Friday, October 19, 2007


preliminary report by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon

For more than 30 years now, Chinese herbs and materials derived from the herbs, such as long chain polysaccharides, have been used as adjunct therapies for cancer patients. This modern application was first developed clinically in China and Japan during the 1970s and was relayed to the rest of the world in 1983 through an international conference in Beijing which was followed up by press reports in English and other languages (see: Physiological responses to immunologically active polysaccharides). The Institute for Traditional Medicine (ITM) made an effort to alert practitioners of Chinese medicine in the U.S. to this promising role for Chinese herbs immediately after that conference, with updated information provided as available over the years. The utilization of Chinese roots, leaves, and fruits (e.g., astragalus, gynostemma, ligustrum, and lycium), and several mushrooms (e.g., coriolus, ganoderma, cordyceps, and lentinus) for cancer patients is now a routine procedure when these patients visit acupuncturists, naturopathic physicians, and others offering adjunctive cancer health care.

Within the past couple of years, however, an increasing number of patients have been told by their oncologists to avoid herbs, and to more generally avoid supplements (such as vitamins), or, even more broadly, simply avoid anything with antioxidant potential while they are undergoing cancer therapies. The admonition itself is difficult to interpret, since all foods contain antioxidants and vitamins, and they also contain most of the other substances offered in dietary supplements. Most fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts differ only slightly from herbs. A more specific recommendation is needed. But first, the question arises: why are doctors giving these instructions? What kind of information is being released to the public?

For the rest of the article click on the title of the article

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Studies find acupuncture cuts post-surgical pain

Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:35pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The use of acupuncture before and during surgery reduces patients' post-operative pain as well as the need for pain-killing medication, researchers said on Tuesday.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina analyzed the results of 15 clinical trials on the effectiveness of acupuncture -- a practice that originated in China of inserting thin needles into specific body points.

They concluded that it is valuable for pain control in surgery patients.

The 15 trials showed that patients getting acupuncture before or during various types of operations had significantly less pain afterward than patients who did not get acupuncture.

These patients also required less morphine or other opioid pain medication after surgery, which reduced the side effects like nausea and vomiting from these types of drugs, the researchers said.

In terms of pain-drug side effects, the acupuncture patients experienced 1.5 times lower rates of nausea, 1.6 times fewer reports of dizziness and 3.5 times fewer cases of urinary retention compared to the other patients, the study found.

These findings augment a growing body of evidence on the value of acupuncture in improving the surgical experience for patients, the researchers said.

For instance, the National Institutes of Health says that acupuncture has also been shown to reduce nausea after chemotherapy and surgery.

"The use of acupuncture is still very under-appreciated," Dr. Tong-Joo Gan, vice chairman of Duke's anesthesiology department, said in a telephone interview.

"Western doctors are typically not trained (in acupuncture) and they really are not familiar with how it works," Gan said. "I think practitioners such as surgeons and anesthesiologists need to have an open mind."

He said numerous studies have looked at acupuncture to reduce post-operative pain, but many of them were not very well done. Gan said his team identified a group of well-controlled studies to judge how well acupuncture worked.

"I do it all the time," Gan said. "You give patients the acupuncture about half an hour before surgery and continue during surgery. It can reduce post-operative pain."

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, scientists do not fully understand how acupuncture works, believing it might help the activity of the body's pain-killing chemicals or affect the regulation of blood pressure and flow.

"I think it is generally applicable to a number of different procedures," Gan said. "In the studies, we looked at abdominal procedures, orthopedic procedures, gynecological procedures."

The research was presented at a conference of the American Society for Anesthesiology in San Francisco.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Complementary Medicine and Cancer seems to really like acupuncture based on the idea that it can do very little (to no) harm and has some positive research. The complex topic of herbs with cancer they do not look on favorably. This is not surprising given the fact that there is so much misinformation and fear/caution about herbal treatments with cancer patients. When I work with a cancer patient I am communicating with the patients' doctor so as not to interfere with conventional treatment and keep the Dr. apprised of what may be helping the patients. There are however, many "non-interfering" periods of cancer treatment where complimentary can be of use.

Acupuncture can be used nearly all the time. Although there is a theoretical caution about using acupuncture when white blood cell counts are low due to possible risk of infection.

Herbs, supplements can be used for a cancer patient safely when prescribed properly in all the following situations
  • Before and during intervals of conventional treatment
  • When a patient is not receiving treatment
  • During conventional treatment to relieve side effects. The research seems mostly weak describing ways to take supplements to improve chemotherapy treatment efficacy.
  • pre surgery preparation, recovery from surgery
  • Post treatment side effects
  • prevention
Treating a cancer patient with herbs and acupuncture is not just about treating cancer. By law I am not allowed to do this. However, within the diagnositic scope of my License as a California Acupuncturist I diagnose blood stagnation, phlegm accumulation, organ imbalances and other variations. The remarkable thing is that this approach to balancing the body that is germane to Chinese Medicine has tremendous benefit to patients and has for a very long time. While the oncologist tends to be focused on disease, I am focused on balancing the patient. Both have a place in the care of cancer patients. Alex

Also called alternative medicine, is the complementary approach a new model for Western medicine?
By R. Morgan Griffin
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

A few years ago, if you asked your oncologist for a referral to a masseuse, she'd think you were joking. But things have changed. Nowadays, your oncologist might be prescribing the massage -- along with acupuncture, herbs and other therapies.

