Could it be that oncologists are missing the key to cancer recurrence and progression? Could this be why there are so many repeat customers?
For over forty years oncologists have considered tumor reduction and remission as measures of successful treatment. Are they misguided in placing so much emphasis on this parameter?
During a recent episode of my radio show, Survive and Live Well, Dr Michael Schachter shared his views on Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs)–Cancer Stem Cells are at the forefront of the theory behind the reason conventional treatment often fails. The following is a summary of the show. To replay the podcast, please click here.
Dr Schachter explained that the issue of cancer stem cells goes way back to around 1910, though the term wasn’t used then. John Beard MD, PhD, a brilliant Scottish embryologist, proposed the Trophoblastic Theory of Cancer at that time. According to Dr. Beard, during embryological development, 80% of the cells destined to become germ cells migrate to the gonads (male testes and female ovaries). About 20% of these totipotent (immature) germ cells migrate to different areas of the body and remain dormant. These are today’s modern day stem cells that are mobilized to repair damaged tissue. However, when stem cells become dysregulated (impaired), they can become modern day cancer stem cells. This concept was further developed and brought up to date by cancer clinician and researcher, Nicholas Gonzalez MD, in his brilliant book, The Trophoblast and the Origins of Cancer, which was published in 2010.
Recent research on cancer stem cells has established some amazing facts. Although CSC’s constitute only 1 to 5% of the cancer cells within a tumor, they are the only cancer cells that metastasize to other parts of the body. CSC’s are resistant to radiation and chemotherapy and actually stimulated to grow faster and more vehemently when radiation and/or chemotherapy are used. It is believed that cancer mortality is directly related to cancer stem cell activity (proliferative and metastatic).
Don’t be misled into thinking that tumor reduction guarantees that you are making progress with respect to overcoming the disease, as you may not be. Shrinking a tumor by killing the less damaging cancer cells (the non-stem cells) with chemo and/or radiation may NOT improve long term survival and may increase the likelihood that these cancer stem cells will metastasize, allowing them to regenerate tumors elsewhere in the body. So although you may get an 80% reduction in tumor bulk, you are not targeting the most dangerous of the cells.
Another very important point covered was that CSCs are stimulated to grow by inflammatory factors related to various stressors on the body:
- Various psychological losses result in secretion of Interleukin 6, which stimulates the growth of CSCs
- Trapped emotions can stimulate cancer stem cells to regroup, which is yet another reason emotional stress are undoubtedly major causes of cancer and it recurrence (see below for remedies)
- Dying cancer cells emit the cytokines, Interleukin 6 and Interleukin 8, which stimulates cancer stem cells to proliferate. They stimulate normal stem cells to repair tissue damage, but stimulate cancer stem cells to grow
Releasing trapped emotions and eliminating the bonds you have with events and people so you can leave such negative emotions in the past can play a major role in healing. There are many ways to do this:
- EFT tapping: a form of psychological acupressure that helps resolve emotional issues, cleaning out past traumas that contribute to dis-ease
- Psychotherapy: an approach to wellness that recognizes the interconnection between mind, body and spirit
- Energy work such as Qi Gong, Reiki, meditation, and distant energy healing such as the Oracle Method
- Emotion Code: an energy technique that helps facilitate the release of trapped negative emotions
While the drug Celebrex, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (or NSAID), inhibits inflammation and reduces stimulation to cancer stem cells, it has many dangerous adverse side effects associated with its use. A similar drug, Vioxx, was taken off the market after causing thousands of heart attacks. Fortunately many relatively non-toxic natural substances block inflammatory stimulation of CSC’s and Dr. Schachter advocates the use of many of these substances for cancer patients. Some examples of anti-inflammatory substances which can be found in capsule or liquid extract form are:
- Thymoquinone from black cumin seed
- Sulforaphane and other glucosinolates and isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables
- Vitamin D
- Boswellia or Frankincense
- Parent Essential Fatty Acids (Linoleic Acid and Alpha Linolenic Acid)
- Stabilized Aloe Vera extract
For more natural substances that target cancer stem cells, Please read my article Cancer Stem Cells—Could They Be the Key to Metastasis
What Other Experts Have To Say
The interesting thing about the recent introduction of the modern Cancer Stem Cell Theory into an understanding of cancer is that it was not developed by the ‘alternative’ world, but by very traditional conventional cancer researchers. For example, establishment oncologist and researcher Max Wicha MD (a former National Cancer Institute (NCI) researcher and the Founding Director Emeritus of the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center) is a pioneer in research on why cancers recur and spread to other parts of the body and has been a leader in the CSC theory. Dr Wicha has been doing research and conducting clinical trials that specifically target breast cancer stem cells, but he also has an interest in colon cancer and lung cancer as well. He has been Involved in cancer research for 30 years and is currently involved with eight clinical trial involving CSCs. Some of Dr. Wicha’s lectures can be found on YouTube and can be found by searching this site and via the links below. Some of the points made during his lectures are:
- Standard cancer treatments not only often fail to eradicate cancer, but can sometimes make it worse
- 30% of breast and prostate CA patients have bone marrow metastases at the time of diagnosis
- Breast cancer is driven by cancer stem cells
- Only certain breast cancer cells (CSCs) would develop into cancer in immune suppressed mice
- Cancer stem cells are dysregulated adult stem cells
- One approach he has taken in his research with breast cancer stem cells is to develop patentable drugs that block the Interleukin 8 receptors on stromal and cancer stem cells; he thus remains very much in the mainstream of conventional oncology, which is not particularly interested in researching non-patentable natural substances that my play a role in inhibiting cancer stem cells
In at least one newspaper article, the reporter said that Dr Wicha indicated that he hoped breast cancer could be treated without chemotherapy– just making use of medications that target the stem cells. However, he quickly retracted this view and said that breast cancer patients and all cancer patients should follow the conventional standard of care for conventional cancer treatment and then if necessary, look for clinical trials that target cancer stem cells.
