Is The Present Day Cancer Treatment Based on Faulty and Inadequate Science?

Fall-into-hole

Albert Einstein is said to have defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. This great scientist went on to say that “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”

You may interpret the above quotations anyway you like and for whatever reason or circumstances you like. Let me put them in the perspective of my own work – herbal therapy for cancer. If I have patients coming to me  every day and I prescribe  A, B or C to them and they don’t get well. I must be a real idiot to keep on giving out the same A, B or C to them again and again hoping that one day someone get cured!

To avoid being an idiot, I tell patients to stop taking our herbs if they feel that they are NOT getting any better after two or three weeks. We do not want to mislead you nor waste your precious time. I take this stance because I really believe in what Einstein said.

There is another lesson I learnt from Einstein. To him complex problems may not need complex answers. There can  just be a simple answer to it! But the problem is, many people in this world want to believe that a complex problem must have a “scientific, complicated and complex” answer. That is why we end up with having “experts.”

These so-called experts are highly educated people who talk a language that you and I may not understand. They make things to appear complicated and complex (so that their expertise are always required!)  Let me repeat, any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It needs a real touch of humility, courage and a lot of common sense to see things differently. In short, complex problem can just be solved simply! Unfortunately again, to many people simple answers are not impressive – too good to be true!

For the past week,  I spent some time surfing the net in addition to reading a book.  I have shared with you what I read about the insights of Professor Paul Davies in the previous posting, Looking At Cancer Through the Eyes of a Physical Scientist, Stop thinking cancer as a disease! I don’t think we need to cure cancer.

I must admit I don’t know if I am happy or I am angry after reading all these. Perhaps a mixture of both.

I am happy, because I thought the experts have decided to wake up and they don’t want to be insane (as defined above) anymore. For the past many decades the cancer problem was handled by “experts” who make things more complex and violent. And the result was dismal. Then not too long ago, someone important decided that perhaps non-cancer experts could provide a better solution to the present day cancer problem. They have decided that it is time to see things from outside the box. For that, I am real glad.

Why was I angry at the same time? If you hear stories day in and day out that people don’t get better because of someone else’s “insanity” you cannot help but become angry – why does the world allow or even encourage such a thing to happen? I don’t have to answer that question! Some patients know why.

And to make things even worse, alternative healers  who propose something “effective” but outside the norm or prevailing paradigm are labeled as quacks or snake oil peddlers.

In this second posting, I ask this question: is the present day cancer treatment based on faulty and inadequate science? I don’t have to answer that question either. Here are some research papers that I came across. Bear with me if you find it difficult to understand the jargons used and the ideas beside the reports.

In a paper, Cancer treatment as a game published in Physical Biology, 2012, Paul Orlando et al wrote:

  • Chemotherapy for metastatic cancer commonly fails due to evolution of drug resistance in tumor cells.
  • We view cancer treatment as a game in which the oncologists choose a therapy and tumors ‘choose’ an adaptive strategy.

Read more: http://iopscience.iop.org/1478-3975/9/6/065007/article

In a paper by Ariosto Silva et al (Cancer Res; 72(24); 6362–70. 2012.)

  • Many cancers adapt to chemotherapeutic agents by upregulating membrane efflux pumps that export drugs from the cytoplasm, but this response comes at an energetic cost. Chemoresistant cells must consume excess resources to maintain resistance mechanisms.
  • In breast cancer patients, expression of these pumps is low in tumors before therapy but increases after treatment.
    • The authors proposed a new method of treatment which they called “adaptive therapy.” They wrote: “Our findings challenge the existing flawed paradigm of maximum dose treatment, a strategy that inevitably produces drug resistance.”

Source: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/72/24/6362.abstract)

What is adaptive therapy?

