Building an off-label drugs protocol for cancer?

Building an off-label drugs protocol for cancer?

Using off-label drugs as an anti-cancer protocol is a hot topic among cancer patients; here is a practical guide to the top repurposed drugs being currently used by patients to help fight their cancer, alongside or instead of orthodox treatments, plus a table of which cancers are treated by which drugs according to research.

Off labels drugs that help fight cancer

There are some interesting drugs, not originally intended for cancer but which seem to offer anti-cancer benefits, for example in cutting blood sugar, reducing levels of blood fats causing angiogenesis, reducing inflammation, lowering platelets, or just possessing some ability to attack and kill cancer cells. Many parasites and microbes, for example, share energy production enzymes with cancer cells, or other unique features such as microtubules. And something that kills a worm, may potentially kill a cancer cell. This is not my argument but that of top research scientists at cancer centers such as Johns Hopkins and MD Anderson. And they also argue 'Why look for expensive new drugs, when similar drugs already exist?" 

Don't build an off-label drug protocol at home!

But, this really isn't something you should be trying at home without professional help. Even though many of these drugs have been around for a long time, they are not 'safe' - they do have side-effects. And what happens if you mix several together? We know some off-label drugs cannot be used together; for example, Niclosamide and Fenbendazole, but what others might form a cocktail that is dangerous to some people. Worse, we see people taking three or four orthodox drugs then adding another four off-label drugs. Really? You are prepared to take seven or eight drugs that have probably never ever been tested together because you've read about it in a book or a newspaper? Some people are already on beta blockers, blood thinners, or anti-depression medicines, and they think to add more?. Drugs can and do inter-react; drugs damage your microbiome, drugs can lower vitamin D levels, debilitate the body, cause brain fog, and cause inflammation in the body - one of cancer's favourite toys.

Heparin is a brilliant off-label drugs and users extend survival times significantly according to several research studies; but even qualified doctors lose some patients to Heparin side-effects!

A practical guide to building an anti-cancer protocol

I'm not sure anyone in their right mind sets out to build a 100% off-label drugs protocol. Why would you limit yourself just to off-label drugs?You need to build an anticancer protocol and choose the best available compounds to dospecific jobs. A particular herb might be significantly better than a repurposed drug.

The first thing you must consider is 'what am I trying to do?' 

What I do for patients is sometimes called 'Functional Medicine'. Since 2005, this is how we have been successfully treating people with cancer. The first thing to understand is that we don't treat cancer at all! We treat people. People built a body conducive to cancer; we build them a body conducive to health. As Dr Henry Friedman once said, "It is naive to believe you can treat a cancer with one drug". We agree. Programmes beat cancer. Programmes that heal the person, and build them a healthy body. And, as Hippocrates said, healing people starts in the gut, because that's where illness starts.

Here's what we have learned from research:

1. Cancer becomes more aggressive as blood oxygen declines; lowered blood oxygen is linked to more metastasis; low localised oxygen to more epigenetic change.

2. 80 per cent of people on cancer diagnosis have severely low levels of vitamin D; as you correct any shortage your survival increases.

3. Tumours usually use sugar to grow (but sometimes glutamate);

4. But once cancer goes to spread the cancer cells tend to use the lymph and switch to burning fat; and needing fat to stick to potential blood supplies and to form all those new membranes they need.

5. Cancer cells have receptor sites for histamines, which up-regulate them and make them swollen, sticky and aggressive, promoting new tumours.

6. Platelets are involved in cancer progression - in forming blood supplies, in cell growth, in metastasis. 

7. Almost everybody with cancer has lost the volume and strains of key gut bacteria, while having pathogens - from parasites, to E coli or Fusobacterium, to viruses, to yeasts causing fundamental epigenetic changes in the cellular microenvironment.

8. And then there's 'Stress' - we know exactly how hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can negatively impact the cellular microenvironment.

9. There are other hormones that can do this: Oestradiol and Levothyroxine to name but two.

10. Then there are Environmental toxins. IARC names over 600 that are linked to cancer.

11. Then there are pathogens - yes, the bad guys in your gut can make toxins and mRNA that can alter the messaging system in your cellular microenvironment.

12. And nature has given us two natural compounds we make in our bodies to clrean up our cellular microenvironment - melatonin (which you can make and regulate via 5 HTP) and glutathione which you can make from greens, garlic and onions for example and you must control it's production. Taking supplements or IV glutathione can cause problems! 

So that's how you start to build a body conducive to health. If off-label drugs can help you, we use them.

People who have come to me for a Personal Prescription hear that they built a body conducive to cancer over a 6-10 year period, and that I want to now build them a body conducive to health. Like Hippocrates, I believe this health is driven outwards from the gut microbiome.

