Posts Tagged ‘chemotherapy’

Is there a threat of antibiotic resistance for surgical and chemotherapy patients.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

logo1267406_mdA new study published in the Lancet Infectious Disease Journal concluded that the rising antibiotic resistance could have disastrous consequences for patients receiving surgery or cancer chemotherapy.  New estimates show that up to half of infections following surgery and over a quarter of those following chemotherapy are caused by organisms already resistant to standard prophylactic antibiotics in the United States. They further say that just a 30% reduction to the efficacy of preventive antibiotics that are given routinely before, during, and after these procedures could result in 120,000 more infections and 6300 infection-related deaths every year in the United States.  Although bacterial resistance was known, it extent was unknown previously.

Researchers conducted a review of all meta-analyses of randomized control trials conducted between 1968 and 2011. They examined the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis in preventing infection-related deaths after 10 of the most common surgical procedures and blood cancer chemotherapy and calculated the additional number of infections and infection0related deaths under different scenerious of reduction in the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis. In addition, they use data and existing studies from the National Health Safety network they estimated the proportion of infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to currently used standard prophylactic antibiotics., They found that between 39% (after caesarean section)and 50-90% (after trans-rectal prostate biopsy) of surgical site infections are caused by organisms that are  resistant to recommended antibiotic prophylactic regimes. Also, just over a quarter of the infections after blood cancer chemotherapy are resistant to standard antibiotics. Using additional modelling they estimated that a 10% drop in the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis could result in 40,000 additional infections every year in the United States at best. or 280,000 infections in a pessimistic scenerio –a 70% drop in efficacy.  They also concluded the infection-related deaths could increase by 2100in an optimistic scenerio. or even a 15,000 deaths in a pessimistic scenerio. They concluded that clinicians have a responsibility to prevent this from happening by clinician education, guideline development, and formulary restrictions to optimize antibiotic use.

Can Altering Gut Microbes Reduce Chemo Side Effects

Friday, September 18th, 2015


In a new study published in Chemistry & Biology researchers concluded that some of chemotherapy’s side effects result from gut microbes that latch onto the drugs as they are eliminated from the body and transform them into toxic species that cause severe diarrhea. It is possible to shut down this process in mice as a first step in helping cancer patients.

They say bacteria consume a sugar called glucuronic  acid through the use of a bacterial enzyme called Beta-glucuronidase from small chemicals sent by the body to the gastrointestinal tract for elimination.  The chemo drug irinotecan is linked to glucuronic acid to mark it for elimination, and when the GI tract bacteria remove the sugar, they release a virulent toxic drug back into the intestine that causes diarrhea in up to 90% of people who take irinotecan. Researchers have characterized various forms of Beta-glucuronidase    produced by different strains of bacteria residing in the gut, and show that inhibiting GI bacterial Beta-glucuronidases in mice does not affect irinotecan that is circulating in the blood and is  needed to combat cancer. This new understanding provies a promising new set of targets for controlling drug-induced GI toxicity.

Is Grape Seed Useful in Bowel Cancer?

Friday, February 21st, 2014

logo1267406_mdA new study published in PLOS ONE concluded that  grape seed extracts can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy and reduce it’s side effects in bowel cancer. The authors said “This is the first study showing that grape seed can enhance the potency of one of the major chemotherapy drugs in its action against colon cancer cells.,” They further said “Our research also showed that in laboratory studies grape seed taken orally significantly reduced inflammation and tissue damage caused by chemotherapy in the small intestine, and had no harmful effects on non-cancerous cells. Unlike chemotherapy, grape seed appears to selectively act on cancer cells and leave healthy cells almost affected.”

Researchers showed that grape seed extract had no side effects on healthy intestine at concentrations of up to 1000mg/kg and significantly decreased intestinal damage compared to the chemotherapy control,. They also showed that it decreased chemotherapy-induced inflammation by up to 55%, and increased growth-inhibiting effects of chemotherapy on colon cancer cells in culture by 26%,  Further research is planned.