At this point in time, Dr. Schachter has not heard much from his cancer patients regarding any discussion about cancer stem cells with their conventional oncologists, many of whom believe this area is at best considered experimental.
With my clients I have also found there to have been a complete omission of the discussion of cancer stem cells with respective oncologists. I am always amazed that something so vital to successful outcome is not discussed along with a proposed treatment plan.
A few other researchers are doing research in cancer stem cells. One example is Maximilian Diehn MD, PhD of the Stanford University Medical Center who is an acclaimed researcher studying normal and cancer stem cell biology and its implications for cancer therapy.
Brad Weeks MD, who teaches other physicians about insulin potentiation therapy (IPT), a controversial treatment involving the use of insulin and low doses of chemotherapy, believes that no cancer patient should be treated without addressing cancer stem cells. He advocates the use of relatively non-toxic medications, such as Metformin and other anti-inflammatory strategies, such as non-inflammatory diets that avoid sugar and artificial chemicals in food. He also recommends various herbal supplements that are anti-inflammatory and that inhibit cancer stem cells.
Dr. Schachter is not an advocate of IPT at this time, but does utilize many of the anti-inflammatory strategies to inhibit cancer stem cells. He incorporates many relatively non-toxic substances to help the patient prevent and manage cancer without the use of toxic agents. During previous interviews on this program Dr. Schachter has discussed the use of Salvestrols, the use of fat soluble vitamins (like vitamins D, A and K2 (MK4), a therapeutic diet, stress management, exercise and various other factors that a cancer patient should incorporate into his/her comprehensive program. Please visit the Radio Show Archives for past shows with Dr. Schachter.
- Cancer Stem Cells and Progression of Disease: What You Need to Know NOW
- Video by Max Wicha
- What Your Oncologist Neglected to Tell You About Conventional Cancer Treatment
- Cancer Stem Cells-Could They Be the Key to Metastasis?
- Cancer stem cells are resistant to radiation (Baker, M Stem cells: Nature. 2009 Apr 23;458(7241):962-5.
- For more information on energy healers, please visit Alternative and Complementary Therapies
~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: Reading the information in this post does not constitute a physician-patient relationship. The information included in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding a medical condition or any treatments.
Dr. Michael B. Schachter is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia College and Columbia P&S Medical School in NYC. He is also a Board Certified Psychiatrist and a Certified Nutrition Specialist. Dr. Schachter has been involved with nutritional and integrative health care for 40 years. A leader in alternative cancer therapies, EDTA chelation and orthomolecular psychiatry, he is a past president of the American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). He has authored numerous articles and was a major contributor to the large chapter about him in Burton Goldberg’s classic “Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer”. His published 2010 paper “Integrative Oncology for Clinicians and Cancer Patients” helps to guide patients in developing a cancer treatment program. His latest article published in 2013 entitled “Integrating Nutrition and Selected Controversial Nutritional Supplements into a Cancer Treatment” is an abridged and updated version of his 2010 article. In 2010, Dr. Schachter received the Humanitarian Award from the Cancer Control Society in California. Dr. Schachter is the director of the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine in Suffern, NY, which is located in Rockland County, about 45 minutes from New York City.
More information about Dr. Schachter and the Center are available at the Schachter Center Website. Many articles by Dr Schachter can be accessed from this site, including the two articles mentioned above.
Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers, is a contributor to The Truth About Cancer, and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local, Natural Health-Natural Wellness, and more. Elyn hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. http://elynjacobs.com/about/.
Tune in to the Survive and Live Well Show
Replay the Survive and Live Well Radio Show Archives
Read Elyn’s Blog
Follow Elyn on Facebook
Follow Survive and Live Well on Twitter
Follow Elyn on Linkedin