So, off label drugs to tackle the issues?

Since 2005/6, to cut blood sugar levels,  I have been using the herb Berberine (1) (3 x 500 mg a day). It has far, far more research on its benefits than the off-label drug Metformin - it cuts blood sugar better; it 'corrects' the cancer cell mitochondria, and puts AMPK up. As a result underlying 'pathways' like Akt and mTor start to fall back into place. But Berberine also kills microbes and is anti-inflammatory, neither of which is a virtue of Metformin.  Berberine is known to be a chemosensitiser, it improves the effectiveness of chemo. Metformin doesn't do this. Of course, if you go to an oncologist or a Doctor, they will give you a drug. Oncologists don't prescribe herbs or supplements!

Yes, I do use Atorvastatin (2) to cut blood fats and it definitely does increase survival times, but I always suggest the patient takes CoQ10, because Lipophilic statins lower levels, and low levels, for example, increase myopathy (muscle weakness and increase 'Breast cancer Advacement' according to research. The Mayo Clinic also recommends taking CoQ10 with Atorvastatin (3).

Do I use the antibiotic Doxycycline to attack cancer stem cells? There is research showing that in women with breast tumours, those taking it before surgery had their tumours in part killed by the antibiotic. We do use it before surgery; especially if the patient is on several chemotherapy drugs. Why? Because the drugs are going to damage the microbiome anyway; Doxycycline won't make it much worse, although I would never use it for longer than 4 months. To put this in context, in research in the USA, people taking 2 drugs for 4 rounds, then having the antibiotic for just one month, only had 27 per cent of their microbiome remaining a year later. Your microbiome and your gut lining control 85 per cent of your immune response - do you really want to lose that when you are trying to fight cancer?. There are ten natural compounds known to attack cancer stem cells (4); five in particular have sooooo much research on them - Resveratrol, EGCG. Turmeric, Sulforaphane, and Genistein. Others include Ursolic acid, piperine and feverfew. These are all also known to improve the microbiome.

To tackle histamines we invariably use Loratadine (US: Claritin), (quercetin is much weaker) and, while there is research on high grade serous ovarian cancer and increased survival with beta blocker Propranolol, for most other cancers we prefer the natural Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha (5). Again, there is far more research with other cancers and this herb.

Take the off label drug Dipyridamole. Research showed it was very effective against Melanoma. I was asked this week, if someone should take Dipyridamole instead of Heparin.  That sums up the problem. This person must build an off-label drugs protocol at all costs, but they didn't have a clue what the drugs did. THIS IS DOWNRIGHT DANGEROUS!!!

I told them to use Turmeric. Why? That does exactly the same job as Dipyridamole - both lower platelets (and this reduces angiogenesis, growth and progression - we've used 8 gm turmeric several times with people and seen the cancer go away. The fact is that turmeric has loads more benefits than Dipyridamole -  it kills microbes, it is anti-inflammatory and protects healthy cells. And as Professor Robert Thomas has reviewed, turmeric is a chemosensitiser - it makes drugs work better!  Turmeric has far more research on far more cancers, especially blood and lymph cancers like Multiple Myeloma.

For brain fog post-chemotherapy, there is good research on an antihistamine called Clemastine (6). But there are about five studies on Acetyl-L-Carnitine (7), used by diabetics, it is a natural compound that can overcome chemo-fatigue, reverse early stage neuropathy and prevent brain for if you take it with chemotherapy.  It is so natural, Olympic athletes legally take it to overcome fatigue; and there's research from oncologists in Italy.

For the record, since 2007 we have also built a range of 'natural chemotherapies' such as Honokiol, Dandelion, IP-6, C-Statin and  phycocyanin. Sometimes before surgery for breast cancer we use N-Acetyl cysteine, there's research showing this amino acid stops a primary breast tumour feeding off its localised environment. 

Now, I am not trying to have you believe that natural compounds are universally better than off-label drugs. I am merely trying to show you that off-label drugs don't work as well as some of the claims made, there's often poor research on the anti-cancer benefits, and the drugs do have side-effects. As Professor Dana Flavin said on my Sunday Show, 'Some of these off-label drugs are actually not very powerful', and "there are some natural compounds have greater benefits". 

To repeat: The issue is, 'With this patient, and this cancer, at this stage, what is the job we need to do?'. Sometimes we use off-label drugs. But that is not our single-minded mantra. We use the best compound for the particular job, bearing in mind everything, from what other drugs are being taken to how do we simultaneously rebuild the health of the patient. 'Functional Medicine'

So, what off-label drugs might help you? Frankly, the research can be a bit thin, and often much much weaker than the number and quality of research on natural compounds. And that's the irony. Oncologists tell pastients that there's no research on Berberine and to come off it, but happily recommend metformin.