It's a sign of a new trend: complementary medicine (also called integrative medicineintegrative medicine) is making its way into the mainstream, combining standard medical treatments with complementary ones. Some hospitals have even set up entire integrative medicine centers -- largely because of patient demand.

"Patients love it," says Simone Zappa, RN, an administrator in the Integrative Medicine Department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. "And they love it because it works."

Complementary treatments help many people with cancer. Massage, acupuncture, and hypnosis are being used along with radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. These complementary therapies aren't usually intended to treat the cancer itself. But they can ease side effects and improve quality of life. They may even reduce the amount of medicine you need for treatment.

What's more, some of these treatments have been shown to work in scientific studies. The gulf between evidence-based Western medicine and traditional therapies is not as wide as it once was. And many people with cancer are benefiting.

Understanding Complementary Medicine

Complementary medicine includes dozens of treatments that have not been generally used in Western medicine. They extend from nutritional changes, to biofeedback, to yoga.

Experts stress that complementary or integrative medicine is not the same as "alternative medicine." Complementary medicine for cancer is a complement -- not a replacement -- for traditional treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. It's an important distinction, since only conventional therapies have been shown to fight cancer.

People with cancer seek out complementary medicine for many reasons. Zappa says that, at Sloan-Kettering, she most often sees people suffering from pain, nausea, depressiondepression, anxiety, and fatiguefatigue. Some are wary of the unusual approach at first. But most are convinced after they try it, says Zappa. "What's great about the integrative approach is that it gives back a feeling of control."

Complementary Medicine's New Converts

For hardened skeptics, phrases like "traditional healing techniques" and "alternative medicine" conjure up images of magic crystals and the smell of incense. But in fact, the people researching complementary medicine -- and sometimes even practicing it -- are likely to be wearing lab coats.

"The people doing this work are not crackpots," says Heather S. Shaw, MD, co-director of the Integrative Oncology Program at Duke University. "I'm an oncologist and I spend a lot of my time parked on a laboratory bench doing research."

Indeed, hospitals with complementary medicine divisions are spearheading research. Experts are using the same rigor in evaluating complementary therapies that they would in testing drugs or surgery. It's not enough to assume that a treatment works just because it's been used for thousands of years. Doctors want evidence.

After seeing the benefits of complementary medicine, many doubting oncologists have been convinced.

"My colleagues used to think I was nuts," Shaw says. "They teased me about prescribing so-called 'herbs and spices'." But now her fellow doctors are always asking her advice on new ways to help their patients.

The Integrative Approach: Is It Proven?

Of course, here's the big question: do we know if complementary medicine really works?

The answer: It depends on the specific treatment. Acupuncture and massage -- which not so long ago were considered pretty far-out -- have been shown to help. Many studies have shown that acupuncture eases chemotherapy nausea, while other studies suggest acupuncture and massage may reduce pain from cancercancer or its treatment.

"A lot of oncologists don't see acupuncture or massage as 'alternative medicine' anymore," says Shaw. "These therapies are so well established that they've become standard."

Other complementary techniques aren't as well researched. So when a treatment is unproven, the question is whether its potential benefits outweigh its risks. If it's risky, it isn't used. But if the risks are very, very low, doctors may be more open.

"If a treatment is safe but unproven, why not give it a try if the patient is interested?" says David S. Rosenthal, MD, medical director of the Center for Integrated Therapies at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Things get trickier with herbal and botanical supplements. Despite their wide popularity, few have been shown to be either safe or effective against cancer. On the other hand, some have been shown to be both ineffective and unsafe. One example is laetrile, which contains a substance found in the pits of some fruits. The active ingredient seems to be cyanide, and it has resulted in symptoms of cyanide poisoning. Some common supplements -- like St. John's wort and high doses of vitamin C -- can interact with chemotherapy and radiation.

"You have to be very careful with botanical and herbal supplements," says Zappa. "They are real drugs and we just don't know a lot about them." She hopes future research will show benefits. But for now, she and other experts urge caution. Given the risks, your doctor must know about all of the herbs, botanicals, and supplements you use.

Will My Insurance Pay for Complementary Medicine?

By and large, insurance companies don't cover complementary care. Specifics vary with each insurer and from state to state. For instance, acupuncture is covered in some states but not others, says Rosenthal.

For now, most complementary medicine is provided on a fee-for-service basis. But advocates of integrative medicineintegrative medicine say this is likely to change.

"A lot of us are doing research now that, we hope, will show the benefits of these therapies," says Rosenthal. "Once we have the evidence, we can make a case to the insurance companies."

Shaw agrees. "We're hoping to show that these treatments will actually save insurers money," she says. "They may reduce hospitalizations and drug costs."

Finding a Complementary Medicine Caregiver

A lot of people may offer "complementary medicine." But how do you know if they're reputable? It's hard to be sure.

You're lucky if you live near a teaching hospital with a complementary or integrative medicine center. Many offer complementary services right in the hospital. If you're not close to such a center, talk to your doctor. He or she may know of people practicing complementary medicine in your area.