  • At the moment, the future of cancer research seems to be centered in the field of targeted chemotherapy. However, it is evident that currently neither conventional nor targeted chemotherapies will suffice against resilient tumors. 
  • Conventional therapies generally aim for maximum cell death in the shortest amount of time using fixed regimens of drugs designed to eliminate as much of the tumor mass as possible under tolerable levels of toxicity to the patient. 
  • However, our perception of cancer has begun to change. It is becoming increasingly evident that an individual’s cancer can be viewed as a Darwinian ecosystem containing a heterogeneous mixture of genetically distinct cancer cell types that compete amongst each other for space and resources. 
  • This competition, combined with conditions within the tumor micro-environment and cancer phenotypes conducive to increased DNA damage, stimulate the rapid evolution of tumor lineages. Unfortunately, this often renders current therapies ineffective against highly adaptable cancers that quickly develop resistant cell types. 
  •  Adaptive Therapy, a relatively new field of cancer treatment, has the potential to counteract cancer’s ability to adapt. 
  • When intensive drug regimens are applied, the competition pressure of the chemosensitive cells is removed. This allows the resistant cells to proliferate freely, essentially dooming the patient. 
  • An adaptive approach would take advantage of this discrepancy in fitness to hold the overall population of cancer cells at a low constant, avoiding the possibility of tumors consisting entirely of resistant cells. Essentially, the ultimate goal of adaptive therapy would be to manage a tumor mass efficiently by administering drugs in a dynamic regimen tailored to each individual cancer, thereby allowing the patient to effectively outlive the cancer by managing its growth over time.

Source: http://islaslab.blogspot.com/2011/05/cancer-management-through-adaptive.html

In another paper, Adaptive therapy (Cancer Research, 69:4894-903,2009) Gatenby et al. wrote:

  • A number of successful systemic therapies are available for treatment of disseminated cancers. However, tumor response is often transient, and therapy frequently fails due to emergence of resistant populations. The latter reflects the temporal and spatial heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment as well as the evolutionary capacity of cancer phenotypes to adapt to therapeutic perturbations.
  • Although cancers are highly dynamic systems, cancer therapy is typically administered according to a fixed, linear protocol.
  • If resistant populations are present before administration of therapy, treatments designed to kill maximum numbers of cancer cells remove this inhibitory effect and actually promote more rapid growth of the resistant populations.
  • We present an alternative approach in which treatment is continuously modulated to achieve a fixed tumor population. The goal of adaptive therapy is to enforce a stable tumor burden by permitting a significant population of chemosensitive cells to survive so that they, in turn, suppress proliferation of the less fit but chemoresistant subpopulations. 

In a paper, Physics of cancer – the impact of heterogeneity, Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics, Vol. 3: 363-382, 2012, Qiucen Zhang and Robert Austin wrote:

  • It is a common mistake to view cancer as a single disease with a single possible cure which we have just not found yet.
  • In reality cancer takes on many forms that share a common symptom: uncontrolled cell growth and successful invasion of cancer colonies to remote regions of the body.
  • The key reason why we may never be able to defeat cancer may lie in the extreme heterogeneity of the population of the cells in a tumor: there is no one magic bullet.
  • All malignant cancers… are fundamentally governed by Darwinian dynamics.
  • The process of carcinogenesis requires genetic instability and highly selective local microenvironments, the combination of which promotes somatic evolution.
  • These microenvironmental forces, specifically hypoxia (low oxygen conditions), acidosis and reactive oxygen species, are not only highly selective, but are also able to induce genetic instability.
  • As a result, malignant cancers are dynamically evolving clades of cells living in distinct microhabitats that almost certainly ensure the emergence of therapy-resistant populations.
  • Cytotoxic cancer therapies also impose intense evolutionary selection pressures on the surviving cells and thus increase the evolutionary rate. 

Gillies et al ( Nat Rev Cancer. 12: 487-93, 2012) in their paper Evolutionary dynamics of carcinogenesis and why targeted therapy does not work.

Eric Schuur in his blog post Time to Rethink Cancer Therapy? on 28 November 2012 wrote:

  • The feeling of frustration in chasing cancer up the path only to have it resurrect out of seemingly nowhere still further upstream is a signal to me. I have sensed in this frustration a signal to think about cancer pathogenesis and treatment in new ways, like I’m sure others have.
  • Recently I have been gratified to hear a number of researchers propose new views of what cancer is and new strategies for treating it.
  • I have been a member of a tumor microenvironment interest group for a while, mostly to keep an ear to the ground in that area. Having spent many years trying to grow cancer cells in various ways, it is clear to me that they depend heavily on their microenvironment to survive.
  • I noticed a few publications suggesting that resistance to chemical therapy may be mediated by more than just the response of the tumor cells. These studies suggest that the tumor microenvironment may provide protection from anti-cancer agents by secreting of growth factors from stromal cells intermingled with the tumor cells.
  • In one study, WNT16B growth factor secretion was induced in stromal fibroblasts, which in turn protected the cancer cells from programmed cell death.
  • Rethinking cancer therapy has been proposed by Robert Gatenby and colleagues for some time.

