Probiotics May Mitigate Deadly Effects of Chemotherapy

Probiotics May Help Lessen Chemo Side Effects
Probiotics May Help Lessen Chemo Side Effects

In what is being heralded as a “cancer breakthrough,” a new study revealed that maintaining a healthy intestine could be the key to surviving chemotherapy. As explained on, University of Michigan researchers have discovered that naturally produced cells found in the intestine are integral to the body’s ability to survive chemotherapy’s onslaught of poisonous chemicals.

The problem with chemotherapy and radiation in cancer treatment is that the patient is likely to die before he is cured. In a study with mice, Michigan researchers found that a naturally-occurring intestinal substance — called Rspo1 or R-spondon1 — triggers the production of stem cells.

The body’s building blocks, stem cells carry the genetic code vital to tissue creation and regeneration. When activated during chemotherapy, R-spondon1 triggered the repair of damaged intestinal tissues faster than tissues were being destroyed by chemotherapy, thus increasing chemo survival rates in experiments with mice. In the Michigan study, 50% to 75% of the mice that received R-spondon1 survived a fatal dose of chemotherapy.

Michigan researchers believe that since human and mouse intestines behave in much the same way, humans should respond in a similar manner. The key to making the system work is good intestinal health which is promoted by healthy gut bacteria. Probiotics, which promote the growth of healthy natural intestinal bacteria, create an intestinal environment that supports cell regeneration, enhancing your body’s ability to survive chemotherapy.

Probiotics could spark a new wave of body-boosting alternative cancer treatments. Just as Issels’ cancer vaccine program enhances the body’s immune system, increasing its ability to fight cancer; probiotics enhance the natural immune response of the intestinal tract, boosting the body’s ability to survive chemotherapy.

Immunotherapy Offers Healthy Solution to Cancer Over-Treatment

Cancer Advancements at the Genetic Level
Cancer Advancements at the Genetic Level

Scientific advancements in genetic research and screening tests now makes it possible to detect abnormalities at the cellular level; however, as previously noted, detection of an abnormality does not necessarily indicate cancer. Yet America’s defensive approach to cancer treatment encourages surgical removal and aggressive treatment of abnormalities with chemotherapy and/or radiation when a “wait and see” approach could be healthier for the patient. Radical cancer treatments carry their own medical risks. Given the onerous side effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, for many cancer patients the “cure” can be more damaging than the disease.

This is particularly true of certain precancerous conditions and slow growing cancers that are unlikely to impact the patient’s health during his or her lifetime. In such cases, traditional cancer treatments present a far greater risk to the patient’s health and well-being. Ongoing research will eventually increase our ability to determine which tumors require treatment and which are unlikely to be dangerous and can be watched or effectively ignored, but an alternative cancer therapy offers an immediate solution.

Integrative immunotherapy is regarded by both traditional and alternative cancer experts as the future of cancer treatment and the most likely avenue to a cure for cancer. Unlike chemotherapy and radiation which attack and can harm the body, immunotherapy works with the body, boosting the body’s immune system and its natural ability to fight off cancer cells. Even when the path of abnormal cells is not known, immunotherapy follows the primary medical precept: Do no harm. And increasing the effectiveness of the immune system may actually be a determining factor in preventing abnormal cells from becoming cancerous.

Do Cancer Screenings Result in Overtreatment?


Medical Testing Results Review
Medical Testing Results Review

In recommending that cancer be redefined to reflect new knowledge and that certain conditions no longer be branded as cancer (see our previous post), a National Cancer Institute advisory panel expressed concern that America’s defensive approach to medicine has lead to over-screening for cancer and that cancer screenings are too often resulting in unnecessary treatment.

The panel’s concern was twofold:

  1. Today’s cancer screenings use a level of technology capable of detecting  abnormalities at the cellular level. The problem is that the human body is full of abnormalities; however, not all abnormalities are cancerous nor will most become cancerous.
  2. Americans are so conditioned to think worst-case scenario when cancer is diagnosed that they are unwilling to take a “wait and see” approach. They insist on surgery or other radical treatments such as chemotherapy and  radiation that carry their own significant health risks. In fact, fear of cancer is causing some people to undergo surgery even when no cancer is evident, as was the case earlier this year when actress Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy after discovering that she carries a gene that increases breast cancer risk.

In making its recommendation, the advisory panel stated:

“The word ‘cancer’ often invokes the specter of an inexorably lethal process. However, cancers are heterogeneous and can follow multiple paths, not all of which progress to metastases and death.”

As noted on CNN Health, 10% of localized lung cancer tumors, 20% to 30% of localized breast cancer tumors and 60% of prostate cancer tumors discovered by screening will never harm their victims.

