Concept Paper-A novel approach to the treatment of Cancer: Restoring Health
Cancer is the most researched disease. We know so much about cancer, but this knowledge has not resulted in infallible cures. Drugs, we still depend on are those that kill cancer cells, without much success while letting the patient die. Other established modalities like, radiation are no better, except surgery. However, surgery suffers from an important weakness, it is not possible to remove cancer in it’s entirely, especially, when it has metastasized to distal sites in the body. This results in local recurrence at the site of surgery and also relapse in other sites of the body. It is unfortunate, that even targeted cancer drugs fail to eradicate the disease, because these cells can change their susceptibility to these drugs.
It is observed that a small number of cancer patients survive and live a significant length of their lives, without recurrence of the disease, though it is not called cure, but disease free interval. This is sometime long enough to be called “cure” whereas a significant number succumb to the disease. This person to person difference, which is sex, age and disease independent, needs an explanation. There is also spontaneous remission which needs to be explained.
It is therefore evident that it is not the treatment but the poorly understood natural defense mechanisms, which bring about cure. This is free of all diseases. This mechanism is described in all systems of medicine. In Homeopathy it is described as ‘vital force’, scientifically, it is a combination of immune competence and other mechanisms which go to form ‘Homoeostasis’ and maintenance of which is responsible for the R set limits for growth and degeneration, which is overcome in the process of cancer formation and progression. Unfortunately, scientists have not paid any attention to the phenomenon, in their zeal to newer and newer anticancer agents, because they are funded by big pharmacy companies. The research for the ‘magic bullet’ which translate to the ‘Billion Dollar Molecule’ has not attracted the attention of the brilliant scientists engaged in cancer research. Restoration of the Homeostatic balance in the patient through necessary, does not get due attention why?
Fortunately, research done accidentally, has come up with information that may help define parameters of health. These are the growth factors, like TGF-B, GM-CSF, IL-1, IL-2, IL-3, IL-10 etc. Several other mechanisms such as cell –cell and cell – substrate interactions which involve very small molecules are not yet defined. In-spite of the ignorance it is possible to set limits, to show healthy state Vs ‘disease state.
One more observation that is vital to ‘healthy state’ vs ‘disease state’ is pro-inflammatory molecules which bring about inflammation. Inflammation appears to be common to most diseases. It has observed that the ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes is a key indicator of health. In healthy individuals there are more lymphocytes as compared to neutrophils. This ratio tilts in favor of neutrophils as the individual transits into disease.This ratio can be a very good indicator to show whether the individual is still capable of resisting the disease in the case cancer progression. This is also indicative of how the individual will overcome the bad effects of toxic therapy.
‘Healthy mind in a healthy body’ is a well established concept. An unhealthy mind as in mental depression results in the increased levels of cortisol a steroid which depresses immunity and allows disease to be established in the body. The mental state is directly responsible for the progression of cancer by depressing the natural defense mechanism of the individual, his response to therapy and thus to recovery, positively or negatively.
The control of the central nervous system over the well being and resistance to disease such as cancer is a subject which is least understood and therefore ignored. Positive attitude is a sign of ‘ Health and should to factored to predict the patients’ response.
It is therefore, obvious that a cancer patient must be assessed to determine the ‘Health status before therapy is started.
It is suggested on the basis of the foregoing discussion that the following protocol is followed when beginning treatment of a newly diagnosed cancer patients.
- Psycological assessment to determine whether the patient has a negative attitude towards life. This will include lifestyle assessment.
- Assessment of ‘Health’, which will include
- Lymphocyte : Neutrophil ratio
- Lymphokine Profile
- Growth factor Profile
- Organ functions viz. Kidney, Liver
- Endocrine Profile
- Tumour Pathology including genomics
- Other routine investigation
Once the investigations are done it will give a fair assessment of the ‘Health’ status of the patient. Other routine investigation will give a complete picture of the patient and his condition.
Before surgery, chemotherapy or Radiation is started, the patient should be given the following treatment.
- Psychological consulting to induce positive attitude.
- Correction of Life style deficiencies
- Restoring the health status by treatment with ‘Rasayanas’ such as Tinospora cordifolia, which are known to have these properties.
- Treatment with non-specific immune enhancing agents should be used to restore the ‘Healthy state’.
- Specific immune enhancing treatment viz Dendritic vaccine should be used. After the above procedure, it is possible that the tumour may regress. In any case the patient’s natural defense mechanism will not be affected and may actually be restored to normal.
- The tumour will become localized and amenable to eradication by use of “Transdermally” delivered anti cancer agent, which will not affect the homeostasis of the patient. Conservative surgery to remove the localized tumour, may be needed.
Dr. S. G. A. Rao, Stem Foundation