Is High Dose Vitamin C Beneficial for Ovarian Cancer Patients?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

logo1267406_mdA new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine concluded that high dose vitamin C administered intravenously with traditional chemotherapy, helped kill cancer cells while reducing the toxic effects of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer based upon studies with cells, animals and humans. Although traditional medicine stopped using high dose vitamin C after finding oral administration ineffective in two clinical trials whereas alternative medicine continued using it . The researchers said ” What weve have discovered is that, because of its pharmacokinetic differences, intravenous vitamin C as opposed to oral vitamin C, kills some cancer cells without harming normal cells.”

The clinical trial involved 27 patients with newly diagnosed Stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer. All received conventional therapy with paclitaxel or carboplatin and some were also treated with high-dose intravenous vitamin C. Participants were followed for 5 years and those receiving the vitamin C tended to experience lower toxic effects from the chemotherapy drugs. In laboratory rodents, researchers found that vitamin C killed cancer cells at the concentration achievable only by intravenous inbfusion, with no observable toxicity or pathological changes in the liver, kidney or spleen. More resear h is planned based upon these results and the researchers said “our data provide strong evidence to justify larger anbd robust clinical trials to definitely examine the benefits of adding vitamin C to conventional chemotherapy.”


Can Fasting Have a Positive Effect Against Cancer?

Friday, February 17th, 2012

A study in Science Translational Medicine concluded that chemotherapy works better when combined with cycles of short, severe fasting and that fasting alone effectively treated a majority of cancers tested in animals, specifically five out of eight cancer types in mice responded to fasting alone. The researcher said “the combination of fasting cycles plus chemotherapy was either more or much more effective than chemo alone.”
Specifically, the studies in mice showed that fasting cycles without chemotherapy slowed the growth of breast cancer, melanoma, glioma, and human neuroblastoma and in several cases the fasting alone was as effective as chemotherapy. Fasting also extended survival in mice with a human ovarian cancer. The study of melanoma showed that cancer cells became resistant to fasting alone after a single round but that cycle was as effective as chemotherapy in reducing the spread to other organs. For all types of cancers studied, fasting with chemotherapy improved survival, slowed tumor growth and/or limited the spread of tumors. In one series with a highly aggressive type of children’s cancer that had spread throughout the organism multiple cycles of fasting combined with chemotherapy cured 20 percent of the mice and produced a more limited spread of the same cancer in 40 percent. In no instance did mice survive when treated by chemotherapy alone. However, fasting had its limits and with large tumor masses fasting and chemotherapy could reduce the growth but could not achieve cancer-free survival.
A clinical trial of several years is need to determine whether or not humans would benefit from the same treatment.

New Lung Cancer Treatment Could Replace Chemotherapy

Friday, December 3rd, 2010


Research on a new inhalable dry powder of a common chemotherapy drug encapsulated in nanoparticles shows it is more effective in treating lung cancer than the IV injection or solution form of the chemical. In an animal experiment over 80% of the mice survived over 90 days and over 70% survived 140 days when treated with the inhalable dry powder whereas none of the mice treated with the IV injection or solution form survived past 50 days. The researchers concluded “results show that this treatment method may not only increase someone’s survival rate but could also potentially be less toxic to the body.” The inhalable powder was also more effective in decreasing the amount and size of the tumors than in those treated with IV injections or solution.

More information is available at:

Multigene Testing for Breast Cancer May Help Patients Avoid Chemotherapy

Friday, January 22nd, 2010


A study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology noted that a 21-gene test that predicts whether early breast cancer patients will benefit from chemotherapy is influencing the decision for type of treatment ordered by physicians and patients. In their study the researchers reported that as a result of the test the physicians changed their treatment plan for 31.5 % of the cases, and patients changed their treatment plan 31.5% of the time.
The multigenetic test, Oncotype DX, examines 21 genes from a tumor sample to determine how active they are. A test score between 0 and 100 predicts the likelihood of the cancer recurring. If women have a low score, chemotherapy is not recommended. Since the test became available in 2004 (for patients with estrogen recepton-positive breast cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes) , over 120,000 breast cancer patients have undergone the test. There are about 100,000 cases of breast cancer that fall within this category yearly.
This study looked at 89 breast cancer patients who received the gene test. They were treated by 17 medical oncologists. Doctors changed decisions for 28 patients and in 20 of these they changed from hormone therapy plus chemotherapy to hormone therapy alone. Twenty-four patients changed their decisions including 9 who dropped chemotherapy. Doctors reported the test increased their confidence in their treatment decision in 76% of the patients. The cost of the test is $3,910 and most insurance plans will cover it.