You should also look for credentials. For instance, acupuncturists should either have an LAc or be a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, says Shaw. You can see if your state licenses acupuncturists and other providers. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has tips for finding qualified caregivers.

Shaw has two rules of thumb when judging good complementary medicine providers. First, they will not make any claims to cure cancercancer. Second, they will not try to convince you to stop conventional therapy. If a practitioner does either, you should find someone else.

There's also the flip side. If you are interested in complementary therapies, it's important your oncologist be open to them. Not every doctor is. Some flat out demand that their patients stop using all complementary therapies, since they don't know enough about them, says Shaw.

"If you want complementary therapies and your oncologist is adamantly opposed to them, you might want to find someone else," says Shaw. "There are a lot of open-minded oncologists out there who will help you."

But Zappa predicts that opposition to integrative medicine will become more and more rare.

"People in medicine are scientists, and scientists rightly need proof that treatments work," she tells WebMD. "But now we finally have a lot of good research coming out. Once the research is out there, no one can ignore it. These treatments really do help people feel better."

WebMD Feature

Published Oct. 23, 2006.SOURCES: American Cancer Society web site, "Complementary and Alternative Therapies." Corbin, L. Cancer Control, July 2005; vol 12: pp 158-164. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center web site, "Individual Therapies." National Cancer Institute, "Acupuncture PDQ," "Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer Treatment: Questions and Answers." David S. Rosenthal, MD, professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; medical director, Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrated Therapies at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. Heather S. Shaw, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Multidisciplinary Breast Program, Duke University Medical Center. Simone Zappa, RN, administrator, Integrative Medicine Department, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Thinking about Complementary and Alternative Medicine."
©2005-2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.
WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Classic Chinese Herbal Formula Increases Hematopoietic Stem Cells In a Mouse Model

This study demonstrates that the classic chinese herbal formula Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang (Remove Stasis from the blood mansion) increases hematopoietic stem cells. In TCM terms this formula activates blood and has many uses for patterns of blood stagnation. Modifications of this formula could really be of use for folks that are suffering from bone marrow suppressed anemias. Good to know. Alex

Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2007 Jun;27(6):527-30.LinkOut

[Experimental study on effect of xuefu zhuyu decoction on bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells of mice]

[Article in Chinese]

Fujian College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of Xuefu Zhuyu Decoction (XFZYD) on the number, phenotype, cell cycle and colony formation of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) in mice. METHODS: Kunming mice were randomly divided into 4 groups: the control group, the low- (3.25 g/kg), middle- (6.5 g/kg) and high-dose (13.0 g/kg) XFZYD groups. After they were medicated by gastrogavage respectively with saline or corresponding dose of XFZYD for 7 days, their bone marrow HSC were separated and counted. The phenotype Sca and cell cycle of HSC were detected by flow cytometer, and the colony formation was determined with semisolid methyl media culture. RESULTS: No obvious difference in the number of mononuclear cell, suspended cell and colony production was found among all the groups (P > 0.05); while the expression of CD34 and Sca-1 increased in the low-dose XFZYD group, but in the middle-dose XFZYD group increase only showed in Sca-1 expression. CONCLUSION: XFZYD plays a role of removing blood stasis and promoting regeneration through improving hematopoietic function by means of increasing the number and enhancing the function of premature HSC.

PMID: 17633366 [PubMed - in process]

Classic Chinese Herbal Formula increases Hematopoietic tem cells in a rat model

This study demonstrates that the classic chinese herbal formula Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang (Remove Stasis from the blood mansion) has a good effect on the

Gao D, Lin JM, Zheng LP. [Experimental study on effect of xue fu zhu yu
decoction on bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells of mice] [Article in
Chinese] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2007 Jun;27(6):527-
Fujian College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou. OBJECTIVE: To
investigate the effect of Xuefu Zhuyu Decoction (XFZYD) on the number,
phenotype, cell cycle and colony formation of bone marrow hematopoietic
stem cells (HSC) in mice. METHODS: Kunming mice were randomly divided
into 4 groups: the control group, the low- (3.25 g/kg), middle- (6.5 g/kg) and
high-dose (13.0 g/kg) XFZYD groups. After they were medicated by
gastrogavage respectively with saline or corresponding dose of XFZYD for 7
days, their bone marrow HSC were separated and counted. The phenotype
Sca and cell cycle of HSC were detected by flow cytometer, and the colony
formation was determined with semisolid methyl media culture. RESULTS:
No obvious difference in the number of mononuclear cell, suspended cell
and colony production was found among all the groups (P > 0.05); while the
expression of CD34 and Sca-1 increased in the low-dose XFZYD group, but
in the middle-dose XFZYD group increase only showed in Sca-1 expression.
CONCLUSION: XFZYD plays a role of removing blood stasis and promoting
regeneration through improving hematopoietic function by means of
increasing the number and enhancing the function of premature HSC. PMID:
17633366 [PubMed - in process]

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Herbal Aids for Cancer Review of 7 Herbs That Act As Biological Response Modifiers

