Issue 1 - 2007

AN IMPORTANT NOTICE TO OUR READERS:  As you can imagine, we receive a large number of press releases about new drugs.  Invariably these state that drug X ‘increases survival’.  We are concerned that this phrase misleads and creates an over-expectation in many of our readers, being viewed as implying somehow a ‘cure’ or a success in surviving at least five years when neither is, in fact, true.  Our policy from now on is to refer to ‘an increase in life expectancy’ and, where provided, to state the actual increases from the research.  We believe this is in the best interests of our readers who are almost always patients. It reduces the often-criticised elements of euphoria and over-claim whilst reporting accurately on new and improved developments.

Originally published in icon Issue 1 2007


LATEST WORLD CANCER NEWSglobe


LATEST NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE FINDINGS


CHEMICAL WORLD



LATEST WORLD CANCER NEWS



Cancer Authorities “in Denial”.


Rising rates of cancer diagnosis will put an increasing strain on health care systems across Europe, according to experts writing in the Annals of Oncology.  A recent ‘Study’ indicates that there were 3.2 million new cases of cancer in Europe in 2006, up from 2.9 million in 2004.  Professor Peter Boyle of IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) in Lyon said that the key factor was the increasing average age of the population.  He called for more screening (particularly on breast cancer and PSA tests for prostate). Ruth Yates of CRUK added that “Nowadays, better screening techniques and new treatment technology are all helping to cut the number of people dying of cancer”.

However, our own Chris Woollams had slightly different views, “Oh Dear. If they had suggested more colon cancer screening (where we are still seeing Government delays) then that would have made some sense. BUT. More screening for Breast and Prostate? They’re just showing how very out of touch they are with the real problem.

Firstly, the PSA and mammogram screening programmes are well known to give too many false positives, identifying cases of cancer, which simply are not.  The PSA test has been hugely discredited in the USA. Asking for more screening and earlier screening, just creates ‘statistics complacency’.  More people will have false positives yet be included in the diagnosed figures, then obviously survive so improving the 5-year figures. The earlier diagnosis also logically means more women reach 5-year points and so the overall statistics will therefore show more people “surviving”, less people dying.  How is this, in truth, “beating cancer?”

Even the British Medical Journal has recently stated that the current orthodox medical strategy of Screening, Surgery, Radiotherapy and Drugs has only produced a 5.5 per cent survival improvement, despite the zillions of pounds spent to date. Also the facts are quite clear – large-scale research from Canada and Denmark showed breast cancer screening makes not one jot of difference to long-term survival rates. (See our article on mammograms)

Finally, this disease has NOT simply increasing because the population is ageing.  Overall incidence may have doubled in the last 30 years but, amongst children and teenagers, some cancers have more than trebled. 

So saying the increased levels are down to an ageing population and we need more breast and prostate screening is lazy and inaccurate.  These people must be in denial of the many possible contributory factors in the cancer process.

‘The key factor’ Professor Boyle should be addressing is that some of the very companies that sponsor the major charities and universities’ activities also make the toxic chemicals in household products and pesticides, or the synthetic vitamin and hormone products or heighten our EMF levels through mobile/cordless phones and masts – all factors some MEP’s in the EU and MP’s in the UK are constantly looking to limit; but they are frustrated at every turn by lobbyists and vested interests.  Consequently cancer prevention strategies are a disaster.  And levels will continue to grow. Regular readers of icon would laugh at Boyle and Ruth Yates, if this wasn’t such a serious matter!”



New man at the top of Macmillan


Ciaran Devane will take over as Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support with effect from 1st May 2007.  Ciaran, who replaces Peter Cardy, has ‘a proven track record of both strategic leadership and operational management’. 
(Ed:  We wish Ciaran the very best in his new position.  We are hoping to meet up with Ciaran once he has settled into his new role and interview him about his plans for the future of Macmillan under his leadership ).


NHS ‘squandering’ £25 billion per year


The Doncaster and South Humberside NHS Trust caused a bit more than a local stir when they decided to spend £10,000 on outside consultants to think up a new name and logo.  Prompting comments of ‘scandalous waste of money’ was one thing.  But it also prompted the UK’s national newspapers to focus on the wastage in the total NHS budget.  According to the ‘think tank’ Reform, the NHS ‘squanders £25 billion a year through mis-management,  out of a total of £92 billion’.  That’s a whopping 27 per cent, or one nurse in almost three.  As we reported three years ago, the number of ‘management posts’ now exceeds beds in hospitals.


Lancet covers poor FDA approval of drugs.