Dr Geronimo Rubio, Dr Adam Perlman, and Ms Carolyn Gross Interviewed on the Holistic Health Show

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Guests interviewed by Dr Carl O Helvie, host, Holistic Health Show on BBS Radio ( Station 3 on Saturday were Dr Geronimo Rubio (left), Dr Adam Perlman (right), and Ms Caroline Gross.

Dr Rubio is Medical Director of the Rubio Cancer Center and his biography was presented earlier. More information is available at Dr Rubio discusses his use of immunotherapy and other alternative therapies in successfully treating various types of cancer.

Dr Perlman is Director of Integrative Medicine at St Barnabas Health Care System and Medical Director of the Carol and Morton Siegler Center for Integrative Medicine in Livingston, New Jersey. His biography was presented previously. He discusses the integrated approach to cancer treatment that is used at St Barnabas and that is a model of care combining traditional and altenative therapies.

Ms Carolyn Gross was diagnoses with stage 3 breast cancer in 2003 and was treated successfully by Dr Rubio with immunotherapy and alternative therapies. Her biography was presented earlier and she will talk about her treatments.

The interview follows and is also on iTunes. If you wish to have this mailed to you, please sign up on another page on this site.

St Barnabas and Cancer Treatment Center of America as Models of Care on Holistic Health Show

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

On Saturday, August 15 Dr Carl O Helvie, Host of the Holistic Health Show, interviewed Dr Adam Perlman (top left), Dr Timothy Birdsall (top right) and Mrs Kelly Swobode (lower right). Dr Perlman is Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at the St Barnabas Health Care System and Medical Director of the Carol and Morton Siegler Center for Integrative Medicine in Livingston, New Jersey. The Center provides a comprehensive traditional and integrative treatment program for cancer patients. Further information about Dr Perlman and the center appeared previously and can be found at;

My second guest was Dr Timothy Birdsall, Vice President of the Cancer Treatment Center of America who talked about their model of care that incorporates traditional and integrative care for cancer patients. More information on Dr Birdsall and the program can be found on a previous blog or at:

My final guest was Mrs Kelly Swobode an 31 year cancer survivor with melanoma who was given 3 months to live and who used laetrile and prayer for recovery.

A link for the streaming of the show follows. If interested in receiving future shows free sign up on another page on this site and they will be mailed to you.

Dr Carl O Helvie Interviews 5 Cancer Survivors

Sunday, July 19th, 2009


On Saturday, July 18, I interviewed 5 cancer survivors pictured from left to right–Aurea McGarry, Linda Wilson, Regina Leeds, Les Thiele, and Lori Kuban .

Aurea is a 9 year Non Hodskins Lymphoma survivor who won the Mrs. U.S. Beauty of Georgia Contest in 2003 and the title of Most Inspirational Contestant. She is the creator, producer and host of the television show Live Your Legacy with Aurea McGarry. Earlier she worked on the soap opera Edge of Night. She discusses her experiences with cancer in her book I Won’t Survive, I’ll Thrive. More information is available at:

Linda had a tumor of the kidney and used alternative interventions. She and her husband have owned a rare and used book business for 25 years. She has degrees in English Literature, and Respiratory Therapy, and a Masters in Theology. She is an ordained Episcopal Minister but currently works with the Catholic Apolistic Church. She writes when she has time and has a novel placed with an agent currently. She can be reached at:

Regina is a 7 year survivor of third stage uterine cancer who used traditional and alternative interventions. She is a professional organizer and authored six books including the New York Times best seller One Year to an Organized Life. More information is available at

Les is a 3 time ovarian cancer survivor who used complementary interventions. She talks with cancer patients several times a week and is in the process of putting up a web site. She can be reached at: (617) 834-1597.

Lori is a brain tumor survivor who used traditional and alternative interventions. She has a baccalaureate and masters degree and is a research librarian. She is also a cancer and health care advocate who speaks and provides workshops for cancer survivors and professionals including being a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. She also gives radio and television interviews. More information is available at

The interviews for this show follow.