The Naturopathic Approach to Cancer

Volume 4, Part 1

In 1971, US President Richard Nixon and his administration declared war on cancer. By implication, the administration designated cancer as an external enemy, akin to an invading army that must be neutralized. Accordingly, most government-funded cancer research since the 1970s has focused on crude interventions like chemotherapy, which essentially attempt to «kill» cancer cells, all the while failing to understand cancer’s etiology and the mechanisms by which it might later return.

In this newsletter, we will summarize some of the leading holistic, naturopathic approaches to preventing and treating cancer. In the following newsletter, Part 2 in this series, we’ll focus specifically on the causes of colorectal cancer, it’s prevention, and possible therapeutic interventions.

The Enzyme Therapy Approach to Cancer

In 1906, Dr. John Beard proposed that pancreatic proteolytic digestive enzymes serve as the body’s foremost defense against cancer, and that enzyme therapy could be an effective anti-cancer therapy.1 Beard’s theories and his subsequent research attracted some degree of attention within medical and academic circles, but were largely forgotten after he died in 1923.

During the 1960s and 1970s, a dentist from Texas, Dr. William Donald Kelley, revived Beard’s work and began successfully treating cancer patients with enzyme therapy. Despite numerous attempts, Kelley struggled to get his controversial work fairly evaluated within the medical world. Finally in 1986, amid intense pressure, Kelley gave up research and patient care altogether. Before doing so, however, he mentored Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez — a graduate of Cornell University Medical College, a man whose passion and dedication to enzyme therapy eventually forced the medical establishment to take notice.

In 1993, the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) invited Gonzalez to present cases from his own practice as part of an NCI effort to evaluate non-traditional cancer therapies. This resulted in a trial, which was funded by Nestec (the Nestle Corporation), beginning in 1994. The trial, which tested the effectiveness of enzyme therapy on pancreatic cancer patients, concluded in 1999, at which time it was published in Nutrition and Cancer. At the outset of the trial, Gonzalez was told that a 30% success rate would constitute a positive result. Surprisingly, 81% of the trial’s stage IV cancer patients survived for one year, 45% survived for two years, and 36% survived three or more years.2 In comparison, when the pharmaceutical drug gemcitabine was tested on 126 patients with pancreatic cancer, not a single patient lived longer than 19 months.3

Based on the success of the first Gonzalez trial, the National Cancer Institute, in conjunction with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, approved funding for a large-scale controlled trial comparing Gonzalez’s enzyme therapy with chemotherapy, again among patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, this second trial was badly mismanaged and perhaps intentionally sabotaged, particularly by supervisory personnel at Colombia University; they accepted many patients into the study who failed to meet very specific, clearly defined parameters. Subsequent investigations by the US Congress, the NIC, and the FDA all acknowledged the trial was mismanaged. For example, the Office of Human Research Protection, an investigative arm of the National Institutes of Health, determined that 42 of the 62 total patients accepted into the study were inappropriately approved.4

Despite the disappointments of this large-scale human trial, Gonzalez went on to conduct and publish many cutting-edge enzyme therapy studies, most of which have been conducted on mice. For example, for a 2004 study published in Pancreas, Gonzalez et al. concluded, «The treatment with porcine pancreatic enzyme extracts (PPE) significantly prolongs the survival of mice with human pancreatic cancer (PC) xenografts and slows the tumor growth».5

The Enzyme Therapy Protocol

More than just supplementation with pancreatic enzymes, enzyme therapy is a holistic approach with three core pillars:

  1. Personalized Diet
  2. Aggressive, personalized supplementation with nutrients and pancreatic enzymes
  3. Detoxification

The dietary regimens are personalized based on each patient’s unique metabolic profile. Accordingly, they are quite variable, ranging from pure vegetarian programs to those requiring fatty red meat 2-3 times per day.

The supplement regimens, which are also individualized, can be very intensive. Each cancer patient, for example, consumes between 130 and 175 capsules daily; non-cancer patients require considerably fewer supplements per day. The supplement regimens include a wide range of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, anti-oxidants and animal glandular products, prescribed according to each particular patient’s needs and the details of his/her cancer.