According to comment in the Lancet, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration in USA) abuses its drug approval system rather more than people think.  When new drugs are up for approval they are supposed to go before an independent advisory panel.  Last year alone the FDA over-ruled this panel in 28 per cent of cases.  Three years ago the 550 person FDA was so short staffed it was loaned a further 750 staff - all on three year secondment.  Where from?  The pharmaceutical companies, no less.

Unfortunately for UK patients, when a drug has FDA approval, it is virtually guaranteed UK approval.


Breast Screening for Under 50’s – no effect.


A ten year trial involving women aged 40-50 who went for annual breast screening did not show any significant reduction in breast cancer mortality, reports the Institute of Cancer Research in the Lancet (Dec 7th 2006).  The trial involved 160,000 women and was funded by CRUK and the Department of Health.

Researchers estimated that approximately 4 lives in 10,000 women screened might be saved, but reported that this had to be balanced against possible negative consideration such as increased radiation exposure which might increase risk later in life!


Herceptin reduces mortality in early stage breast cancer.


Roughly 20 per cent of women with breast cancer are HER-2 positive and Herceptin has previously been shown in trials to halve the risk of the disease returning in those patients.

Now a trial (Lancet, Jan 2006) amongst early breast cancer patients has confirmed that the drug offers benefit here too.  In a one-year trial involving about 3500 women, the half that received Herceptin after surgery and chemotherapy reported 59 deaths, whilst the non-Herceptin HER-2 group reported 90 deaths.  Professor Ian Smith of the Royal Marsden, who led the international study, felt that this result, after such a short period of study, emphasised the benefits of the drug.

Herceptin costs £20,000 per year per patient.  With 42,000 cases of breast cancer a year, of which 20 per cent are HER-2 positive, 8,000 women could benefit from Herceptin.  On these trial figures alone, approximately 150 lives would be saved annually (an improved mortality of 300 from 450).


Herceptin also increases length of survival in combination therapies.


New research presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium reported that

- Herceptin, when added to Arimidex therapy, increased the time before the cancer progressed to 4.8 months (compared to 2.4 months).  Medium overall survival increased from 23.9 months to 28.5.
- Herceptin, when given up front with docetaxel, showed a long-term survival of more than 4 years.  Patients receiving both survived on average 31.3 months compared with docetaxel alone, where survival was 22.7 months.

All those improving, obviously, have to be HER-2 positive.


PALB-2 – a gene linked to breast and child cancers


Inherit one damaged copy of the PALB-2 gene and you could get breast cancer.  Two, and a child develops serious disorders including cancer.  However, before this CRUK report alarms you, PALB-2 probably only contributes to 100 cases of breast cancer each year in the UK.  PALB-2 encodes a protein that interacts with the BRCA 2 gene.


Prostate cancer – confusion rules


Just when hospitals both sides of the Atlantic seemed to be agreed that patients should not rush into prostate treatment and instead carefully ‘watch’ the situation, comes a report from Sloan-Kettering that seems to say the opposite; a research report suggests older men with early prostate diagnosis live longer when they have the treatment!!  The study, published in December 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analysed 44,630 men over 65 who were diagnosed from 1991 to 1999.  32,000 had surgery, 12,600 went for positive observation.  However, 37 per cent of the latter group died compared with 23.8 per cent of the group who went for treatment.

(Ed:  We suggest all patients who are contemplating surgery to deal with a localised problem look into HIFU – ultrasound treatment.  The therapy is far less invasive or damaging and has a much faster recovery time.  You can read more  on our website  )



Brachytherapy effective, but denied to prostate patients


In a study carried out at St Luke’s Cancer Centre in Guildford, 300 patients treated with low dose brachytherapy - between March 1999 and April 2003 - showed that 93 per cent had survived for 5 years after early stage prostate cancer, and of those with normal erectile function after the procedure, two thirds remained functioning two years later. (The report did not say what percentage stood up to be counted at the start).

Brachytherapy typically involves a 24 hour stay in hospital and general anaesthetic.  A needle inserts roughly 100 tiny radioactive seeds into the prostate gland.  NICE supports the procedure, but Professor Stephen Langley of St Luke’s says that may PCT’s are simply not funding it.


Lung Tumour vaccine in Phase III trial


A new drug called Stimuvax, which can be used with the most common form of lung cancer, is now entering a Phase III trial.  Stimuvax was developed by a small Canadian Biotech company (Biomara) and is a therapeutic vaccine.  This group of drugs is relatively new in cancer therapy and aims to induce the body’s own immune system to identify and kill existing cancer cells by attacking an important molecule like a peptide or protein crucial to the cancer’s survival.  Stimuvax stimulates the immune system to attack a molecule called MUC1, which is abundant in lung cancer cells.  The drug was originally a product of CRUK’s basic research programme.


