Greg, How Are You?

Supplements, Pills, Powders and Poisins: Who To Trust?

by on Mar.26, 2012, under Uncategorized

Medicine, Cancer Fighting 

Dr. James Malone:

ESHAP stands for etoposide, methylprednisolone, high-dose cytarabine, and cisplatin and it’s a “salvage” regimen for “refractory lymphoma“.

An important part of the ESHAP regimen is the cisplatin that is given by continuous infusion for (hopefully) maximal cell death. Early studies gave cisplatin over 24 hours, but toxicity was high, so we now give it over several days in order to reduce toxicity.

Treatment Plan: I get these over five days, about four hours a day.

  • Etoposide 40mg/m2/day IV Day 1, 2, 3 and 4 – what’s most different from the DHAP regimen before.  Blows up cells in mid copy.
  • Solumedrol 500mg/day IV Day 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 – basically like the steroid prednisone
  • Cytarabine 2Gm/m2/day IV Day 5 -To start immediately after Cisplatin completed.  Ruins DNA synthesis so abusive to cancer.
  • Cisplatin 25mg/m2/day IV Day 1, 2, 3 and 4; Given as a continuous infusion over 24 hours usually.
  • Decadron (a bunch) – IV – more anti inflammatory steroid.  Yes, I’m a bit more prone to swearing and cantankerous behavior.

Dr. Greg:

This is the most justified but non-oncology treatment

Aspirin – anti inflamatory

 

Medicine, Symptom Fighting

Vicodin – anti pain
Zofran – anti nausea
Hydration – the poisons are hostile to the bladder, so 3+ liters a day during treatment

 

Foods

Red Juice — nutrient dense, from The Wellness Kitchen in Atascadero, very fresh
Green Juice — nutrient dense, from The Wellness Kitchen in Atascadero, very fresh
Soy Powder — good proteins
Green powder — nutrient density
Low Carbs — anti inflammatory and low blood sugar

 

Food Supplements

Carnitine – vs fatigue, promote bone growth
Glutamine – aid recovery and repair, speed healing
Astragalus Root – fight age or age reversal (teleromerase path)
Probiotics – gi tract, there’s 100 kinds so it’s Dr. Thoring’s favorite brand
Mushroom Immune Defense – one of the leading edges of immune support
Fish Oil – omega 3 fatty acid for lustrous skin and other less visible tissues

More Magic

I’ve been recommended blood electrifying, canned asparagus, reiki, laughter yoga, ayahuasca, hyperthermia/IR treatment, essiac tea, Burzynski/antineoplastons, k0mbucha, laetrile, various visualizations, indigo biofeedback and the like.  How to pick?  On the passion of the messenger?  On the pseudo-fu of the science?  The beauty of the website?  That it worked or seems to have worked for one other patient or a friend of a friend.  There’s scant evidence once away from the clinical trials and established regimens.  And there’s a known human bias for generalizing results (some treatment works for everyone) from very small survey sizes (it worked for this one person).

I like that, in the end, I get to choose.  But as a man of reason I’m perplexed, there’s a lot of sign posts and not many maps.  A maze with hawkers on every corner, selling hope.  Who’s true?

 

2 comments for this entry:
  1. Russ

    A friend of my mother’s was in end-stage massively metastasized pancreatic cancer. The oncos had thrown everything at it: chemo, radiation, radical surgery.

    None of it was working. She finally quietly thanked them and left the hospital and went home while she still had some remaining quality of life.

    At that point, my mother contacted me, distraught, and said, “Do you know *any* unconventional therapies that might work for her?”

    I said, “No. I doubt there are any. Pancreatic cancer survival rates are lousy for just that reason. Nothing works. But I will re-immerse myself and find anything I think is promising.”

    Her friend died six weeks later, before I had been able to sort the wheat from the chaff. But I was well along on reading up.

    I started with a BIG pile that got small very quickly. The vast majority of “alternative” cancer treatments are obvious unscientific woo.

    But nevertheless there were some gems. The most prominent of which was low dose naltrexone.

    This is a hard concept to explain in only a few sentences. I’ll try.

    Consider opioid molecules.

    They are made by most living things. Certain plants make them copiously. Certain humans grow those plants and extract the opioids from the plants to put in human bodies for pain relief or for recreational purposes.

    But the human body makes its own opioid molecules internally for its own purposes. This is why the exogenous plant-derived opioids work in our systems. They fit our receptors.

    Endogenous opioids made by the human body provide pain relief, and feelings of pleasure. Most of us know this. What is largely unknown to laypersons is that endogenous opioids also play a huge role in modulating and stimulating immune function.

    Immune function is considerably important in an anticancer context. The immune system can spot a cancer cell too small for even the most advanced imaging system to see. The immune system can destroy that cancer cell with a permanence and precision of which oncologists can only dream.

    With me so far? OK.

    The body makes the endogenous opioids of interest during the nightly sleep cycle. (Note that sleep deprivation clobbers immune function. This is one reason why.)

    The mechanism for making the opioids is a simple closed-loop feedback model. The tissues that secrete endogenous opioids have receptors for those same opioids. The process of secretion starts during sleep, and after a few hours, enough new opioids have been produced that the receptors are saturated. The secretion stops. A new day begins. The cycle will repeat the next night.

    That’s the background.

    Now if only there were a way to make more of those opioids.

    Waitaminnit. Turns out there is. In one of those totally unplanned, unpredictable pieces of scientific serendipity.

    We talked about how some humans consume exogenous plant opioids for pleasure. This often becomes a problem. They become addicted.