Detoxification includes a variety of procedures, particularly coffee enemas, which enhance liver function and, in turn, improve the processing and excretion of metabolic waste products.

Antineoplastons: The Burzynski Approach

In 1977, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski established the Burzynski Clinic, which has since grown to become an internationally recognized cancer center specializing in advanced and cutting-edge cancer treatments. Prior to establishing his clinic, between 1970 and 1977, Burzynski received funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for his work as an investigator and Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. More than 8,000 patients have received treatment at the Burzynski Clinic, including more than 2,300 cancer patients treated in FDA reviewed and Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved clinical trials involving antineoplastons, a cornerstone of Burzynski’s approach to cancer.

Antineoplastons are derivatives of peptides and amino acids that behave as natural regulators of cell differentiation. The Burzynski laboratory has developed a technology to synthesize these molecules, making them suitable for targeted therapeutic injections. More than 30 clinical research studies, conducted over the course of four decades, have demonstrated the effectiveness of antineoplastons against various forms of cancer, particularly against hepatocellular carcinoma and glioma.6

For a 2015 study published in PLoS One, a team of Japanese scientists tested a traditional cancer therapy — hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) — on 65 patients with histologically confirmed metastases of the liver. For one group, they used HAI in conjunction with antineoplastons; the control group received only HAI therapy. Cancer-specific survival (CSS) was significantly higher in the antineoplaston group (median survival time of 67 months) compared to the control group (median survival time of 39 months). The team concluded that antineoplastons are an effective adjunct to other forms of treatment.7

In the Burzynski Clinic, antineoplastons are used in conjunction with personalized cancer therapy, based on genetic tests and assessments. Besides antineoplastons, the personalized approach includes a combination of targeted therapies, including nutritional guidance, and conventional therapies.

Burzynski and his team have conducted the bulk of the research on antineoplaston therapy. Despite their excellent results, many have criticized the low number of subjects used in their studies. In 2015, for example, Burzynski et al. published a case study in Pediatric Neurosurgery about a child who was diagnosed with tectal glioma, a midbrain tumor, at the age of 13. Six years after his initial diagnosis, the patient underwent antineoplaston therapy with Dr. Burzynski. «Currently», Burzynski writes, «over 20 years from his diagnosis and over 13 years from treatment start he is symptom-free and leads a normal life. This report indicates that it is possible to obtain long-term survival of a child with tectal glioma with currently available investigational treatment».8

Over the years, Burzynski has struggled to obtain approval for larger, controlled studies. He has continually faced regulatory setbacks and legal challenges from various government agencies and medical boards. This could be because his approach to cancer poses a financial threat to mainstream allopathic cancer therapies.

The ETMS Approach: Cancer as an Inflammatory Disease

Master herbalist Donnie Yance is the progenitor of the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS) approach to cancer. ETMS emphasizes the practice of «healthy medicine», taking aim at the root sources of disease and distress, with a primary focus on bringing about harmony and balance throughout the body through the use of target-specific, non-toxic cancer-suppressing agents. ETMS has three branches:

  • Branch 1 examines the personal energetic processes and the core constitution of the individual (spirit, mind, body). This includes assessments of body type, build, skin and muscle quality, the eyes, the tongue, the nails, behavior, attitude, the voice, digestion, body temperature, and circulation.
  • Branch 2 examines the individual’s relationship with his/her external environment. Specifically, Branch 2 explores the relationship between gene expression and environmental factors (stressors), including chemicals, drugs, diet, geographical location, emotion, and socioeconomic relationships.
  • Branch 3 examines the intracellular and extracellular terrain, which involves the energetic, physiological, and molecular biology and genetics of cancer. Branch 3 investigates not only the molecular and genetic profile of tumors, but also their interactions with individual host factors (those comprising Branches 1 and 2)