Brain tumour treatments – NICE turns down two for the moment.


NICE is still seeking ‘comments’ on Temozolomide, and on carmustine implants.  The final decision is not expected until mid-2007.  Currently Andrea Sutcliffe, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, says that the review of both says their benefits are small.

(Ed:  A lot of press ‘fuss’ has been made about NICE denying poor patients access to treatments, stirred up in part by the PR machines of the drugs companies.  All I can say is that when we reviewed these particular drugs/treatments for my daughter we felt the same way as NICE.  Certainly the original trials for Temozolomide were only for grade 3 brain tumours, not for grade 4.  And whilst there was a clear indication that some tumours did go, the trial was only for a limited period.  Furthermore, in icon we covered the fact that a test had been introduced in the USA to see exactly which patients might best benefit from Temozolomide.  This seems complete news to most people working with the drug in the UK.  We’re sorry, but we side with NICE and their current views.  But, as always, we remain open-minded ).


Colon Cancer Alerts


The University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter website:
http://www.WellnessLetter.com is available to anyone who wants to subscribe – for free. This month they have features on Resveratrol, artichokes, thermography instead of mammograms and too much salt. Their sister journal from Johns Hopkins features colon cancer and will send you regular alerts. http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com

UCLA now has over 100 reviews of supplements and their benefits and, this January, featured DNA/RNA supplements.  They have also just launched a new book entitled ‘Wellness Foods A-Z’.  Perhaps all doctors and oncologists reading this should subscribe on line to see the latest how blinkered the UK medical world is becoming?


Fatter women risk womb cancer


The average British woman, who has a 34 inch waist, is more likely to
develop womb cancer than her slimmer sisters. Women with a waist measurement of more than 34 inches have nearly double the risk of womb cancer than women whose waist is 31 inches or less – according to a Cancer Research UK international study published online.

The risk of endometrial cancer (lining of the womb) is also almost doubled in women who have put on more than 44 pounds since the age of 20. And obese women (those with a body mass index of 30 or more) also have almost double the risk of this kind of cancer compared to women of normal weight (those with a BMI between 19 and 25).

The study, part-funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council and published by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) scientists, analysed data from 223,000 women in 10 European countries to conclude that obesity, abdominal fat and adult weight gain had a strong link to endometrial cancer risk.

A CRUK spokesperson said, ”Today’s women are larger than they were when they existed on a wartime diet and were generally more active, and this is having serious consequences for their health”.


Premature baby risk for cancer survivors


The Lancet Oncology (Dec 2006) reports that in 1265 female survivors of childhood cancer the rate of premature births was 21 per cent as opposed to 13 per cent amongst the control group.  Uterine radiation is the main concern.


Hyperthermia aids cervical cancer survival


Peter Wust (Charite Universitatsmedizin, Berlin) and his team have been pioneering the use of hyperthermia with radio and chemotherapy to improve survival rates via surgery in advanced cervical cancer.  (Int.J. Radiat.Onc Biol Phys 2006; 66: 1159-67).

All women in the trial had late stage cervical cancers, but tumours that could not be removed.  By including hyperthermia in the treatment programme, where radio-frequency induced temperatures of 41 degrees for 60 minutes, 14 patients were subsequently able to have surgery and this allowed a 93 per cent 3 year survival.  In the group who had hyperthermia but did not wish to receive surgery, the 3-year survival was still 79 per cent.

The researchers are now continuing with a Phase III trial.  No hyperthermia side effects were reported (one women reported a slight burn).  Future trials may even drop the radio and chemotherapy in favour of hyperthermia.

(Ed: As regular readers know, icon has been reporting on hyperthermia for over three years.  This ‘alternative’ therapy, which has had one of its pioneers - John Holt in Australia - virtually blacklisted by authorities, is gaining momentum.  We encourage readers to read more on our website, especially on the benefits of  HIFU instead of prostate surgery  . It is still early days.)


New standards of care in Kidney Cancer


Memorial Sloan-Kettering reports on its own Phase III trials that the drug sunitinib malate (sutent) is more effective than the conventional treatments for patients with advanced kidney cancers.  Dr Motzer and his co-authors concluded that Sunitinib is the ‘reference standard of care’  (MSKCC-Feb 2007).


Bladder Cancer in men - a bacterial link?


Men with a history of gonorrhoea have twice the risk of bladder cancer (BJC Vol 96.Issue 1).  The study by Michaud at the Harvard School of Public health monitored over 50,000 men since 1986 after two previous studies suggested a possible link.