We have looked at this two ways:

1. Which repurposed drugs work with which cancers?

Let's start with the Care Oncology Protocol. I am full of praise for what they set out to do and in their early days we used them quite a lot. But they insist on using the same 4 drugs whether that patient has a brain tumour or a breast cancer, and I believe in building tailored programmes that differ by the individual person, their cancer and their needs. 

Care Oncology use Metformin to cut blood sugar and stop a cancer feeding and to block mTor and more. But there can be contamination and liver side-effects with metformin. 

They use Atorvastatin to reduce blood fats, since high blood fats increase cancer spread and reduce survival times. We also like natural Lycopene (for example, from tomatoes) especially for cancers such as prostate. It has more benefits, but is slower to act. We sometimes use both.

Care Oncology use Mebendazole - frankly the research is poor. If I used it to make such powerful claims for a supplement, I'd be instantly criticised by the skeptics. Arguably, Fenbendazole has more research on more cancers, but oncologists cannot prescribe this to you, they'd be struck off - it is not licensed for humans, only animals. There is actually far more research on another Helmintic, Ivermectin, but again, Oncologists and Doctors won't prescribed this either. When we want to attack a cancer cell and disrupt its energy production, we often use the 'all-natural' bran product, IP-6. It robs cancer cells of their iron, stops them feeding and even WebMD, a website put together by five Drug companies says IP-6 stops cancer cells dividing and can make chemotherapy drugs work better.

Finally, Care Oncology use Doxycycline - Some research for on cancer stem cells in the lab shows it converts cancer stem cells to mere mortal cells, and the lead researcher Professor Lisanti recommended berberine or IVC to finish the job off. However it has its problems. See here

We recently covered four new research studies on how antibiotics 'scar' the microbiome and your body. Is that really what you want to do?We only use Doxycycline if the patient is on high doses of drugs anyway and the drug won't damage the microbiome further. 

Then there are at least another 12 drugs with a number of research studies on specific cancers, for example, 

* Accutane - GBMneuroblastomabreast cancer (with metformin) and can correct cancer stem cells. (But accutane has strong side-effects)

* Celebrex - prostate, lung, breast, colorectal, brain cancer

* Cimetidine - colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, melanoma, kidney cancer; Independent review on Cimetidine and cancer HERE

* Clemastine - antihistamine that reverses brain fog and myeloid damage; general benefits

* Dipyridamole - melanoma, colorectal, breast, TNBC (works well with the anti-histamine cimetidine)

* Fenbendazole GBMNSCLC, lymphoma, metastatic Colorectal Cancer, prostate cancer (also blocks uptake of sugar).

* Heparin - not something you go out and buy, then take, but this anti-coagulant is used with DVT and operations to prevent blood clots. The Unfractionated Heparin version appears to universally extend life by a couple of years; the Low-Molecular Weight Heparin by four years.

* Itraconozole - pancreatic, NHL, endometrial, NSCLC, prostate, breast cancer and TNBC

* Ivermectin - Lymphoma, leukemia, and solid tumours such as ovarian, TNBC and breast cancer.

* Mebendazole - GBM

* Melatonin - Some oncologists refer to it as 'The sleeping drug', but it is actually the healing. The number 1 antioxidant in the body and a huge anti-inflammatory, it reduces natural oestrogen and has at least 5 different ways of attacking cancer cells. It is almost universally effective. See Here

* Naltrexone - as Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) and used with vitamin D and alpha lipoic acid, has almost universal ability to boost the immune system and provide some pain relief. Increasingly used with cannabis at night and CBD by day.

* Niclosamide - colorectal cancer, prostate cancer; shown to knock back tumours and can correct cancer stem cells.

* Propranolol - Lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, pancreatic, prostate, stomach, leukemia, and ovarian cancer 

Wasn't that the most important list you need if you have a cancer stage/grade 3 or 4 and want to try something different?


A lot of patients simply ask their GP. But there is a group of Doctors in Glasgow (Clinic 158) who will prescribe on line. E-mail [email protected]

2. Help to build a repurposed drug programme?

Let's give you some more detail on the specific compounds, with some links to the research we have:

1. Cancer uses histamines to help it form tumours and spread. There is research from multiple cancer centres on several antihistamines that increase survival times - For example, Cimetidine with colorectal cancer; Desloratadine and Loratadine with breast cancer: 

Go to:  Can antihistamines like Cimetidine, Desloratadine and Loratadine play an integrative role in cancer cure?