Next time: Differentiating between harmful and benign tumors

Cancer Experts Recommend Updating Cancer Definitions

Getting News of Cancer
Getting News of Cancer

There is no more emotionally charged and frightening word than cancer. When spoken in a doctor’s office, patients immediately assume the worst and start counting their days. Most patients consider a cancer diagnosis a death sentence. When cancer screenings detect an abnormality they panic, subjecting their bodies to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in a desperate bid to live. And even if they survive cancer, most live in constant fear that it will return.

A National Cancer Institute advisory panel sent shock waves coursing through the cancer community this week when scientists recommended that:

  1. The definition of cancer be redefined and updated to reflect modern scientific and medical findings. One of the problems with cancer diagnosis, Dr. Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society’s chief medical officer, told CNN Health is that oncologists are still using cancer definitions developed in the 1850s. Back then, cancer typically spread through the body before it was diagnosed. Today, cancer screening methods allow oncologists to examine minute samples measured in millimeters. In evaluating such small tissue samples, natural abnormalities can be misdiagnosed as cancer.
  2. The diagnoses of certain illnesses be changed to eliminate cancer references or cancer language. In other words, some diseases currently defined as cancer would no longer be considered cancerous. As explained in a CBS News report, there are certain potentially pre-cancerous conditions that carry only a slight risk of becoming cancerous. Yet because they are defined as “cancer,” “carcinoma” or “neoplasia” patients panic and often undergo unnecessary surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, frequently suffering damaging side effects.

Next time: Do cancer screenings result in overtreatment

Targeted Cell Therapy Could End Need for Chemotherapy

New Artificial T Cells
New Artificial T-Cells

Immunotherapy is changing the cancer treatment landscape. Advancements in targeted cell therapy may make chemotherapy obsolete within our lifetime. The biggest problem with traditional cancer treatments — chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — is that they destroy healthy tissue along with diseased cancerous tissue. By shifting the battle field from the tissue level to the cellular level, targeted cell therapy aims to destroy only cancerous cells, leaving healthy cells whole and untouched.

Like other immunotherapy cancer treatments, targeted cell therapy makes use of the body’s own disease-fighting mechanism, the immune system. The immune system employs two methods of fighting cancer and other pathogens that attack the body:

  • The immune system floods the area under attack with antibodies, free-floating proteins that search out and lock onto invading pathogens.
  • T-cells generated by the immune system seek out and destroy invading pathogens.

While some immunotherapy treatments focus on boosting the effectiveness of the body’s immune system, targeted cell therapy concentrates on the immune system’s most lethal soldiers, T-cells. The cancer community is improving its ability to direct T-cell receptors to target, bind to and destroy very specific types of cells, including cancer cells.

As reported previously, the British company Immunocore has engineered an artificial T-cell receptor that readily binds cancer cells to T-cells without interfering with healthy cells. Immunocore’s artificial receptor differentiates cancerous from healthy cells by recognizing the unique patterns of small proteins that protrude from the surface of different types of cells.

Issels Integrated Oncology offers two Autologous Dendritic Cell Vaccines that harness the body’s immune system and its cancer-annihilating T-cells to fight cancer at the cellular level.

Immunotherapy Could Be Key to Beating Pancreatic Cancer

Immunotherapy May Be The Key To Success With Pancreatic Cancer
Immunotherapy May Be The Key To Success With Pancreatic Cancer

With a mortality rate of 96%, pancreatic cancer is considered the deadliest type of cancer, all but incurable. But a growing number of studies suggest that an alternative cancer treatment, immunotherapy, may hold the key to beating this typically fatal form of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society estimates, pancreatic cancer is expected to kill an estimated 38,500 Americans this year.

But hope may be on the horizon. An increasing body of research suggests that bacterial infections, particularly in the stomach and gums, play a significant role in the development of pancreatic cancer and may even act as a trigger for the disease.

Cancer researchers have been searching for a link between known risk factors for pancreatic cancer: smoking, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, alcoholism and pancreatitis — without success until now. As reported in Live Science, that link may be the presence of two specific bacteria:

  • Helicobacter pylori which has been linked to stomach cancer and peptic ulcers, and
  • Porphyrmomonas gingivalis which has been linked to poor dental hygiene and gum disease.

Scientists now believe that these bacteria affect the body’s immune system, promoting widespread infection and preventing the immune system from defending the body. The primary risk factors of pancreatic cancer are already known to weaken immune system response. The combination of an already weakened immune system and a virulent bacterial attack may simply overwhelm the body’s ability to fight back, promoting the growth of cancer cells in the pancreas.

Immunotherapy to boost the immune system may provide the best hope of remission and possible recovery from pancreatic cancer and other cancers linked to immune system response.


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