Gonorrhoea is an infection that often recurs and causes incomplete emptying of the bladder. The inflammation itself and/or the associated symptoms and/or the bacteria involved may all be causal.


Chlamydia screening programme at risk


Chlamydia is a bacterium that has links to increased cervical and ovarian cancer risk, amongst several other dangers.  Now the UK Department of Health has admitted that the Government’s flagship National Chlamydia Screening Programme is being hit by NHS cuts.  This is at a time when sexual diseases continue to increase markedly (source: Pulse, Jan 2007).


EU red tape hampers CRUK’s clinical trials


Apparently European bureaucracy has made running clinical trials a lot more difficult and more expensive.  Having one law which told each country the ground rules has backfired.  Each member is now apparently more likely to interpret the rules differently, making uniformity across countries even more uncertain.  (Ed: We’re not too sure we understand the logic of this CRUK press release!  But if clinical trials are now complicated and more expensive, how on earth are small natural vitamin companies supposed to mount a clinical trial??).


Cancer and Diabetes: Your questions answered?


Cancer and treatment can take may people to new levels of stress.  They can even bring on or worsen symptoms of diabetes, especially pancreatic, adrenal and lung cancers.  Even simple steroids can increase risk - a fact few doctors and even fewer patients seem aware of.

Sometimes the diabetes appears a few years after surgery.  For an excellent review try www.cancerwise.org the on-line magazine of M D Anderson.

Risks are higher for blacks and Asians, and for smokers and people with a history of high blood sugar. 

M D Anderson recommends exercise, controlling blood sugars and the avoidance of sugary, or refined starch foods (Ed: As we have pointed out in the past, some UK hospital dieticians actually recommend these foods for patients on chemotherapy!)


Cancer is a matter of fate!


According to a survey by CRUK, more than 27 per cent of people think that getting cancer is just plain ‘fate’.  However in deprived areas this rises to 41 per cent and in more affluent areas it falls to 14 per cent.  Women are more fatalistic than men.
(Ed:  As readers will know, we are passionate about cancer prevention.  As long as bodies like IARC, CRUK and the Government insist on waiting until something is categorically proven to ‘cause’ cancer, rather than urging a precautionary stance-on factors like EMF’s, pesticides, HRT, household toxins etc – we will simply see numbers rise.  If the possible risks are all around us and people are not warned, they are quite right to be fatalistic.)


LATEST NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE FINDINGS


FURTHER WARNINGS ON SYNTHETIC VITAMINS AND HORMONES


We told you in the last issue that the annual 2 per cent rise in US breast cancer rates - much the same figure is recorded in the UK – had suddenly become a 7 per cent decline. And the expert researchers are all putting this down to a decrease in US women’s usage of the synthetic hormone HRT products brought about by previous research scares. Even CRUK produced figures several years back on the Contraceptive pill showing that the increased risk of breast cancer was
Ever taken  +26%
Took in 30’s  +58%
Took in 40’s +144%
Now comes yet another study which only reinforces our concerns on synthetic vitamins. In the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Feb 28th, a Serbian doctor, Goran Bjelakovic (yes, really) published a report slamming ‘antioxidant supplements’ in chronic disease prevention. Now, this is slightly odd really as JAMA only two years ago ran the Fairfield report saying just how wonderful antioxidants were in chronic disease prevention, but we’ll let that one pass.

Bjelakovic took 815 trials on beta-carotene and vitamin E but dismissed 747 of them because there were no deaths (Ed: !!!!) He then studied the rest and concluded vitamin E and Beta-carotene etc could do more harm than good.

As with the 2004 antioxidant meta-studies from the US (dismissed as dodgy by CRUK) and Copenhagen, we looked into the trials and found yet again that the ones that heighten risk primarily involve synthetic forms of these vitamins.

Now, this is particularly alarming because those are the only forms that the EU is going to allow for sale, largely because it is only the manufacturers of synthetic vitamins that make enough profit to afford the clinical trials.

Worse, yet again the predominant form of vitamin E in the remaining 65 trials was alpha-tocopherol, which as we keep telling you is nowhere near as good in research as other forms of tocopherol and especially tocotrienols (technically banned by the EU). For example, alpha-tocopherol in large amounts is known to block the action of gamma-tocopherol, and amongst the 747 studies our Serb ditched there are a number saying how this version makes a significant and positive contribution to prevention.