With cancer in women, it doesn't seem to matter whether you are ER+ve and ER-ve:

Go to: Antihistamines like Loratadine and Desloratadine increase breast cancer survival

The research suggests that you might use cimetidine for a year from one week after surgery to restrict loose cancer cells causing secondaries. The Karolinska Institute research suggests antihistamines such as Desloratadine or Loratadine may only need to be used for 6-12 weeks to deliver significant improvements in survival.  

Natural antihistamines do exist - for example, quercetin, bromelain, stinging nettle, vitamin C, ginkgo, elderberry, flavonoids, vitamin A, pycnogenol. Is there research on them restricting metastasis? Not really.

Non-specific Beta-blockers such as Propranolol seem to offer similar benefits but with longer-term use. Vanderbilt Cancer Clinic has shown that stress can induce metastases to the lungs and bones in mice and that propranolol can block this. Perhaps the biggest fan is Prof. Anil Sood at MD Anderson who has shown how stress keeps cancer cells alive and promotes metastases in humans. He has shown that using propranolol increases survival time with high-grade serous ovarian cancer by an average of 4 years. It can block VEGF, and there is research showing it reduces progression, and therefore increases survival times with colorectal, breast, pancreatic, stomach, prostate, leukemia, angiosarcoma and lung cancer.

Go to: Beta-blocker Propranolol restricts progression, increases survival times

2.  Before Care Oncology came along several serious oncologists in London were using old repurposed drugs, not originally intended for use with cancer, with grade 4, stage 4 patients. 

          2.1 For example, Metformin (the diabetes drug which cuts blood sugar has research with cancer) and Atorvastatin (the statin is used to reduce blood fat, and slow metastasis). Metformin may also possess anti-cancer benefits, but there is little evidence statins do. However since there are a vast number of studies now that show people with high blood fat levels have more metastases, cutting cholesterol is clearly an important strategy. 

Go to: Metformin and cancer 

Go to: Statins and cancer 

There are however two natural compounds berberine and lycopene - Berberine is a blood sugar lowering herb and has considerably more research on anti-cancer benefits than metformin; plus it is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Lycopene has blood lipid lowering benefits at least on a par with statins, it reduces the risk of aggressive and fatal prostate cancer, for example, and it is an antioxidant with action against cancer stem cells.

Go to: Berberine (my preference over metformin)

Go to: Berberine and breast cancer 

Go to: Lycopene and statins 

          2.2 Care Oncology use four core repurposed drugs for all cancers - Metformin, atorvastatin, mebendazole and doxycycline. And sometimes an anti-inflammatory Flarin (and sometimes the antihistamine Loratadine)

They claim to have had great results to date and to, at least, double life expectancy for people with cancer. 

Mebendazole this disrupts the growth of parasites by attacking tubulin and microtubules. The first is in the blood supply tubes to tumours; the latter (microtubules) are crucial to cancer cells.

Go to: Pinworm drug, Mebendazole, targets cancers like GBM and osteosarcoma 

Converting cancer stem cells?   

i) Doxycycline is used to convert cancer stem cells to ordinary cells. Cancer Stem cells are the primary reason why cancer returns. There is no current orthodox cancer drug available to deal with them. 

However, I'm not keen on the use of this antibiotic as it screws up your gut microbiome. However, if you have chemo or surgery, that might be the time to take doxycycline as it can't make the microbiome much worse. There is research from Prof. Michael Lisanti and his team in Manchester, Salford, that it does seem to work. Note the recommendation to use IVC or the much cheaper, Berberine with doxycycline.

Go to:  Vitamin C plus antibiotic, doxycycline, a lethal combination to cancer stem cells 

   ii) Retinoid Acid - Accutane - This also attacks cancer stem cells. Although Professor Ben Williams used it to beat his cancer,Accutane seems to have a lot of side-effects. Some oncologists use it with good levels of Resveratrol. is a form of vitamin A and used in cases of severe acne and genital warts, where it is highly effective. It was removed from the US market by manufacturer, Roche, after a number of claims that it caused IBS. It has already been used as an anti-cancer chemotherapy in the USA as it destroys rapidly dividing cells. WebMD reports that it is used officially to treat some cancers - there is some evidence it works against types of brain tumours preventing recurrence and it has been used against skin cancer. It does however seem to have more than its fair share of side-effects.

   iii) Niclosamide - seems to have three anti-cancer benefits - again it converts cancer stem cells to ordinary cancer cells, it has effects against p53 restricted cells (60% of all cancer) and it seems to shrink tumours 50%. 