    Back in the 1980s, two new meds (they’re chemical cousins) were introduced to help opioid addicts kick the habit. Naloxone and naltrexone.

    Basically both strongly bind to, and saturate, opioid receptors. Opioid molecules are then prevented from binding and exerting their effect.

    Suppose a junkie trying to kick the habit find he can’t resist any longer. He goes and scores some junk, shoots it up. He gets pleasurably high. Reinforcement occurs. His attempt to clean up gets harder.

    With naltrexone in his system, the exogenous opioids can’t bind to the receptors. He won’t get the intended pleasurable stimulus. His addiction isn’t reinforced.

    Enter Dr. Bernard Bihari, an internist in NYC. He had read up on naltrexone. And he was also being asked to treat people with a new disease called AIDS, for which at the time there was no clinically useful therapy.

    Bihari reasoned thus: it would be useful to AIDS patients (as well as cancer patients, et al.) to have an enhanced immune response. Increased amounts of endogenous immune opioids would presumably induce this.

    Naltrexone locks opioid receptors. Including the ones that govern immune opioid production during sleep. And the kinetics of naltrexone are such that it works for just about the length of a sleep cycle, no longer.

    So if someone at bedtime took a small dose of naltrexone, it would block their opioid receptors. Including the receptors that govern the feedback loop on producing endogenous immune opioids.

    The tissues that secrete those immune opioids would, instead of shutting down, keep on producing more endogenous immune opioids. And hopefully yield an augmented immune response.

    By the next morning, the naltrexone would be mostly out of the body. Receptors would once again allow opioids to bind, and everything should work as usual, except with greater immune activity than usual.

    (Question here. Why naltrexone? Does naloxone work as well? It blocks the same receptors. Answer: naloxone’s kinetics aren’t well matched to the human sleep cycle. It works for too short a time frame.)

    Bihari began to experiment in AIDS and cancer patients using low dose naltrexone. And had frankly amazing results in both.

    I won’t belabor his clinical histories, which you can read up on elsewhere. Suffice it to say that attention began to slowly be paid. Ian Zagon, a medical school professor at Penn State, had been working on the question of immune opioids since the 1970s, and his work confirmed in vitro what Bihari’s patients were confirming in vivo.

    So why hasn’t this set the world on fire?

    Most of the medical profession won’t have anything to do, for legal and other reasons, with any therapies that have not been carefully sussed out in clinical trials.

    Clinical trials are amazingly expensive.

    Big Pharma are willing to pay for clinical trials for new drugs, because if those drugs prove out in the trials and are FDA approved, Big Pharma have many years of highly profitable patent-protected sales ahead.

    With an old drug, already off patent, such as naltrexone, there is no way to make big bucks. Small bucks, sure. But clinical trials cost more than small bucks. Thus no one in Big Pharma will underwrite such trials.

    And public funding is always scarce.

    Nevertheless, low dose naltrexone steadily plugs along. As a broadly specific therapy for AIDS and cancer. As well as for, surprisingly, some autoimmune disorders.

    Wait! If LDN increases immune activity, would it not make autoimmune disorders worse? Stands to reason, does it not?

    Apparently not. The role of the opioids is to improve immune *function*, and they do that in a signaling and control role. Not necessarily by making the immune system stronger per se.

    I resort to a martial-arts parable. Consider a new training regimen for a martial artist. He does not become any physically stronger, but he becomes faster and better coordinated, and thus more competitive. That’s metaphorically what LDN does to the immune system.

    So if autoimmune disorders happen because immune signaling is bollixed up, and LDN improves signaling and control, then those autoimmune symptoms should improve, and it appears that they do.

    But the obvious interest here is in cancer.

    LDN has shown anecdotal utility in many lymphomas, including Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s types.

    My stepfather has an extremely rare lymphoma, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia. He hasn’t tried LDN but has not had to, at least not yet. He responded well to the monoclonal antibody Rituxan (after a failed stem cell procedure).

    However, I dug around to see if anyone else had been using LDN for Waldenstrom’s, and lo and behold, I did find someone. Who has never had any other oncologic therapy and who reports being stable with no progression at ten years post-diagnosis, on LDN the whole time. Actually eleven years now.

    P used LDN as well during her own bout with cervical cancer, in conjunction with surgical excision, and would go back on it immediately if there were any signs of recurrence. Which there have not been: she celebrates her officially “cured” five-year survival date this June.

    The med is dirt cheap. It’s non-toxic at the low doses used. Non-addicting. If you go off it you merely revert to your previous state. The only problem with it is that if someone’s malady is so far along that they require opiate pain meds, the naltrexone will shut off their pain relief. Those receptors get blocked too.

    I’m happy to answer any questions that Greg or anyone else might have.

    Or simply search for “low dose naltrexone”. I omit linking to prevent being possibly spam-filtered. There’s a hub site run by volunteers which should come up at the top of your results. That is a great way to get started.

    Oh, one more thing. Remember how I got into this? Pancreatic cancer in my mother’s friend?

    There’s a doc out in New Mexico, Burt Berkson, who has published several papers in the literature on using LDN with alpha lipoic acid in patients with advanced, end-stage pancreatic cancer. And he has successfully rescued several of them after they had been told by their oncos to go get their affairs in order.

    I only wish I had found out about him in time. Might have been too late to try to save my mother’s friend. But might not.

  2. JJ

    I’m reading the above comment and finding it totally well written and interesting. I get to the end and immediately need to know who wrote this up — scroll back up — of course, why did i not guess it was Russ. I then proceded reading it again, but this time with my mind subsituting Russ’s voice. Made it even better.

    Hugs to you both!

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