Our CANCERactive conclusions are as follows

1 There is more than enough research on how natural antioxidants work. Their action in neutralising free radicals is well proven. The issue is how you take your natural antioxidants – juices, whole foods and/or supplements
2 Yet again, a study, which attempts to decry antioxidant vitamins, has succeeded in pointing the finger of concern firmly at synthetic ones
3 The EU must wake up and realise their approval system only pushes more synthetic antioxidants into the public domain at the expense of natural ones.
4 For our money, there are many other important natural antioxidants (eg. lycopene – tomatoes; turmeric - the curry herb; lemon grass - 300 times stronger than beta-carotene; resveratrol - grape skins etc). They are always ignored in these so-called meta-studies.
5 But if you want the basics like beta carotene – look to natural chlorella. Or for vitamin E ensure you take a natural one with all 4 tocopherols and all 4 tocotrienols in it.
(Ed: For a selection of natural products including Essiac, total E and chlorella, visit our  ‘Products of Choice’  range on our shopping trolley.)


Oesophageal Cancer and aspirin


Several people have written to us in the past about oesophageal cancer.  We have covered a number of studies on its links to ‘acid reflux’.  Unfortunately many doctors stop there and just give the patient antacids, rather than understand the cause.  We have repeatedly suggested that patients go and check out whether they have Helicobacter Pylori, long known to cause stomach ulcers, now linked to stomach cancer, but a cause of acid reflux as well.

Helicobacter can be killed off by the herb Goldenseal with bismuth, or by drugs.  The worse thing you can do, if someone has it, is give them antacids.  The acid in the stomach helps kill the bacteria.  Since localised inflammation is also a huge factor, we always suggest people sip Aloe Vera first thing in the morning and last thing at night, sometimes with garlic perles.  Aloe Vera contains six or seven different anti-inflammatories, including salicylic acid (the active ingredient of aspirin).

It came as no surprise to our editorial team to see that CRUK were now funding a trial - using aspirin plus an anti-ulcer drug, as a possible way of preventing/treating a condition called Barrett’s Oesophagus.  The press release notes that ‘patients with the condition have stomach acid that rises from the stomach into the oesophagus, causing frequent heartburn.  The acid damages the cells in the lining of the oesophagus and, in some cases, they turn cancerous.’

So – about time!  And still failing to understand the real issue.

Meanwhile readers with similar problems might visit a naturopath or homeopath, or a doctor for Helicobacter Pylori tests, take a combination of bismuth and Goldenseal, or drugs to kill it off if it is there.  Parafree from Neways along with wormwood and garlic is also pretty effective.  (Ed: I know; it worked for me after doctors in Harley Street failed - for 8 years - to diagnose my problem. Contact our offices if you need to find these natural products).

And sip Aloe Vera morning and night…….. or take aspirin.


Folate levels in decline


Two separate studies have shown that blood serum levels of the B vitamin, folic acid, are in decline.  A sports nutrition study carried out by the IJSNEM (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism – Oct 2006) showed that, moreover, athletes with lowered levels perform less well and recuperate more slowly.  Another study in MMWR showed pregnant women’s levels have declined by as much as 16 per cent over the last 5 years (Mercola)  (Ed:  Folate deficiency is also linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease risks.  Folic acid/folate is best found in whole grains, spinach, liver, pulses, organic eggs and liver ).



The UK is ‘top’ for junk food


We may not be ‘the best’ at many things in Europe anymore, but when it comes to eating junk food, we have few rivals.

The retail analysts Datamonitor have looked at the confection chomping and fizzy drinks guzzling habits of children around Europe.  Not only are we about 50 per cent ‘worse’ than the next European country, but the problem itself is becoming worse.

Children aged 10-13 consume over £128.4 of confectionery and £149.0 of fizzy drinks in the UK - about double the average of Europe.  But for children aged 5-9, at £106.2 and £106.7 respectively, consumption is about 112 per cent more than average.

As usual, our next-to-useless Food Standards Agency is merely ‘warning’ that today’s children may be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.


Confectionery (spending per child: 2005) Fizzy Drinks (Spending per child: 2005}

  Aged 5-9  Aged 10-13   Aged 5-9 Aged 10-13

UK  £106.2  £128.4  UK  £106.7  £149.0
Netherlands £62.9  £80.5  Spain  £73.8  £106.6 
France  £61.7  £80.5  Germany £54.8  ££77.6
Germany £51.6  £63.1  Italy  £49.0  £70.7
Spain  £45.6  £57.1  Netherlands £38.8  £57.3
Italy  £31.7  £39.7  France  £32.6  £49.1


Milk negates benefits of tea


 Bad news for Britons: adding milk to tea ruins the health benefits, according to a German Study (Jan 2006).

Tea provides complex polyphenol compounds which have positive health benefits linked to cancer protection and arterial strength.  (See Green Tea ).