The way I make an herbal formulas for a cancer patient is to integrate Western biochemical knowledge about herbs combined with traditional understandings of the herbs. This is done for at least 2 reasons. First it is not enough to just use a single herb or group of herbs for their effects on a certain chemical messenger or part of the immune system. This is incomplete. What happens if that herb is very warm propertied and the patient has a lot of heat to start with so to give that kind of herb would be making a bad situation worse. TCM's (traditional Chinese Mediicne) goal is to balance the body, by nudging the body towards balance the homeostatic mechanisms of the body - all of them - stand a better chance of working more effectively and efficiently. There are exceptions to this where an imbalanced formula can be of benefit. Second, in Chinese Medicine herbs work synergestically together. Chinese medicine's approach is to create harmony within the body systems. Good Chinese medicine is not about reducing herbs to an active ingredient and then extracting that. This inherently leads to imbalances or said another way strong effects and strong side-effects

Also TCM formulas take into account the dynamic balance of the individual. So even if there are strong and possibly toxic anti-cancer herbs there will also be herbs to support assimilation, combat the toxicity and regulate the dynamic balance of the body. The proof of this strategy being effective for a cancer patient can be measured in many ways depending on the situation. The main ways I think about it are quality of life, increase in longevity, less side effects from conventional treatment and better response to conventional treatment. This really is my message about treating cancer patients.


Herbal Aids for Cancer Review of 7 Herbs That Act As Biological Response Modifiers

Cancer treatments are a paradox, on one hand delivering powerful toxicity to a tumor, but on the other spreading toxicity to the rest of the body. The side effects of such treatments may cause death even before the cancer does. Biological response modifiers (BRMs) are compounds that have a unique effect on physiology and can reduce the side effects of cancer treatments, while at the same time increasing their effectiveness.

A BRM repairs damage to the body rather than targeting a pathogenic agent such as cancer. It typically acts by stimulating the immune system to restore optimal function. Many diseases and infections as well as AIDS result from immune surveillance failure. Because chemotherapy compromises the immune system, people receiving cancer treatments run an especially high risk of contracting and dying of infections.

Cytokines, hormones naturally produced in the body, promote immunity and are often used clinically as BRMs—to treat disease, fight viral infections and augment chemotherapy. Three pharmaceutical cytokines currently in use include colony-stimulating factors that reduce the chance of infection and thus the need for antibiotics by stimulating bone marrow to produce more white blood cells; interferons that stimulate macrophages to ingest foreign particles and help the body produce antiviral chemicals; and interleukins that stimulate growth and activation of white blood cells. The therapeutic use of these cytokines, called immunotherapy, as a cancer treatment both with and without standard anti-cancer drugs is marginally successful. Side effects such as depression, nausea and chest pain, however, can limit the effectiveness of some pharmaceutical cytokines.

Many herbs have long been known to affect the immune system, but only recently have scientists considered them as possible BRMs and adjunct cancer therapies. Such herbs often prompt the body's cells to secrete cytokines, which then enhance the immune response. The most promising of these herbs include black cumin, mistletoe, ginseng, astragalus, green tea, echinacea and garlic.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Complimentary cancer strategies an idea

When developing complimentary strategies to treat cancers one way is to understand the action of the drug used to treat it and then look at research into nutrients/supplements and herbs that work on the same cell signalling pathways. An example of this approach is the drug Lapatinib. It works upon the cell signaling proteins that are over-expressed in certain kinds of cancer cells. To be exact, according to Wikipedia, Lapatinib is an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2/neu (ErbB-2) dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

Lapatinib (INN) or lapatinib ditosylate (USAN), also known as GW572016, is an anti-cancer drug developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as a treatment for solid tumours such as breast and lung cancer. It was approved by the FDA on March 13, 2007, for use in patients with advanced metastatic breast cancer in conjunction with the chemotherapy drug Capecitabine (Xeloda TM). It is marketed by GSK in the U.S. as Tykerb and in Europe as Tycerb.

Lapatinib is a once-daily oral drug indicated for women who have received prior treatment with the intravenous drug Trastuzumab (Herceptin TM) and cancer drugs called taxanes and anthracyclines. [1]

In patients with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer that has progressed following treatment with regimens that included an anthracycline, a taxane, and trastuzumab; randomized clinical trial has demonstrated that the addition of lapatinib to capecitabine delayed the time of further cancer growth compared to capecitabine alone.

What if there are natural products that could have similar action?

Here are some links to herbs that work on the same and additional cell signalling pathways to Lapatinib:

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75.Links

Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.

Curcumin exhibits activities similar to recently discovered tumor necrosis factor blockers (e.g., HUMIRA, REMICADE, and ENBREL), a vascular endothelial cell growth factor blocker (e.g., AVASTIN), human epidermal growth factor receptor blockers (e.g., ERBITUX, ERLOTINIB, and GEFTINIB), and a HER2 blocker (e.g., HERCEPTIN). Considering the recent scientific bandwagon that multitargeted therapy is better than monotargeted therapy for most diseases, curcumin can be considered an ideal "Spice for Life".

Curr Oncol. 2006 Jun;13(3):99-107.Click here to read Links

Natural health products that inhibit angiogenesis: a potential source for investigational new agents to treat cancer-Part 2.

Juravinski Cancer Centre and McMaster University (Department of Medicine), Hamilton, Ontario.

