Quackwatch continues to lie about and harass anyone who dares step outside the box. The attacks are crude and malicious, mostly based on bogus scientific credibility. Generally anything safe, gentle and holistic is lambasted as if it were the most deadly toxic intervention, that only a murderous psychopath would even contemplate, while at the same time conveniently side-stepping the irksome truth that the “proper” medicine they are defending routinely kills over 220,000 patients a year in the US alone (and I mean KILLED by blunders and toxicity problems).
However, there was a valid note of caution about the use of Insulin Potentiated Therapy for cancer (IPT). It’s true there are no real scientific studies to back up claims being made….
To quote Quackwatch:
IPT is based on the notion that intravenous insulin increases the effect of medications so that lower doses can be used. Its promoters suggest that somehow the insulin "opens the pores" of cells throughout the body so that certain drugs enter more easily. It is used mainly for treating cancer. The leading proponent is Stephen B. Ayre, M.D., of Burr Ridge, Illinois, who coined the treatment’s name in 1986. In 2003, his Web site stated:
The treatment . . . features an innovative low-dose chemotherapy protocol called Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT) that uses 75-90% less chemotherapy than the traditional treatment to destroy cancer cells. This low dose treatment causes little to none of the negative side effects such as loss of appetite, nausea, hair loss and fatigue.
IPT was developed in Mexico City in 1932 by Dr. Donato Perez Garcia, Sr. and was used by him for decades to treat a wide variety of cancers, including cancers of the breast, lung and prostate. His son, Donato Perez Garcia Bellon, M.D., and his grandson, Donato Perez Garcia, Jr., M.D, followed Dr. Garcia in this work. Collaborating with these two physicians over the last 25 years, Dr. Ayre studied and researched IPT, resulting in their publication of scientific articles on the therapy in medical journals.
Cancer cells have 20 times more insulin sensitive receptors than normal healthy cells. By introducing insulin into the body before the chemotherapy drugs, the insulin highlights the cancer cells due to their higher insulin receptor content, and selectively enhances their absorption of the chemotherapy. Less chemotherapy is needed to kill the cancer cells, with less dose related side effects. Glucose is given to counter insulin’s other effect of lowering blood sugar.
Quite a good description—but then Quackwatch goes on with its business of character assassination and disinformation, which I refuse to relay here.
However it does seem that Ayers and the other doctors using IPT have a credible scientific point:
A study just published in JAMA, no less, (Dec. 17, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association) reported research from the Johns Hopkins University which pooled data from 23 completed studies and found that people with diabetes were 41% more likely to die of cancer than people who did not have diabetes. The worst-case scenarios were a 76% increase in the risk of death from endometrial cancer, a 61% increase for breast cancer, and a 32% increase for colorectal cancer.
Of course diabetics have raised insulin levels, either through insulin resistance, or by daily administration of significant amounts. That’s not the point. What this study shows is that low blood sugar helps fight cancer, which is kinda what the IPT people are saying.
I’m not taking a position, except on behalf of freedom of information, because I have no direct experience of IPT whatever.
[for more information about cancer alternatives, go here]