Now scientists from the Charite University Hospital in Berlin, writing in the European Heart Journal, have shown that the cassein (milk protein) content of milk sticks to the catechin polyphenols in tea and prevents their action.

Sixteen healthy women, all over 50, were given black Darjeeling tea and had their arterial response measured by Ultrasound.  The arteries relaxed.  However the benefit disappeared when ten per cent of the total tea drunk included milk.

Although the study did not cover green tea, the lead scientist felt that the ‘milk effect’ might be why Britons seem to derive less health benefit from their tea consumption. (Agency France – Presse)


Two more studies on importance of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention


 Two new studies have, yet again, confirmed the importance of vitamin D - this time specifically with breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

Moores Cancer Center at UCSD, San Diego, pulled together a number of studies and cross-related them to show that up to half of the cases of breast cancer, and two thirds of the cases of colorectal cancer in the USA could possibly be prevented.

The breast cancer study (Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) posted dose-response data from two earlier studies – and showed that women with the higher blood levels had the lowest risk of breast cancer.  “A 50 per cent reduction risk could be maintained by taking 2,000 IU’s of vitamin D3 daily, plus spending 10-15 minutes per day in the sun“, said Dr Cedric Garland.

The colorectal study (American Journal of Preventive Medicine – Feb 6th 2007) cross-related 5 studies over a 25-year period.  Dr Edward Gorham said “From this research we project that the same combination of supplement levels and sunshine would reduce colorectal incidence by two thirds”.

(Ed:  To repeat our view.  Safe sun – moderate sun – for 30 minutes on a clear day is the best way to deliver vitamin D levels in the body.  It is photosynthesised from the cholesterol layers under your skin.  A long, long way behind, in terms of delivery, comes eating oily fish.  And a long, long way behind that comes eating some grains and dairy.  Supplementation by D3 is the only real alternative to sunshine).


Vitamin D, reformulated as a drug, now ‘has potential’


The British Journal of Haematology (Jan 2006) reports on clinical trials held by the Urinary Oncology Department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York where a new drug called Asentar - a pharmaceutically developed concentrated vitamin D - significantly improved survival times. 

Dr Howard Scher, team leader, ran a trial involving 250 prostate cancer patients.   In all cases, conventional hormone therapy had stopped working.  Patients took the Vitamin D drug for three weeks, with a fourth week’s pause, in combination with Taxotere - and life expectancy increased from 16.5 to over 24 months.  Thrombic side effects of Taxotere also reduced by 34 per cent.  No side effects for Asentar were reported.

A Phase III trial is now taking place, with over 900 patients, as this vitamin D synthetic concentrate still needs license approved.  Dr Scher said, “It has enormous potential”. (Ed: Vitamin D always has had enormous potential – if only most UK oncologists would stop ignoring it)



Eat tomatoes with your broccoli for prostate relief


We have told interested parties for prostate cancer, in the past, about the benefits of lycopene, most usually found in tomatoes (especially available from cooked tomatoes); and of the benefits of indole 3 carbinol and sulphuranes from broccoli (indole 3 carbinol can convert aggressive oestradiol to safer oestrone, while sulphur compounds have been shown to actually restrict the growth of cancer cells).

Now the University of Illinois has shown that eating both in the same meal has an even greater benefit than just one of the two alone.  John Erdman, Professor of Food Science at the university said they were quite different substances and don’t have to be eaten together to provide benefit, but when combined they are very complementary because they work on different anti- cancer pathways.

The tests were performed on rats and those given the broccoli/tomato combination had better results than those on drugs (notably finasteride –an oestrogen inhibitor).
(Ed:  Julie Clark of CRUK, in response to this research, merely noted the benefits of a balanced diet.  It is high time more detailed attention, brainpower and funding were provided for these important studies in the UK.  It is too easy for our medical ‘experts’ to ignore overseas findings ).  (The Times: Dr Mercola, Cancer Research Jan 9th 2007).


And next……Genetically modified grapes


Between 1999 and 2005 there have been 25 tests in the USA of genetically modified grapes.  And these varieties will shortly be in your wine bottle.  But it’s not just another US phenomenon; those serial resistors of GM food, the French, have also been working on GM grapes - as have the Italians, Germans and Australians.

The Institute of Science in Society are extremely concerned because, apart from the genetic DNA modification – which, in tests, has been shown to survive right through to the wine bottle - GM strains on herbicide tolerance, synthetic genes and proteins, and virus resistant coatings to the grapes have been developed.  One even helps the grapes to resist insects by producing hydrogen cyanide.  (Ed: That’ll be the Cabernet Cyanide variety then- so just when you thought you were getting all those lovely antioxidants, resveratrol and anti-fungal agents from grapes, grape seed and wine, the scientists decide to change it all.  Oh dear!).