The herbalist has access to hundreds of years of observational data on the anticancer activity of many herbs. Laboratory studies are expanding the clinical knowledge that is already documented in traditional texts. The herbs that are traditionally used for anti-cancer treatment and that are anti-angiogenic through multiple interdependent processes (including effects on gene expression, signal processing, and enzyme activities) include Artemisia annua (Chinese wormwood), Viscum album (European mistletoe), Curcuma longa (curcumin), Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap), resveratrol and proanthocyanidin (grape seed extract), Magnolia officinalis (Chinese magnolia tree), Camellia sinensis (green tea), Ginkgo biloba, quercetin, Poria cocos, Zingiber officinalis (ginger), Panax ginseng, Rabdosia rubescens hora (Rabdosia), and Chinese destagnation herbs. Natural health products target molecular pathways other than angiogenesis, including epidermal growth factor receptor, the HER2/neu gene, the cyclo-oxygenase-2 enzyme, the nuclear factor kappa-B transcription factor, the protein kinases, the Bcl-2 protein, and coagulation pathways. Quality assurance of appropriate extracts is essential prior to embarking upon clinical trials. More data are required on dose-response, appropriate combinations, and potential toxicities. Given the multiple effects of these agents, their future use for cancer therapy probably lies in synergistic combinations. During active cancer therapy they should generally be evaluated in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. In this role, they act as modifiers of biologic response or as adaptogens, potentially enhancing the efficacy of the conventional therapies or reducing toxicity. Their effectiveness may be increased when multiple agents are used in optimal combinations. New designs for trials to demonstrate activity in human subjects are required. Although controlled trials may be preferable, smaller studies with appropriate endpoints and surrogate markers for anti-angiogenic response could help to prioritize agents for larger, resource-intensive phase iii trials.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

TCM helps Lung Cancer Patients in conjunction with Chemo.

Ai Zheng. 2005 Oct;24(10):1252-6.Related Articles, Links
Click here to read
[Prognostic analysis of stage III-IV non-small cell lung cancer patients treated by traditional chinese medicine]

Zhou DH, Lin LZ, Zhou YQ, Luo RC, Liu KF, Jia YJ, Chen JY, Niu XW, Su BR, Lu J, Wang ST.

Cancer Center, The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, P. R. China.

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE: Chemotherapy is a treatment for stage III-IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but the efficacy is not ideal. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has certain effect on NSCLC. This study was to investigate various factors that affect the prognosis of advanced NSCLC, and evaluate the role of TCM in enlonging survival time of patients with stage III-IV NSCLC. METHODS: The NSCLC patients who meet the inclusive criteria were randomized into TCM group, combination (TCM plus NP regimen) group, and chemotherapy group, and received relevant treatments. The median survival time (MST) was calculated by Kaplan-Meier method. The prognosis of the patients was analyzed by COX regression method. RESULTS: A total of 294 stage III-IV NSCLC patients were enrolled, of which 99 were in TCM group, 103 in combination group, 92 in chemotherapy group. The MST were 292 days in TCM group, 355 days in combination group, and 236 days in chemotherapy group; the cumulative survival rates were 45.38%, 48.86%, and 42.17%, respectively (P>0.05). Cox regression analysis indicated that therapy, gender, disease course, erythrocyte sedimentation, KPS score, tumor size, and patient's weight were independent prognostic factors of stage III-IV NSCLC. CONCLUSION: Compare with chemotherapy alone, TCM combined with chemotherapy may prolong the survival time of stage III-IV NSCLC patients.

Publication Types:

Friday, July 06, 2007

Chinese medicinal herbs inhibit growth of murine renal cell carcinoma.

Tumors are known to produce factors suppressing immune functions. We previously showed that a murine renal cell carcinoma (Renca) suppressed macrophage function in vitro and that this suppression was abolished by co-incubation with extracts of two Chinese medicinal herbs. We now report that these phytochemicals are capable of inhibiting growth of Renca in vivo. BALB/c mice were transplanted intraperitoneally (IP) with 1-2 x 10(5) Renca cells. One day after tumor transplant, mice were randomized into two groups. One group was treated IP, daily for 10 days, with 100 microliters of phytochemicals containing 500 micrograms each of Astragalus membranaceus and Ligustrum lucidum, while the other group received saline as controls. A cure rate of 57% was obtained with these phytochemicals when the initial tumor load was 2 x 10(5), and 100% when the initial tumor load was 1 x 10(5). Additional experiments were performed to investigate the mechanisms involved in this protection. Splenic macrophages from tumor-bearing mice were shown to have depressed chemiluminescent oxidative burst activity, and this depression was restored with phytochemical treatment. Splenocytes from mice transplanted with Renca responded less favorably to interleukin-2 (IL-2) in generating lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells; again this depression was restored with phytochemical treatment. Our data suggest that these phytochemicals may have exerted their antitumor effects via augmentation of phagocyte and LAK cell activities.

Cancer Biother. 1994 Summer;9(2):153-61.Links

Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, California 92350.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Benefits of Juicing With Recipes

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
--Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)

At HPS Health, there are lists of recipes for juices (combinations of raw fruits and vegetables with some fresh herbs) to address specific ailments such as headache, anemia, fatigue, and gastric ulcers. Other recipe sites include ones promoting delicious taste (this one has a V8 recipe) and those that have, well, interesting combos.

And, for the skeptics, there's a site that gives recipes as well as advice on choosing a juicer. The site? The Stanford Cancer Center, part of the Stanford University Medical System.

