates easily through the cell membrane because it goes in hand-in-hand with sugar (glucose). Cancer cells, unlike healthy cells, need lots of glucose for fuel. Without it, they die. The membrane of a cancer cell is designed to take in a lot more glucose than healthy cells. In medical parlance we say cancer cells are equipped with many more insulin receptors. So, what if we pair a small dose of chemo drugs with the glucose? Yes, the cancer cell takes in the chemotherapy drugs in its effort to get at the sugar. Using insulin allows us to differentiate the cancer cells from the normal cells. This is a significant advantage.”

This is a simplification of the relationship of insulin and glucose to cancer. It is true that cancer cells in general consume much more glucose than normal cells. That is because they utilize fermentation for much of their energy needs. But cancer cells also generally retain about 40 to 50 percent of their mitochondria and of their normal energy-generating capacity, per a lifetime of scientific work of Peter L. Pedersen, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, Baltimore, and many others. 

Thus when cancer cells are deprived of the excessive amount of glucose that “aerobic glycolysis” (fermentation even in the presence of oxygen) requires, they do not die, but become more dormant. Incidentally, healthy cells also need glucose to generate energy, although they use it more efficiently than most cancer cells (per the citric acid, or Krebs, cycle). But what evidence is there that when one co-administers insulin with chemotherapy one is “pairing” the drug with glucose, or that “the cancer cell takes in the chemotherapy drugs in its effort to get at the sugar”? (One wonders why you need insulin to allegedly do that? Why not just co-administer glucose?)

IPT and IPTLD are interesting ideas, but I am unaware of any experimental evidence that co-administering insulin makes chemotherapy so much more effective that it can be given at 10 to 15 percent of the normal dose.