Source:  http://mendelspod.com/blog/time-to-rethink-cancer-therapy#sthash.EvaA1gqw.dpbs

Comments

Let me briefly summarise what these researchers said.

1. Chemotherapy for metastatic cancer commonly fails due to evolution of tumour cells to become  drug resistant.

2. So going to the oncologist is like playing a game .. the oncologists choose a therapy and the tumors ‘choose’ an adaptive strategy. A famous Singapore oncologist put it in a different way – It is just like buying a lottery hoping to strike a jackpot!

3. When chemo drugs are pumped into you, the cancer cells work overtime to pump out the drugs from their cells. If no chemo drugs were applied, the pump activity was low. This activity increased after chemo treatment. Increased activity means the cells need more energy – will this not make your MORE sick?

4. The researchers said that the commonly practised maximum-dose-shoot-to-kill treatment is flawed.  Oncologists have been doing this for years. And the patients are made to believe that the stronger the dosage of poison used the higher the chances of  “cure.” And that practice has now been challenged!

5. Now there is a new buzz word —  the future of cancer research seems to be centered in the field of targeted chemotherapy.  Take note of the terminology used nowadays, Targeted Therapy! However, it is evident that currently neither conventional nor targeted chemotherapies will suffice against resilient tumors. Target therapy make a lot of money but for patients I don’t see much meaningful results. Very often, we see disappointment. Why?

6. The researchers provide the answer:  tumor response is often transient, and therapy frequently fails due to emergence of resistant populations. Why are they resistant to the chemo-drugs? The latter reflects the temporal and spatial heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment as well as the evolutionary capacity of cancer phenotypes to adapt to therapeutic perturbations.

7. Is the kill-all-cancer-cells strategy that is done today the correct approach? Not so. You don’t have to kill all the cancer cells in your body. The goal of adaptive therapy is to enforce a stable tumor burden by permitting a significant population of chemosensitive cells to survive so that they, in turn, suppress proliferation of the less fit but chemoresistant subpopulations.

8. It is a common mistake to view cancer as a single disease with a single possible cure which we have just not found yet. The key reason why we may never be able to defeat cancer may lie in the extreme heterogeneity of the population of the cells in a tumor: there is no one magic bullet.

9. The process of cancer that occurs in your body requires genetic instability and highly selective local microenvironments, the combination of which promotes somatic evolution. Hypoxia (low oxygen conditions), acidosis and reactive oxygen species … are also able to induce genetic instability. Don’t blame it all on only the  genes. You don’t have to remove your two beautiful breasts trying to prevent cancer! O, poor actress? There are MORE to it than just the genes.

10. Malignant cancers are dynamically evolving … living in distinct microhabitats that almost certainly ensure the emergence of therapy-resistant populations. Cytotoxic cancer therapies also impose intense evolutionary selection pressures on the surviving cells and thus increase the evolutionary rate. Take note, cytotoxic cancer therapies also contribute to this problem! You don’t cure cancer – you make cancer – with chemotherapy!

11. At long last, someone –  Eric Schuur in his blog post said: Time to Rethink Cancer Therapy? Having spent many years trying to grow cancer cells in various ways, it is clear to me that they depend heavily on their microenvironment to survive. Cancer treatment is not just about KILLING cancer cells. There is more to this!

12. If there is one message you need to know, here it is: Chemotherapy Spreads Cancer and Makes It More Aggressive.  (Click link to read more.)

If you have appetite for more, read my next post: Quotations from: NEVER FEAR CANCER AGAIN.

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The Cancer Odyssey: Discovering Truth and Inspiration on the Way to Wellness

Cancer Odyssey

If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting… and set out on a truth-seeking journey, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue,
and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher,
and if you are prepared … to face … some very difficult realities about yourself …
then truth will not be withheld from you. (From the movie Eat, Pray, Love).

 

The Author: Margeret B. Bermel, MBA

She lives on Long Island with her husband and cats. She graduated from Marywood University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Music. She is an MBA from Hofstra University, a First Degree Black Belt, and an avid golfer.