According to Stanford, "The best selection of juices comes in nature’s own containers: fresh fruits & vegetables. Fresh juice is loaded with cancer-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins, in a state easily absorbed by the body."

Special thanks to Rebecca at Everyday simplicity for a wonderful post.

American Ginseng Shows Potential to Reduce Cancer Related Fatigue

Science Daily North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) researchers, based at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have generated preliminary data suggesting that a form of American ginseng provides greater improvements in fatigue and vitality in patients who receive the highest doses tested, compared to lower doses or no treatment.

American ginseng. (Credit: iStockphoto/Mike Liu)

The results of their scientifically rigorous pilot study, the first to evaluate the Wisconsin species of American ginseng as a possible therapy for cancer-related fatigue, were presented June 3 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

This press release goes on to explain how most Americans don't pick their herbs and supplements based upon scientific research. So with this study they are trying to shed some light. I Look forward to the full study. Of course those uniformed folks could always ask an expert. Send me an email. I'll answer it. Alex

Fertile Hope

Fertile Hope is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility. The Natural Healing and Acupuncture Clinic was just listed in the Cancer and Fertility Resource Guide.

With 25 percent of breast cancer patients under the age of 45, fertility is of special concern, particularly since new research suggests that pregnancy between six months and two years after breast cancer will not impact survival, and for those who wait 24 months to become pregnant it may actually have a protective effect. In the study, published in the British Medical Journal, 123 women who became pregnant up to two years after treatment showed improved overall survival compared with women who did not get pregnant  with the protective effect most clearly evident for those who waited at least two years to get pregnant.
See article in the June 2005 British Medical Journal, Pregnancy and Cancer a Clinical Review

If you are facing a cancer diagnosis and are pregnant or recovering from pregnancy and want to become pregnant there are many resources we can offer you at the Natural Healing and Acupuncture Clinic to help you with cancer and/or fertility.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Vitamin D and Cancer

Scientists have long noticed that people who live in northerly regions of the world like Buffalo have higher cancer rates than those in places with more sunshine.

A growing amount of research now indicates why: vitamin D.

The “sunshine vitamin” — because our skin produces it when exposed to sunlight — is known for building healthy bones. But, otherwise, the nutrient has never received much attention. That’s likely to change.

Dozens of laboratory and geographical studies in recent years suggest that vitamin D deficiency is common and that the risk of cancer, as well as other illnesses, is higher among individuals with low vitamin D levels....

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Acupuncture vs. Cancer: Re-Engaging the Body's Immune System

Can acupuncture retrain the immune system and brain toward a natural and successful antagonistic approach to dangerous cell growth? Some Oriental medical doctors are now using acupuncture in new ways to help the body's immune system relearn its original "seek and destroy" mission against cancer.

One such doctor, Dr. Wang Fuda, of Greenville Research Clinic in southern Taiwan, currently sees 100-200 patients per day. Over 70 percent of his clinic patrons are cancer patients. Dr. Fuda believes that acupuncture, employed correctly, can retrain the body's immune system to defeat cancer, and correct or erase faulty body signals hospitable to cancer.

Dr. Fuda sees the needle as a homeopathic instrument. The point of the needle is actually perceived by the body as an enemy. As the needle pricks, the body musters its defenses against the invader. Fuda says the trained hand can actually feel the qi energy and body tissue resist penetration of the acupuncture needle. Applied at key points, he believes the immune system can be retrained and reactivated in some people, and this defensive action can be channeled to the site of the cancer. For the rest of the story click the link above.

For more information about Dr. Fuda click here

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nutrition and Cancer: A Review of the Evidence For An Anti-cancer Diet


It has been estimated that 30–40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone. Obesity, nutrient sparse foods such as concentrated sugars and refined flour products that contribute to impaired glucose metabolism (which leads to diabetes), low fiber intake, consumption of red meat, and imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats all contribute to excess cancer risk. Intake of flax seed, especially its lignan fraction, and abundant portions of fruits and vegetables will lower cancer risk. Allium and cruciferous vegetables are especially beneficial, with broccoli sprouts being the densest source of sulforophane. Protective elements in a cancer prevention diet include selenium, folic acid, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, chlorophyll, and antioxidants such as the carotenoids (α-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin). Ascorbic acid has limited benefits orally, but could be very beneficial intravenously. Supplementary use of oral digestive enzymes and probiotics also has merit as anticancer dietary measures. When a diet is compiled according to the guidelines here it is likely that there would be at least a 60–70 percent decrease in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers, and even a 40–50 percent decrease in lung cancer, along with similar reductions in cancers at other sites. Such a diet would be conducive to preventing cancer and would favor recovery from cancer as well.

Acupuncture In Palliative Cancer Care - A study

Acupuncture in Palliative Cancer Care

This study is not yet open for patient recruitment.
Verified by British Columbia Cancer Agency February 2006

Sponsored by: British Columbia Cancer Agency
Information provided by: British Columbia Cancer Agency Identifier: NCT00302185


Research question: Can acupuncture improve symptom control and quality of life (QOL) in patients with advanced incurable cancer?

The purposes of this study is to investigate the feasibility of performing a randomized trial with acupuncture in improving symptom control and quality of life (QOL) in patients with advanced incurable cancer at the BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Island Centre in Victoria.