Go to:  Repurposed tapeworm drug, Niclosamide, can kill cancer cells 

Natural compounds know to correct cancer stem cells include - vitamin D3, feverfew, ursolic acid (in Holy Basil and pistacchio nuts), EGCG (green tea), genestein (soy, red clover), lycopene, curcumin - turmeric, resveratrol, ashwagandha, delphinidin (blueberries, raspberries) (1)

3. If you don’t want pay for a visit to a prescribing doctor or Care Oncology there is an alternative to Mebendazole. 

Fenbendazole - is easier to get hold of - try contacting Pet Store suppliers and finding 'Panacur'. It must not be taken with Niclosamide. Fenbendazole was originally discovered by chance when scintists found they could give some rates brain tumours. The rats had been de-wormed with Fenbendazole. One gentleman Joe Tippens developed a protocol and beat his Grade 4, stage 4 NSCLC in three months, using CBD and vitamin D as well. Fenbendazole is taken for three days, then you have 4 days off.

Go to: Anti-Worm drug, Fenbendazole, effective at killing cancer cells 

4. Most Doctors call Melatonin a drug. The Sleeping drug. I have always believed melatonin was an essential cancer preventer especially for people with disturbed sleep patterns (long-haul air hostesses, night shift workers) but actually it acts in about 5 ways directly against cancer. I did a conference with the American melatonin expert Professor Russell Reiter - he argues that everybody with cancer should take 20 mg of melatonin 45 minutes before bed. Professor Ben Williams used it as part of his brain cancer protocol.

Go to: Melatonin self-defence against cancer and, Melatonin helps chemotherapy work, increases survival and reduces side-effects

5. There are two drugs that seem particularly useful against cancer: 

          5.1 Itraconazole –  This is really worth considering if you are taking anti-cancer drugs as it seems very useful if you are taking drugs because it lowers chemo-resistance and increases survival times. It is a simple anti-fungal with few side-effects and attacks mTor and AMPK to drivers of cancer. There is research on breast cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and others.

Go to: Repurposing anti-fungal Itraconazole as an anti-cancer agent 

           5.2 Dipyridamole – Again this is worth considering but whether you are having drugs or not. It has few, if any, side-effects and is widely prescribed to reduce DVT and stroke risk. It acts by reducing levels of platelets (as does curcumin) and platelets are essential for cancer growth, forming blood supplies and metastases. The drug also reduces inflammation and primary tumour size, progression and metastases. 

Go to: Repurposed Dipyridamole as a cancer treatmen

6. Celebrex – This has fans on the Internet who claim it kills cancer cells. Yes there is one study. But really it is an anti-inflammatory and may reduce cancer spread. Not as much information as I would have liked. 

Go to:  Cancer cells self-destruct with Celebrex 

7. Naltrexone – finally a very interesting off-label drug is Naltrexone; but instead of taking 300-500 mg, you take a very low dose of 0.5 to 4.5mg. It is used for pain relief and immune boosting.

Low Dose Naltrexone, or LDN has been described as 'better than the new immunotherapy drugs' and it is known to help in pain management. You pulse it (3 days on and 3 off) and you can use Cannabis oil and/or CBD with it to increase both immune response and pain relief.

Go to: Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) as a cancer treatment

It looks like practitioners for breast, ovarian and similar cancers get the best results with 1 part THC: 4 parts CBD. Brain tumours it is 1:1.

3. How Jane McLelland beat her cancer using off label drugs

Jane McLelland, who was first diagnosed with cervical cancer, and then after having chemotherapy developed leukemia and was deemed Stage 4, Grade 4 in 1999, beat her cancer by using a mixture of diet, exercise, supplements, herbs and off-label drugs. I think it is fair to say as people have been told by her, that Jane came to me for a Personal Prescription. Jane has now written a book 'How to Starve Cancer', which is an important read if you really do want to plan an off-label protocol. Many people report to me that the book is a difficult read.

(To order the book - call 0203 186 1006).

Finally, I have a completely updated summary article concerning 'Off-Label' drugs here: 

Repurposed old drugs as new and effective cancer treatments

 * * * * * * 


1. Berberine as a cancer treatment

2. Lipophilic statin extends survival in cancer patients

3. Mayo Clinic patient page; try CoQ10 with statin; Patient Page - weigh the benefits with the risks

4. Ten natural compounds known to fight cancer stem cells

5. Ashwagandha - hormones, stress, inflammation and cancer management

6. Clemastine reverses brain fog and white matter damage 

7. Acetyl-L-Carnitine benefits during and after chemotherapy

8. 25 natural compounds that target cancer stem cells - Anticancer Res. 2015 Nov ;35(11):5773-88. PMID: 26503998

2019 Research
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