In 2009, Margeret was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and her world suddenly changed.  She started to chronicle her discoveries.  She stumbled upon the dirty secret of the cancer industry:  chemotherapy does not work.  As her research progressed to the discovery of the truths about conventional treatment, she also opened up to the inspiration that life offers to us all on a daily basis, if only we pay attention.  She started blogging about her discoveries.  The book unfolded as her journey unfolded.

Her Book

In October 2009, the surgeon leaned over me in the recovery room and shouted, “It was malignant.”  My husband then leaned over me and whispered gently, but with conviction, “We WILL grow old together.”  That day was the start of my journey through the labyrinth of the cancer industry.  The Cancer Odyssey: Discovering Truth and Inspiration on the Way to Wellness chronicles my journey, searching both for truth about the cancer industry, and for inspiration about the purpose of life.  

  • This is a book of survival, a book of encouragement to show others in this situation how to live and how not to die.
  • This book is about how to be brave enough to resist the pressure of the medical “standard of care”, how to explain to well-meaning family and friends that you are going against conventional medicine, how to be open enough to find inspiration in life and to achieve happiness.  This is the only way to survive cancer.
  • This book is a blueprint to help others to overcome the fear of cancer and to return to wellness, by finding their own truth and their own inspiration.
  • This book offers an approach to dealing with cancer from a new viewpoint – to empower people to challenge the medical advice of chemotherapy that most people have unquestioningly accepted as the only option.  It encourages people to question and research, and to take their health care decisions into their own hands, because survival depends upon making the right decision.
  • The author is a survivor by choice, sheer luck, profound faith, and determination.  She is an ordinary person who was called upon to do the extraordinary:  overcome cancer and live to tell the story.

Why She Wrote this Book

  • To raise enough reasonable doubt about the motives and ineffectiveness of the cancer industry in approaching this disease so that people will start to question the “standard of care” treatment—chemotherapy.
  • To challenge the readers to suspend their belief system in the traditional approach to cancer.  At one time or another, everyone will hear a doctor tell them that they or a loved one have cancer and that they need chemotherapy.
  • To help others who suddenly find themselves caught in the same situation that I suddenly found myself in over a year ago:  the cancer trap.
  • My mission is to encourage people to ask questions and receive answers that are satisfactory to them.  I think it is important to both listen to your gut and to learn about various options.  I am not a medical practitioner and I cannot offer any medical advice or recommendations.  I can only encourage people to find the treatment that is right for them.  Although I am a strong proponent of natural treatments, in some circumstances the conventional treatments may be appropriate.  My intention is to help people set their fear aside to enable them to approach this challenge with the strength to ask the questions that need to be asked, in your situation, “How will this treatment help ME?

 The Message She Wants You to Know

  • We must stop going along with the conventional “inside the box” thinking, that chemo is the correct knee-jerk reaction to cancer.  It is not, and we must challenge it.  Chemotherapy is NOT the solution that people believe it is.
  • The cancer industry is complacent. There is no motivation to improve the product line because business is booming.  With ‘early detection’ marketing, more and more people are diagnosed with cancer every day.  People are buying what they think they need.  There is no reason to make “a better mousetrap.”
  • Big Pharma is the driving force behind the millions of futile treatments and resultant deaths … people should finally start asking questions and demand answers, and stop dying.
  • Chemotherapy is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon the American public.   The Big Pharma-FDA complex must be exposed as a cartel colluding, not on curing cancer, but on generating profits.
  • Cancer treatment is the Rolls-Royce of the medical profession.  This is where the real money is.  Oncologists are the Rolls-Royce sales team of the cancer industry.  What will it take to get you into this car today?  What will it take to get you to sign up for chemotherapy today?  Very strong sales tactics. A sense of urgency.  Scare tactics.
  • It is not about altruism.  It’s about “show me the money.”  People need to hear this message before making the very real life and death decision about chemotherapy.  The war against the cancer industry is the real “battle for truth, justice and the American way.”  Think of chemotherapy as kryptonite.  It is toxic.  It can harm healthy cells and organs.  It can kill the cancer.  It can also kill the patient.
  • Does chemotherapy work?  Maybe, sometimes, with some specific cancers.  But very often, it does not work. Some cancer cells may die, but the collateral damage is the patient’s life.
  • Approximately 600,000 Americans die each year ostensibly from “cancer”—but are they actually dying from the treatment?  A very provocative question.
  • Everything we thought we knew about chemo didn’t come from data sources, it comes from media sources fed by the pharmaceutical companies selling their wares.
  • Chemotherapy may be the correct choice in a particular situation, but it should be a “choice” and not a “given.”  The choice should be made only after a thorough review of all facts and all options.  The oncologist, much like a salesman, will try to create a sense of urgency in order to make the sale.  Recognize this as a sales tactic and don’t succumb to it.  Insist upon taking the time to do your research.
  • Who is the FDA protecting us from?  If no one was dying in this country from cancer and cancer treatment, then it might be appropriate for the FDA to block other treatments from the marketplace.  We would say that cancer treatment is efficacious.  There would be no need to search for an alternate treatment.  There would be no need for this book.  But 600,000 deaths annually?  These people all took the treatment, and we know that they took the treatment because the statistics don’t track the people who decline treatment.  Something is very wrong here.  It doesn’t add up.  It must be challenged.  The actions of the FDA must be scrutinized.

