Natural healing, natural wellness

Archive for May, 2010

Angiogenesis Inhibiting Drug Danger

After further research on angiogenesis inhibitors, especially those in the form of drugs, I’m beginning to think that cancer patients should use them with caution. This is because some studies show that while they do initially cause tumors to shrink, the cancer cells may later invade healthy tissue nearby because the angiogenesis inhibiting drugs were too effective. By preventing the growth and spread of the blood vessel network tumors need to derive their nutrients from, the angiogenesis inhibitors were, in effect, starving them. In a survival reflex, the cancer fights back by trying to establish itself in other areas of the body.

Angiogenesis inhibitors are not cytotoxic, meaning that they do not attack and kill the tumors per se. In conventional cancer treatment, they are normally used together with other therapies, such as chemotherapy and even aromatase inhibitors, to fight the cancer. It looks like the goal should still be to kill the tumor outright, rather than just deprive it of its blood network and food supply.

Starve Tumors To Death!

Practically everybody will have cancer in their bodies at some stage in their lives. They just may be blissfully unaware of it because the mutant cells never grow large enough to develop into a troublesome disease. “In autopsy studies of people who died in car accidents, up to 40% of women between age 40 and 50 have microscopic cancers in the breast, and about 50% of men in their fifties and sixties have them in their prostate glands,” says Dr. William Li, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation. “By the time we reach our seventies, virtually 100% of us will have microscopic cancers in our thyroid glands. We probably form microscopic cancers in our bodies all the time. We just don’t know it.”

Most cancers remain about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, one critical reason being that they are unable to grow further without a blood supply. Tumors need to grow blood vessels in order to feed and spread. However, healthy bodies have natural antiangiogenic mechanisms which regulate angiogenesis, the process through which our bodies create new blood vessels.

Angiogenesis is an essential part of a normal, functioning body. In healthy people, new blood vessels grow only under specific conditions, for instance as part of the healing process for an injury, or during pregnancy. Healthy individuals have a natural system of checks and balances – known to scientists as angiogenesis stimulators and inhibitors – to regulate the growth of blood vessels.  Explains Dr. Li, “The stimulators act as natural fertilizers to get vessels to grow, and the inhibitors prune back extra vessels when they’re no longer needed”.

Forty years ago, Dr. Judah Folkman – Dr. Li’s mentor – presented his thesis in the New England Journal of Medicine that a growing tumor could be “starved to death” by cutting off its blood supply. That theory was initially met with scepticism. Today, every major pharmaceutical company has an angiogenesis program. The first FDA-approved antiangiogenic cancer drug, Avastin, is well-established.There are 12 antiangiogenic drugs on the market for cancer treatment, with some 26 more in the final stages of human testing and another 100-plus behind them in human trials.

You can boost your body’s ability to produce angiogenesis inhibitors. Natural antiangiogenic food sources or angiogenesis inhibitor food sources include:

Green Tea
Red Grapes
Red wine
Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale etc.)
Soy beans
Sea Cucumber
Olive Oil
Grapeseed oil
Omega 3s (salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, cod, sardine)
Dark chocolate
Mushrooms (Maitake, Reishi, Agaricus subrufescens also known as Agaricus Blazei Murill Mushroom or Almond mushroom or Himematsutake /Japanese “princess matsutake”, Trametes versicolor or Turkey Tail in the United States or Yun Zhi in Chinese, Phellinus linteus or Japanese “meshimakobu” or Chinese “song gen” or Korean “sanghwang”).

This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good start. I hear a bar of dark chocolate calling to me right now and, for my own good, I should give it my undivided attention!

Freeze The Suckers Dead!

This is exciting news for people with breast cancer. Research conducted by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center has shown that freezing tumors with a cold probe can stop cancer dead in its tracks. As a bonus, when this cancer treatment method is utilized, it generates an immune response that helps stop the cancer’s spread, improving the patient’s chances of survival after surgery.

The study appears online in “Annals of Surgical Oncology”. Two different cryoablation – or cryosurgery – techniques were employed in the study involving mice with breast cancer, and the results were compared to results from mice whose tumors were removed with surgery. One method involves freezing the tumor rapidly, in about 30 seconds; the other freezes the tumor slowly, taking a few minutes.

The breast tumor was successfully killed with both cryoablation techniques. The mice treated with the rapid freeze had fewer tumors that spread to the lungs and improved survival compared to mice treated with surgery alone or mice treated with the slower freezing technique. The study showed that the benefit from the rapid freezing is likely due to changes in the immune system that help to kill the tumor. The immune system did not seem as able to kill the tumor when the slower freezing technique was used.

A clinical trial using cryoablation in patients with breast cancer is now underway. In this trial, researchers use the rapid freezing technique. Cryoablation is currently used routinely for prostate cancer, kidney cancer and a variety of cancers that have spread to the liver and bone.

“Cryoablation has strong potential as a treatment for breast cancer. Not only does it appear effective in treating the primary tumor with little cosmetic concerns, but it also may stimulate an immune response capable of eradicating any cells that have traveled throughout the body, reducing both local and distant recurrence, similar to giving a breast cancer vaccine,” says lead study author Michael Sabel, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School.

“What we learned in this study is that all cryoablation is not equal. The technique used to freeze the tissue can have a significant impact on how the immune system responds. The system we use today appears to be ideal for both destroying the tumor within the breast and generating an anti-cancer immune response,” Sabel says.

University of Michican (U-M) researchers are participating in a national clinical trial to evaluate using cryoablation for early stage breast cancer. Participants will undergo rapid freezing of their tumor, and their blood samples will be analyzed to assess changes in their immune system. All participants will be treated three to four weeks later with standard surgery to remove their tumor.

For more information about the study, contact the U-M Cancer AnswerLine at 800-865-1125. To read the source article  about how freezing breast tumors helps stop cancer spread , visit the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center website.