Using Alternative Therapies to Fight Cancer

Sick dogCancer shortens the lives of fully half of all dogs and cats in the U.S.

The disease is pervasive, it’s often diagnosed too late, and there is a disturbing trend toward cancer in ever younger companion animals. These factors, coupled with the risks and expense associated with aggressive traditional veterinary cancer treatments, have vets and pet owners alike searching for less toxic, effective therapies to prevent and treat the disease in dogs and cats.

Two supplements are currently under investigation for their potential affects on osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that accounts for an estimated 85 percent of all canine bone tumors. Traditional treatment for osteosarcoma hasn’t improved in the past 15 years and is radical in nature -- amputation of the limb, followed by chemotherapy.

Even with amputation, dogs treated for the disease only survive an average of two years because the cancer metastasizes to the lungs.

Curcumin, a derivative of the Indian spice turmeric is one of the cancer-fighting supplements under study. The herb artemisinin, also known as sweet wormwood, is the other.

STAT3, a protein that helps tumors metastasize and defend against chemotherapy, is inhibited by curcumin. Studies suggest the spice is not well-absorbed after ingestion, so researchers are investigating the potential of curcumin-derived compounds to kill tumor cells.

The artemisinin herb has been shown to kill both human and canine cancer cells in laboratory studies. The herb hasn’t proved effective in studies with canine cancer patients – it seems the doses given weren’t enough to achieve the blood levels required to make an impact on the disease.

Similar to the situation with curcumin, researchers suspect absorption and metabolism affect how well artemisinin works in live animals vs. how it impacts cell lines in test tubes in the laboratory. Additional studies are planned.

Dr. Becker's Comments:

The Veterinary Practice News article linked above discusses just two of literally dozens of supplements that can be offered to dogs and cats with cancer to:

  • Help fight the disease itself
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Alleviate pain
  • Reduce stress
  • Heal wounds caused by the disease, surgery and/or radiation
  • Mitigate the toxic load delivered by traditional chemotherapy
  • Provide a host of other beneficial applications

Put Together a Cancer Treatment Team for Your Pet

If you have a beloved dog or cat diagnosed with cancer, or you are concerned about your pet’s future health, my first recommendation, as always, is to team up with an integrative/holistic veterinarian. Most traditional vets have very limited knowledge in the use of nutrition, supplements and other alternative treatments for cancer.

A DVM who also has extensive education and experience in the area of non-traditional medicine can be an invaluable resource for complementary therapies like supplements – therapies that can preserve, protect and support the health of your pet no matter what condition he’s in.

If you’re familiar with the disease of cancer, you’re aware that treatment is often one long trial-and-error experiment in finding what works for the individual. No two patients are identical. The same disease can behave very differently from one patient to the next, and a treatment that is extremely helpful for one individual might not be helpful at all for the sick pet next door.

That’s why the more potential healing tools you can offer your pet, the better. You need the help of a veterinary oncologist, possibly a surgeon, and a holistic vet as well. And one of the very first things you should do if you haven’t already is transition your pet to a raw, grain-free diet rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and amino acids.

It’s not possible to discuss all the alternative cancer treatment therapies available, or even all the supplements, in a short article. So I’m going to focus today on just a few I feel are particularly beneficial.

IV Antioxidant Therapy

Supplementation with high doses of a variety of micronutrients, including dietary antioxidants (carotenoids, vitamins C and E, selenium) can improve immune function, decrease toxicity to non-cancerous cells, help reverse metabolic changes and increase tumor response to chemo and radiation therapy.

Intravenous (IV) delivery of antioxidants delivers the nutrients directly into the bloodstream. This is the most efficient method for getting any compound or medication into your pet’s body.

Even if your dog or cat’s intestinal tract was perfectly healthy, swallowing nutrients would only allow for about 10 to 25 percent absorption, and then the liver takes over and effectively destroys much of the 10 to 25 percent.

IV therapy allows the nutrients to bypass the gut and liver and be delivered directly into the bloodstream. It also allows for delivery of much higher dosages of antioxidants that do their best work to protect and defend your pet’s body only at very high blood concentrations.

Vitamin C is a good example, as it can kill cancer cells, but only at much higher blood concentrations that can be reached by oral administration. High concentrations of a vitamin in the blood push more of that vitamin into cells where it does its best work.

Poly-MVA Therapy

Many diseases, including cancer, are the result of failure of normal cell development. Exploiting the Wartburg theory, Dr. Merrill Garnett discovered that all cancer cells have abnormal electron transfer systems. This is corrected by Poly-MVA.

Scientists are searching for better methods to cure cancer. Currently, chemotherapy and radiation therapy produce dangerous side effects because they lack specificity. A goal of medical researchers is to find treatments that act solely on cancer cells. The compound Poly-MVA combines the vitamin lipoic acid with the trace element palladium.

Palladium is first dissolved in a suitable acid under high heat at an extremely specific concentration, and then the vitamin lipoic acid is dissolved. They must first be brought together in high heat and “cooked” for a defined interval, which creates a substance called DNA reductase, or “Poly-MVA.”

Based on more than 35 years of research, Merrill Garnett, with help from his son, Wade, is developing “electro-active” drugs that destroy certain malignant tumors without damaging healthy cells. The Garnetts’ work is based on the theory that all normally developed cells contain an inward directed energy flow.

They have focused their research on finding pathways that alter electron flow in tumor cells, as normal cell development requires normal energy flow. In laboratory experiments, the scientists found that by introducing synthetic mimics of electric pathways, cancer cells are selectively destroyed.

The Poly-MVA developed by the Garnetts works because healthy cells have “oxygen radical pathways.” Normally, oxygen radicals are formed when fatty acids donate electrons to oxygen. These oxygen radicals have an unpaired electron charge and are unstable. Special proteins in the mitochondria convert these unstable molecules into water and usable energy.

At the Garnett Laboratory in Stony Brook, New York, the Garnetts are producing synthetic mimics of electronic pathways by introducing “synthetic DNA reductase” into cells. When placed into a normal cell, synthetic DNA reductase produces oxygen radicals.

Since cancer cells have one-twentieth the oxygen of normal cells and no oxygen radical pathways, protein radicals are formed when this process occurs in tumor cells. Protein radicals denature the tumor cell’s proteins, thereby destroying the cancerous cells.

Because Poly-MVA is fat- and water soluble, it travels to all cells in the body. Since normal cells are capable of converting the radicals to energy and water, no harm occurs in healthy cells.

Ozone Therapy

Ozone therapy as a treatment for cancer is based on a very simple concept.

Healthy cells thrive on oxygen. By contrast, the microbes that cause diseases like cancer are typically anaerobic, meaning they thrive in the absence of air or free oxygen.

Total immersion of anaerobic life forms, like those that cause cancer, in an energetic form of pure oxygen (ozone) for a sufficient period of time has the ability to extinguish these disease causing microbes.

There are many methods of administering ozone, however, it is primarily used in an IV fluid solution. It can also be used topically.

Read here for a brief but excellent summary of the benefits of ozone therapy – what it is, how it works, and why your non-integrative, non-holistic veterinarian will quite likely discourage it.

+ Sources and References