 Words of Advice

  • Over a year ago, I had major surgery and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I wrote the first story on January 1, 2010 … On that date, I was only 2 months out from receiving a diagnosis, and on that date, I stopped reeling from the fear, panic, dread, despair, and anxiety, and took control of my life.  What you are feeling today, I also felt.  It is a scary place to be, but feel that I am holding your hand to guide you through this storm.  You will be able to follow the progress I made by making discoveries about treatment options (what works and what doesn’t work) and discoveries about life options (what we can do to save our own lives).
  • This has been a tremendous effort, a change in lifestyle, a change in eating habits, and a change in mental and emotional patterns–eliminating stress from my life, even in stress-producing situations.
  • The key to recovery from cancer is the awareness of truth; this will lead to making informed choices.  I learned the truth about chemotherapy and so I avoided it.
  • Hopefully, you may find that some of my discoveries will help you through your own process.  My focus is on healthy living, and on natural alternatives to toxic treatments.  In some situations, some type of treatment may be the correct choice; however, it is very important that you ask questions and know exactly what your options are.
  • Find a medical professional who fits your comfort level.  If your gut is telling you something is wrong with what you are hearing, then it probably IS wrong for you.  Don’t be afraid to get a 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinion.  Do not just go along with recommendations without question.
  • Chemotherapy is the big killer, not cancer per se, but chemotherapy.  Chemo is not all that it’s cracked up to be.  Learn everything you can before you or your loved one agrees to it. Choose the right path for you to return to wellness.
  • Listen to your gut, listen to your heart, think this through.  You are your own best resource.  You are your own best healer.  Do your research, read a lot.  Do not panic.  You have time.  Take a deep breath and you will get through this.  Trust.  BE WELL! You can do this.
  • Through my own health circumstances, I was forced to research this issue.  I am grateful every day that I was able to sift through the deception and misleading statistics, and decline the highly toxic “standard of care” which I believe would have led to certain death.  Many people do not do this; they succumb to the scare tactics; they are too afraid not to go along with the conventional recommendation.
  • Read this (book) first before taking chemo.  Once it is understood that the cancer industry is driven by the profit motive, and not by altruism, then you have empowered yourself to ask the questions that need answers.  Find out specifically HOW chemo will help YOU in your specific situation.  Find out if taking chemo will make you BETTER.  This is key.  Most people taking chemo think that if they go through with it, if they take their medicine, that they will emerge healthy.  Many people do not emerge from chemo.  It turns out to be a slow, painful death.
  • The point is: find out exactly what you are getting into, BEFORE you get into it.  Keep an open mind as you read through this.
  • Start to notice what people say at funeral services for family and friends who died from ‘cancer’.  People will whisper in hushed tones that they think that it was the ‘chemo’ and not the ‘cancer’ that killed the deceased.  Pay attention.
  • People are starting to realize that chemo doesn’t work, and that the cancer industry has to come up with something better than this. Demand answers. Demand better options.

More about The Cancer Odyssey click these links:

http://www.thecancerodyssey.com/

http://www.just-say-no-to-chemo.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cancer-Odyssey/110880959001636