Christie Hospital test Manuka Honey


Honey has been used over the years - since the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians - to treat infections.  Maori warriors used to use a honey made by bees from pollen on the manuka bush in New Zealand, as it is extremely effective against infection and inflammation.  Now Christie Hospital, Manchester is trying to use those same properties.  The cancer department, knowing of its powers to inhibit bacterial growth is studying it with mouth and throat cancer patients.  Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can causes mucositis, where the mouth, throat and even the digestive system become inflamed.  This can make patients susceptible to picking up other infections – even MRSA.


Housework reduces bowel cancer!


CRUK have shown that exercise – they cite the gym, walking briskly, or even cleaning the kitchen floor and vacuuming – is a factor in reducing colon cancer.  413,000 people from 10 European countries were studied and the physically active were 22% less likely to develop colon cancer –1 hour a day was recommended.  (Ed: Be careful.  People who go to the gym probably smoke less and eat more healthily too!)


Yet again, olive oil is shown to protect against cancer


We’ve previously reviewed a major US study on the Mediterranean diet and the lowered cancer risk associated with it. We have frequently told you of the benefits of olive oils, fish oils, garlic and ginger acting in a similar way to salycilin (aspirin, aloe vera) in reducing inflammation, often a precursor to cancer, especially in the colon.  Research in 2005 from ULSTER University showed that phenols (generally present in green tea, green vegetables and so on) had very advantageous benefits, but one in particular (oleocanthal) found in olive oil was particularly effective in reducing inflammation.

Another study now reports yet another benefit.  Danish researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital studied 182 males from five European countries.  They found that those in the Mediterranean region had lower levels of 8-oxod G in their urine.  This compound is a by-product of oxidative, free radical damage to cells.  The less you have in your urine, the less damage is taking place.

The scientists then gave all the men four teaspoonfuls of olive oil per day and noted that levels of 8-oxod G fell a further 13 per cent.  The Danish scientists concluded that this was due to the specific antioxidant properties of the polyphenols reducing DNA damage.


Aspirin therapy - it’s in the genes


The confusion caused by the apparent inconsistency of aspirin to protect against colorectal cancer may well be down to genetics.  (J. Nat Cancer Inst.2006; 98; 1494-1500).  Andrew Chan of Harvard Medical School believes that Aspirin may have a role to play in all cancers, depending upon the genetic subset of the population to which you belong.  (Ed:  All in all, this means it may help prevent or control.  Or it may not! ).



CHEMICAL WORLD


Petition to ban Mercury in vaccines and amalgam fillings


Michele Payne of DAMS is one of the voices leading a push to have a national petition signed and delivered to Number 10.
And well she might. Mercury is regarded as so dangerous in France that it requires tankers with a double skin and police outriders to transport it. Yet in the UK we use it in dental fillings and in about three quarters of our vaccines. About 5 years ago 83 of the top 100 vaccines in the US had a mercury-based carrier. The FDA asked companies to remove it – the figure fell to 75. Surely, if it is dangerous, it is dangerous! There are already reported links to autism in children.
Go to http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/mercury



Breathing household fuels and frying oils increases lung cancer.


Nineteen worldwide scientists met in Lyon in October 2006 (IARA) and concluded that there was more than enough research evidence from around the world to say that both coal and wood in-home fires, and stir-frying foods increased your risks of lung cancer.  Apparently heating oils to high temperatures and wok-frying, pan-frying or deep-frying increases lung cancer risk from fumes.  Carcinogenicity was confirmed using rapeseed oils and rats.  (Ed: Damn clever these rats - first they smoke cigarettes, then they fry their dinner! They’ll be taking indole 3 carbinol and lycopene next).


US Milk may contain yet another added hormone


In the same month that Dundee Paradise made her British debut (she’d been cloned in the USA and slipped into Britain without the knowledge of the UK regulators), comes a warning about US milk (Source: Healthy Update USA).

Some US milk now contains r BGM (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) a genetically engineered, potent variant of cow’s natural hormone.  Extensive US research is showing that FDA claims - that this Monsanto product is safe and indistinguishable from natural milk - are quite simply untrue.


Genetically modified eggs to make anti-cancer proteins


Scientists in Scotland have developed genetically modified chickens, capable of laying eggs containing proteins needed to make cancer-fighting drugs.  The Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, says it has produced five generations of birds that can produce useful levels of life-saving proteins in egg whites.  (Ed:  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that Bernard Matthews wants to help!).


New Phone masts not being given the green light.


In recent weeks there seems to be a growing move to common sense by our town councils.