We will:

  • Evaluate whether subjects who are receiving palliative care for cancer related symptoms can tolerate and complete to a course of acupuncture treatments.
  • Evaluate whether it is possible to conduct a study using acupuncture on cancer patients.
Condition Intervention Phase
Palliative Care
Procedure: Acupuncture
Phase III

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Merged Sciences May Aid Cancer Treatment

(AP) Western science and traditional Eastern medicine could be combined to enhance treatment of cancer and other diseases, an oncology professor told a medical forum Sunday.

But comprehensive clinical studies must be carried out and patients must be educated to accept the combination of methods, Tony Mok Shu Kam, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told participants at a two-day medical forum in Singapore sponsored by the Lancet medical journal.....

A key factor in the integration would be convincing users of traditional medicine that modern science is as good as or better than their centuries-old methods.

A 2004 study in China showed that 49 percent of women who were being treated for breast cancer with traditional Chinese medicine believed it to be an effective treatment for their disease.

Mok also referred to a Chinese trial he was involved in this year in which some prospective patients declined to be part of a placebo control study to test the effectiveness of a traditional medicine when they learned their chances of getting the medicine were only 50-50. They preferred to go to a traditional doctor who would definitely prescribe the treatment they sought.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds

The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson publishes Grand Rounds in many disciplines to the Web. Below are the recent Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds. They are all excellent. If you ever wondered what is going on in alternative medicine cancer clinics around the world check out the first link to Ralph Moss.

View this program live

First Thursdays from 12:00 to 1:00pm MST starting in January

April 11, 2007
Real Player Windows Media
Promising CAM Cancer Clinics Around the World
Ralph Moss, PhD
Presentation will include the discussion of unlabeled/investigational drug use.
April 5, 2007
Real Player Windows Media

Why do researchers tell us CAM does not work
when thousands of patients experience the opposite?
Vinjar Fonnebo, MD, MSc Epidemiology, PhD, NAFKAM, University of Tromso, Norway

March 1, 2007
Accordent video
Integrative Medicine and Biomedicine: Paradigm Shift or Paradigm Clash?
Ian Douglass Coulter, PhD, LHD
Presenter has nothing to disclose
February 1, 2007
Real Player Windows Media
Origin and Clinical Application of the Functional Medicine Model
Jeffrey S. Bland, Ph.D. Chief Science Officer, Metagenics; President, MetaProteomics; Founder, Institute for Functional Health
Disclosure: Presenter has an affiliation or financial interest with Metagenics, Inc.
December 7, 2006
Accordent video
Ethical Issues in CAM and Integrative Medicine
John Tilbert, M.D., M.P.H.
Disclosure: Nnothing to disclose.
November 2, 2006
Accordent video
Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Supplements for Children: What Do We Really Know?
Ben Kigler, M.D.
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.
June 1, 2006
Accordent video
The Quantum Paradigm in Health and Disease
Stuart Hameroff, MD; Professor, Anesthesiology, Psychology; Director, Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.
May 4, 2006
Real Player Windows Media

An Integrative Approach to ADHD
Sandy Newmark, M.D.
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

April 6, 2006
Real Media Windows Media
Clinical Issues: Controversies and Updates in Women's Health and Natural Medicine
Tori Hudson, ND, Professor, The National College of Naturopathic Medicine; Clinical Professor at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Bastyr University
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.
March 2, 2006
Real Media Windows Media
The Darker Side of the Physician's Life
Daniel Shapiro, PhD
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.
February 2, 2006
Real Media Windows Media
Preventing Relapse from Addictive Disorders: The Role of Mindfulness & Acceptance
John Astin
Nothing to disclose.
December 8, 2005
Real Player Windows Media
DSHEA: A 10-Year Retrospective on the Science, Regulation and Politics of Dietary Supplements
Loren Israelsen, JD President, LDI Group, Inc.
Nothing to disclose.
April 9, 1999
Real Media Windows Media
Is Integrative Medicine the Medicine of the Future? A Scholarly Debate
Arnold Relman, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of Medicine &
Andrew Weil M.D.
The University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine

Download real player or windows player player here
to view these video stream files.

Educational Objectives:

Discuss clinical, scientific and/or policy information related to the practice of Integrative Medicine; relevant protocols and/or procedures for patients that will directly improve patient care.
The University of Arizona College of Medicine at the Arizona Health Sciences Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Antioxidants with Chemotherapy

My patients that are receiving chemo. and/or radiotherapy tell me that their Dr's. tell them not to take antioxidant nutritional supplements. Upon investigation it appears that a prescribed known anti-oxidant drug Amifostine is used to protect against the side effects of chemo. and radiation and that antioxidant rich foods are not prohibited by Oncologists during treatment. So the picture of the use of antioxidants may be more nuanced than what Oncologists are saying. Below are literature reviews published in respected journals that shed more light on this issue. Alex

Antioxidants and Other Nutrients Do Not Interfere With Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy and Can Increase Kill and Increase Survival, Part 2 (pdf)
Charles B. Simone II, MD; Nicole L. Simone, MD; Victoria Simone, RN; Charles B. Simone, MD
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine Mar/Apr 2007 • Vol 13, No. 2

Should Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy Be Prescribed Antioxidants?