Above all, ETMS recognizes that each person has a unique metabolic and genetic profile. Accordingly, any effective cancer therapy must be individualized. From a more technical perspective, ETMS therapy is largely based on relationships between neoplastic growth and inflammation. Neoplastic growth can be defined as any abnormal growth of tissue, which upon forming into a mass is then referred to as a tumor. Writing for Nature in 2002, Coussens et al. observed, «It is now becoming clear that the tumour microenvironment, which is largely orchestrated by inflammatory cells, is an indispensable participant in the neoplastic process, fostering proliferation, survival and migration. In addition, tumour cells have co-opted some of the signalling molecules of the innate immune system, such as selectins, chemokines and their receptors for invasion, migration and metastasis. These insights are fostering new anti-inflammatory therapeutic approaches to cancer development».9

To mitigate and prevent inflammation, and all its detrimental downstream effects, ETMS therapy employs a variety of stress- and inflammation-mitigating botanical and nutraceutical agents, as well as focused, individualized dietary and lifestyle modifications, based on extensive, technologically advanced diagnostic testing.

The Karim Chubin Approach

The Chubin approach recognizes that every case of cancer is as unique as the individual it afflicts. For some cases of cancer, enzyme therapy might be appropriate, whereas for other cases, ETMS or antineoplastons might be the optimal route. For every case, however, the Chubin approach is dynamic and holistic, involving diet, nutritional supplementation with advanced botantical and nutraceutical formulas, detoxification, and various lifestyle adjustments.

One unique aspect of the Chubin approach, which doesn’t feature as prominently in other naturopathic therapies, is Karim’s emphasis on emotional mapping, a technique that enables him to identify and address emotional imbalances. These imbalances act as stressors. They cause the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal (HPA) axis to become imbalanced, thus resulting in hormonal irregularities and chronic inflammation.

Summary for Cancer Prevention and Mitigation

Cancer is something that everyone, even young and healthy people, should be cognizant of and should take proactive steps to avoid. For those who have been diagnosed with cancer, one of the above treatments, whether alone or in conjunction with traditional cancer therapy, might be appropriate. For everyone else, a typical cancer prevention protocol would include:

  • Broad spectrum of colors from fruits and vegetables, and also from herbs and spices
  • Incorporate turmeric in your diet — a cancer-protective spice
  • The best fruits for fighting cancer are berries, which are rich in quercitin, flavonoids and a broad spectrum of plant nutrients that act as antioxidants
  • Blueberries, which contain pterostilbene — an extremely protective molecule for the brain and the DNA
  • Red and purple grapes, which are very rich in resveratrol — one of the few plant chemicals shown to increase longevity
  • Moderate exercise (like 30-minute walks, 5 days per week)
  • 7-9 hours of sleep every night, which regenerates the immune system
  • Include music or prayer or meditation into your daily routine
  • Include adaptogenic herbs, which modulate stress, thereby optimizing the HPA axis
  • Avoid electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) as much as possible (switch your phone off at night and use a blue tube [not Bluetooth] earpiece when speaking on the phone)
  1. Beard J. The action of trypsin upon the living cells of Jensen’s mouse tumor. Br Med J., 1(2351).
  2. Gonzalez NJ, et al. (1993). Evaluation of pancreatic proteolytic enzyme treatment of adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, with nutrition and detoxification support. Nutr Cancer., 33(2).
  3. Gonzalez NJ, et al. (1993). Evaluation of pancreatic proteolytic enzyme treatment of adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, with nutrition and detoxification support. Nutr Cancer., 33(2).
  4. US Department of Health and Human Services. (July 24, 2012). NIH — Gonzalez Regiment Trial: Response to RFC.
  5. Saruc M, et al. (May 2004). Pancreatic enzyme extract improves survival in murine pancreatic cancer. Pancreas, 28(4).
  6. Korman DB. [Alternative means of drug therapy for cancer: antineoplastons--antitumor properties and mechanisms of action]. Vopr Onkol., 60(4).
  7. Ogata Y, et al. (Mar 2015). Randomized phase II study of 5-fluorouracil hepatic arterial infusion with or without antineoplastons as an adjuvant therapy after hepatectomy for liver metastases from colorectal cancer. PLoS One,10(3).
  8. Burzynski SR, et al. (2015). Complete response and long-term survival (>20 years) of a child with tectal glioma: a case report. Pediatr Neurosurg., 50(2).
  9. Coussens LM, et al. (Dec 2002). Inflammation and Cancer. Nature, 420(6917).