"" Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D., Cancer Advisor: October 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Overcoming Side Effects of Tamoxifen

A new study has found that traditional acupuncture can help relieve the adverse side effects of the commonly used drug, tamoxifen. Fifty participants with early breast cancer completed eight traditional acupuncture treatments. Eligible women had been taking tamoxifen for at least six months, and reporting at least four incidents of hot flashes and night sweats per 24 hours for at least three months. Acupuncture reduced the frequency of these unpleasant side effects by half (49.8 percent) in 30 weeks, when the experiment ended. There were beneficial effects as late as 18 weeks after the end of treatment. The women also experienced improvement in fear and anxiety, loss of memory and concentration, menstrual problems, sexual behavior, sleep problems, etc. Dr. Beverly Devalois and her colleagues in Middlesex, UK, concluded that these results compared favorably with other studies on relieving the side effects of tamoxifen. The women “enjoyed improved physical and emotional well-being.” They called for further research.

I would be interested in hearing from readers on what treatments and self-help measures they have found useful in combating the adverse side effects of tamoxifen.

de Valois BA, Young TE, Robinson N, McCourt C, Maher EJ. Using traditional acupuncture for breast cancer-related hot flashes and night sweats. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(10):1047-1057.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sound Waves Can Kill Cancer

ERRATUM: In a previous version of this blog I stated that only Dr. X. Wang of Guangzhou had published his results using this method. This was incorrect. Dr. Julian Kenyon has also published his results in a paper titled "Activated Cancer Therapy Using Light and Ultrasound...." It appeared in Current Drug Therapy (reference below). You will not find this article in PubMed (which was the source of my error) but it is searchable through another scientific search engine, ingentaconnect.com Dr. Kenyon informs me that he also has another article on the topic due out next year. My apologies to Dr. Kenyon for this omission of his work.

 

Ultrasound waves can be used to kill cancer cells. The treatment, called sonodynamic therapy, first requires application of a drug called a sonosensitizer, which preferentially accumulates in cancer cells. Physicians can then activate this drug by applying ultrasound and thereby killing the malignancy.

Last month, Japanese scientists announced discovery of a new sonosensitizer, a derivative of Rose Bengal dye. It is said to be ten times more active than ordinary Rose Bengal. But sonodynamic therapy has been around for years. In  2008, I visited mainland China to investigate this treatment and wound up coauthoring a paper on its effects with Dr. X. Wang of Guangzhou. The treatment is also offered at the Dove clinic in England, the Hope4Cancer Institute in Mexico and the Indiana Center for Advanced Medicine in Indianapolis, usually in conjunction with the older technique of photodynamic therapy, which is the use of light and light-activated drugs in cancer.

(Important note: mention of any doctor or clinic in this blog does not constitute an endorsement on my part. It is simply given for informational purposes.)

The costs for this sort of treatment can be considerable. Nonetheless, the field continues to develop, and there are now almost 100 articles in PubMed on this new treatment idea. It is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

References

Kenyon JN, Fulle RJ, Lewis TJ. Activated cancer therapy using light and ultrasound: A case series of sonodynamic, photodynamic therapy in 115 patients over 4 years. Current Drug Therapy. 2009;4(3): 179-193.


Sugita N, Iwase Y, Yumita N, Ikeda T, Umemura S. Sonodynamically induced cell damage using rose bengal derivative. Anticancer Res. 2010;30(9):3361-3366.

Wang X, Zhang W, Xu Z, Luo Y, Mitchell D, Moss RW. Sonodynamic and photodynamic therapy in advanced breast carcinoma: a report of 3 cases. Integr Cancer Ther. 2009;8(3):283-287.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fasting May Improve Chemo

Fasting is prescribed in the Bible and is considered a path to physical and spiritual purity. There are books, articles and Web sites that advocate fasting, some of them even for cancer patients. But many oncologists understandably become alarmed when their patients suggest fasting. After all, cancer is a disease sometimes characterized by unintended weight loss (cachexia). Doctors may feel that fasting will only worsen the situation. But what is the actual science of fasting and its relationship to cancer treatment?

Recently Dr. Valter D. Longo, Fernando M. Safdie and colleagues at the University of Southern California (USC) Andrus Gerontology Center and Department of Biological Sciences, have shown that a 48-hour fast protects normal cells and mice, but not cancer cells, against high-dose chemotherapy.

They also described 10 patients who voluntarily fasted prior to and/or following chemotherapy. None of these reported side effects caused by fasting other than lightheadedness and, of course, hunger. However, most patients reported less fatigue, weakness or gastrointestinal side effects from chemotherapy if they also fasted before and/or after receiving the drugs.

Nor did fasting decrease the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. These USC scientists therefore suggest that fasting, in combination with chemo, is “feasible, safe, and has the potential to ameliorate side effects.” They also recommend consulting one’s physician before undertaking a fast, and I totally agree. There are certainly individuals with cancer who should not fast. But fasting should be feasible for other patients, is cost-free and, at least in this preliminary report, effective at reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.

Resource:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815756/?tool=pubmed

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dr. Eliaz Responds to Blog Questions

There have been many comments and questions about the BreastDefend nutritional formula. I therefore asked the developer of the product, Isaac Eliaz, MD, to look at and respond to these. His comprehensive answer can now be found at my blog. The address is http://themossreports.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/dietary-supplement-for-breast-cancer/#comments

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A dietary supplement for breast cancer

 

[caption id="attachment_46" align="alignnone" width="447" caption="BreastDefend stops proliferation of cancer cells"][/caption]

 

A paper on a new dietary supplement for breast cancer has appeared this week in the online version of Integrative Cancer Therapies (http://ict.sagepub.com). BreastDefend (BD) is a blend of medicinal mushrooms, herbs and nutritional compounds. In this laboratory study, Indiana University scientists showed that BD inhibited the proliferation and invasiveness of highly metastatic breast cancer cells. Particularly impressive was the effect of the highest dose of BD at 72 hours, where virtually all the cells were suppressed (see illustration).

This isn’t the first time that most of these ingredients have been shown to kill cancer cells. But by combining them in a single formula, one can use lower doses to achieve an synergistic effect. I appreciate the way the developer of the product, Isaac Eliaz, MD of Econugenics, has not just touted his product’s virtues but once again (as with his Pectasol-C) provided scientific proof.

The recommended dose is 1 to 4 capsules, 2 times a day, taken with food, or as directed by one’s health care professional. I have found it for sale on the Internet for as little as $77.99 for 120 capsules. Even at the highest dose this comes to around $5 per day, which seems reasonable for such a promising supplement.