Ralph W. Moss, PhD Cancer Communications, Lemont, Pennsylvania,
Integrative Cancer Therapies, Vol. 5, No. 1, 63-82 (2006)
I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


A Plan For Building The Immune System

by Lorraine Day, MD.


Cancer doesn't scare me anymore. I had it and got well by natural, simple therapies that you seldom hear about. I refused mutilating surgery, radiation and chemotherapy because studies in the medical literature and common sense told me that you shouldn't destroy your immune system while you are trying to get well.

The following information is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as prescribing treatment. Treatment should be decided by each individual patient under the advice of a health practitioner. However, it is important for individuals to be informed about all options available for treatment and prevention of illness. The underlying basis and documentation for this program of building the Immune system are presented in my video, "Cancer Doesn't Scare Me Anymore."

Cancer is a disease of the immune system. Building the immune system is important in combating cancer as well as many other diseases. Disease is not confined to one organ or area but affects the whole body, as all parts are interconnected. Therefore, therapy must be a holistic approach to improve all body systems. A "magic bullet" approach rarely works for any significant illness. The following regimen will help build the Immune system for those who are ill or will help prevent disease in those not presently ill.

This Is a brief synopsis of the basic three part plan:
I) High quality nutritional intake.
a) A diet of vegetables, fruit, grains and nuts organically grown without pesticides and
prepared to maintain the maximum nutrition outlined in detail in my video including
specifics of the Gerson therapy with references provided. (Also, see Health and Healing
Newsletter, February 1995 Supplement)
b) If it can be tolerated by the intestines, at least 50% of food should be eaten raw including large quantities of fresh vegetable juices.
c) Elimination of all processed food, as well as sugar and salt.

2) Elimination of toxins from the body by colon cleansing with either enemas, colonics, colon cleansing and/or a high fiber diet.

3) Elimination of toxins from the local environment, including removal of toxic cleaning chemicals from the house and replacement with less toxic or nontoxic biodegradable cleaners.

Many other specific individual nutritional therapies and supplements including barley green, Essiac tea and. shark cartilage are helpful in certain instances and are presented in some detail in the video with numerous resources provided. Many have found that a basic regimen incorporating this three point plan with the addition of specific supplements, depending on the condition, has resulted in major improvement and even elimination of many diseases, including cancer.

If it were only this easy as Dr. Day describes it. I am not diminishing her story, but each person with cancer is unique, if it were just as easy as cleaning up the diet to cure cancer it would have been done. I do think everyone should follow the above recommendations. I am not willing to write off conventional care as much as Dr. Day and Dr. Whitaker are. Where I do think conventional care misses the boat is: 1) treating the whole person as a person, not just the disease. and 2) Use of herbs and nutritional supplements alongside of chemo and radiation. Alex



We know that conventional therapy doesn’t work—if it did you would not fear cancer any more than you fear pneumonia. It is the utter lack of certainty as to the outcome of conventional treatment that virtually screams for more freedom of choice in the area of cancer therapy. Yet most so-called alternative therapies regardless of potential or proven benefit, are outlawed, which forces patients to submit to the failures we know don’t work, because there is no other choice.

The FDA, NCI and ACS, and the large treatment centres work to eliminate choice of cancer therapies, particulary better ones. They openly attack breakthroughs made by "mavericks", which they define as anyone outside their ranks. Folks, any serious study of how these entities work together to destroy hopeful approaches to cancer reveals a trail of corruption, conspiracy, dishonesty, and inhumanity that warrants desigantion of evil……..We continue to use them not because they work, but because those who perform them have so vigorously eliminated any other choice.

What I wouldn’t do if I had cancer

First, I would not even check in with a conventional oncologist, particulary not one from a prominent cancer institution. Their expertise is in implementing the erroneous paradigm that cancer must be purged from the body with toxic methods. This is, in my opinion, no more valuable than maps from the Flat Earth Society. When there is a paradigm shift---and we definitely are in the middle of one with cancer treatment---those sitting on the lofty perches of authority are the last to make the change, because they are guarding the paradigm about to be replaced. I don’t buy maps of a flat earth, and I wouldn’t go to the NCI or Memorial Sloan-Kettering Centre for cancer treatment.

What I Would Do.

I’d turn my back on 50 years of institutionalised expertise, because it follows the wrong paradigm. Everything that is done in medicine today or in any other discipline fits some paradigm. The paradigm I use for cancer is that it is a systemic problem in which the normal control mechanisms of your body are altered. Your immune system likely bears the largest burden for this control; thus, all techniques that enhance it are promising. Those that damage it are not.

"Conventional Medicine is locked into a dogma that believes that its way is the only way. Conventional doctors deny you have any alternatives to their drugs and surgeries. But you do have choices. And these enlightened treatments are far superior to the risky methods of modern medicine. . .which can be extremely dangerous to your well-being. . . . This enlightened new approach to health will lead contemporary medicine out of the Dark Ages of drugs and surgery, because it does work better. I know, because I use these alternative therapies every day in my medical practice. . . .Many of the patients I see are 'medical refugees' who have been abused and abandoned by conventional medicine. . . .The results we see are truly impressive, more so than with any drugs and conventional treatments they gave us in medical school. . . .The 'drugs or surgery only' approach that modern medicine uses to treat today's diseases is archaic."—Julian Whitaker, M.D.