Firstly, Bournemouth council turned down plans by O2 to erect a mast near homes.  Inspector Phil Grainger, for the Government, turned down O2’s subsequent appeal saying, “the proposed mast would affect the quality of life for nearby residents, who have concerns about health implications” (Newsquest Media).  Our own patron Cllr Dr John Millward added,  “This is a victory for common sense.  The proposed mast was to be disguised as a telegraph pole!”

Another mast turned down was to be erected by T mobile on Grove Road in London, next to houses, shops and flats.  The local publican Mr Higgins raised 100 signatures in his pub and all expressed health and aesthetic concerns.  (Archant Regional/Evening News).



Wormwood – fake supplies increasing.


Wormwood, a Chinese Herb, is now in short supply.  Why?  It has an excellent effect against malaria – better than all five developed drugs.  The WHO has endorsed this and a recent clinical trial showed that everyone who took it felt better within hours and recovered within days.

Apparently (Dr Mercola, Dec 11th 2006), thanks to its effectiveness, it is running into short supply, encouraging fake drugs (usually little more than chalk) to become widespread in South East Asia.

Experts also suggest taking wormwood to kill parasites and microbes, increasingly being noted to play some part in cancers.  (Ed: You can always try this link)
 


Astra-Zeneca profits surge


Full year profits for Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra-Zeneca came in recently at over $8 BILLION.  That was up about 30 per cent from last year.  (Ed:  This puts the comments of Imperial College’s Professor Waxman, in the November BMJ, into perspective when he complains that ‘Alternative medicine is big business, with a market value in the UK alone of £250 million…. and sales increase of 7 per cent per annum’).



Two 14 year old girls expose Ribena in New Zealand


You may have seen all those large dispensers in your hospital containing ready-to-drink vitamin C-rich Ribena.  We have told you before that, in our opinion, glucose-rich drinks are the last thing that cancer patients should drink (glucose is the favourite food of a cancer cell). Now GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s second largest food and pharmaceutical company, has been fined over US $150,000 having pleaded guilty to breaching New Zealand’s Fair Trading act over the ready-to-drink juice.

Two 14 year old students from Auckland, Anna Devathasan and Jenny Suo, decided to test the product Ribena as part of their school project to see if it really did meet its promotional ‘rich in vitamin C’ claims (for example one saying ‘the blackcurrants in Ribena have four times the vitamin C of oranges). Finding less than 22 mgs of vitamin C per 100 mls, and four times less than contained in similar orange drinks, they complained to GSK but were ignored. So the girls went to New Zealand’s consumer watchdog, the Commerce Commission. Result? GSK ended up in court facing 15 breaches of the Fair Trading Act, each one with a possible US $1million fine. After pleading guilty, the judge further ordered that GSK should place ads telling the truth about the product. The judge described GSK’s behaviour as a ‘massive’ breach of trust between the ‘health company’ and the public. (The Nation/Reuters)


Big Pharma’ creates its own backlash


Ed: Although this piece is not about cancer but about ‘bird flu’ we felt it was worth inclusion for general interest (From Money Morning)


 “The Indonesian government is refusing to supply bird flu samples to foreign scientists. GlaxoSmithKline has attacked the decision, which will hinder its efforts to develop a human vaccine for the virus.
So what’s the problem? The Indonesians want the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide guarantees that the samples won’t be used commercially.
The Indonesian government is worried that if it hands over the samples, they’ll go from the WHO to big pharma vaccine-makers such as GSK, who’ll then create vaccines that the poor in developing countries won’t be able to afford.
The reason that Indonesia is so important in the hunt for a bird flu vaccine is because it has seen the most human fatalities as a result of H5N1. There have been 64-recorded deaths in the country, and as Robin Pagnamenta in The Times says, it is “considered one of the most likely places where a human pandemic strain could emerge.”
Any decision to pull out of the current WHO system, whereby countries share information on flu viruses freely, could have serious knock-on consequences. The agreement to share information on flu viruses has stood for 50 years. “Any decision to pull out would be the first in the system’s history.”
However, despite the worries, and the anger of the drug makers, the WHO concedes that Indonesia does have a point. “Indonesia is rightly concerned about its access to a vaccine. At most, manufacturers will be able to produce only 500 million doses - far short of what will be needed in the event of a pandemic. The vaccines will be in limited supply and will probably be available only to countries which have manufacturing capacity.”
As 95% of that capacity is in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, Indonesia would be some distance down the pecking order before it could get its hands on any vaccine.
The country is already talking to US vaccine giant Baxter about a potential deal to develop a vaccine outside the WHO system, and others (such as Vietnam) might do the same”.

Issue 2 - 2007
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