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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
June 2003


briefed by Jule Klotter
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Cancer Drug Profits
Over a decade ago, US insurers began permitting oncologists to sell and administer chemotherapy drugs from their offices. While this policy has cut hospital costs, it has seen a huge rise in the amount that patients and insurers pay for the drugs themselves. An article in The New York Times (25 January 2003) says that oncologists in private practice gain most of their income by buying drugs at huge discounts (as much as 86% on some drugs) and charging patients and insurers the market price. A single dose of leucovorin, for example, may cost a doctor less than $3 to buy, but he gets reimbursed $17.50 for it. Oncologists justify this "chemotherapy concession" as a way to pay for the office facilities and staff needed to administer the drugs.

Insurers are also concerned about a conflict-of-interest that arises when doctors profit directly from the drugs they prescribe. A 2001 study led by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel of the National Institutes of Health indicated overuse of chemotherapy drugs during the last months of life. Oncologists say they are merely responding to patients' wishes.

Some private insurers, as well as the federal government, are looking for ways to reduce drug profits. In some cases, insurers agree to pay oncologists more for administering the drugs if the doctors agree to stop profiting from the drugs themselves. Other insurers are looking into buying chemotherapy drugs at discount prices from manufacturers, who will then ship the drugs to doctors' offices.

Abelson, Reed. Drug Sales Bring Huge Profits, and Scrutiny, to Cancer Doctors. The New York Times. 25 January 2003.

Protein Kills Cancer Cells
The enzyme Cox-2, which is found in large amounts in some cancers, is necessary for blood vessel development. Blocking Cox-2 action and, thereby, preventing the generation of new blood vessels is viewed as a way to prevent cancer cells from growing. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO) have identified a protein called CUGBP2 that regulates Cox-2 production, according to a BBC news report (25 January 2003). Professor Brian Dieckgraef, co-author of the article published in Molecular Cell, said, "CUGBP2 levels were significantly lower in every single tumour we studied."

The researchers attached CUGBP2 to mRNA (messenger RNA) for Cox-2 in eight types of human cancer cells. mRNA tells a cell when to produce a protein specified by the DNA. Attaching CUGBP2 to the mRNA for Cox-2 prevented cancer cells from making the enzyme, and the cancer cells died. The researchers are now investigating the effect of CUGBP2 on tumors. Since normal cells produce large amounts of CUGBP2, the researchers see this protein as being a way to destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy ones. "Human testing may be possible in a few years," according to the BBC News.

Protein ‘makes cancer cells self-destruct' BBC News, 25 January 2003.

Blood Test for Colon Cancer Risk
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have identified a biological marker in the blood that may indicate an increased risk of colon cancer. Dr. Andrew P. Feinberg and colleagues analyzed blood samples from 172 patients who had undergone colonoscopies. The researchers were looking for a molecular change (‘loss of imprinting') that causes the maternal insulin-like growth factor gene to activate. Normally, only the growth factor gene inherited from the father produces growth hormone. The researchers believe that colon cancer risk increases when both genes are active. Their research study was published in the journal Science (14 March 2003).

Although colon cancer is the third most deadly cancer in the United States, it is considered one of the most curable when it is detected early with a colonoscopy. Many people, however, avoid the test, which involves looking at the inner lining of the colon with a colonoscope. A simple blood test would be a welcomed alternative.

Recer, Paul. Biological marker in blood may advance test for colon cancer risk. The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), 14 March 2003

Colonic Irrigation Project
Meridian Institute (Virginia Beach, Virginia), a non-profit organization that researches Edgar Cayce health readings, has turned its attention to colonic irrigation. During the first phase of their colonic irrigation project, researchers developed and revised questionnaires to measure the experiences of persons undergoing colonic irrigation at the A.R.E. health services department. Colonic irrigation entails the infusion of warm, filtered water into the rectum to cleanse the large intestine and encourage peristalic action. Although the first recorded use of enemas was in ancient Egypt, irrigation of the entire colon did not start until the late 1800s. In the US, colon therapy was popularized by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. He used colonic therapy, diet, and exercise to treat gastrointestinal patients. Although colonics are still recommended by many practitioners of natural medicine, little research has been done on its effects or safety. Meridian Institute seeks to fill this lack.

An article on says that, based on anecdotal reports, colon therapy may be helpful for people with indigestion, gas, headaches, joint problems, allergies, asthma, and skin problems. Contraindications for colonic irrigation, according to this article, include severe hemorrhoids, Crohn's disease, congestive heart failure and heart disease, severe anemia, amoebic dysentery, colorectal tumors, gastrointestinal cancer, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, blood in the stool, and recent colon surgery. Colon therapy may also induce labor during the first and the third trimesters of pregnancy. The International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy was formed in 1989, to provide training and certification for colon therapists. Florida is the only state in the U.S. that requires colon therapists to be certified.

Colonic Irrigation Project Update. Meridian Institute News (November 2002); Colon Therapy.

Depleted Uranium Munitions
In an interview published in YES! (Spring 2003), Doug Rokke, PhD, spoke out on the dangers of depleted uranium (DU). DU ammunition was used in the 1990 Gulf War and in Bosnia. Dr. Rokke is a health physicist who served in Viet Nam as a bombardier and is still in the U.S. Army Reserves. During the Gulf War, he was told to teach soldiers how to survive nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare. The environmental cleanup procedures and medical directives he developed, however, were ignored. He says in his interview, "As director of the Depleted Uranium Project, I developed a 40-hour block of training….They turned what I wrote into a 20-minute program that's full of distortions."

Dr. Rokke's personal experience with the effects of DU and the uranium oxide dust released during its impact have led him to oppose its use. The radioactive, heavy metal dust enters the lungs where the soluble portion goes into the blood and travels to other organs. When Dr. Rokke arrived in northern Saudi Arabia as part of a team assigned to clean up DU, he and teammates developed respiratory problems, rashes, bleeding, and open sores within 72 hours. Eventually, friends on the DU clean-up team developed cancer and died. He says that the military admitted that uranium was found in the semen of Gulf War soldiers: "If you've got uranium in the semen, the genetics are messed up….Studies have found that male soldiers who served in the Gulf War were almost twice as likely to have a child with a birth defect and female soldiers almost three times as likely." When the Department of Defense performed a radiobioassay on Dr. Rokke in November 1994, his excretion rate was about 1500 micrograms/day. Department of Defense guidelines say that continuous medical care is required when 250 micrograms of uranium per day is excreted in the urine. Dr. Rokke's research and experience have convinced him that "uranium munitions must be banned from the planet, for eternity, and medical care must be provided for everyone…."

The Department of Defense views DU as a weapon that gives a significant advantage that it is unwilling to give up. During a Department of Defense briefing on depleted uranium (March 14, 2003), Army Colonel James Naughton explained that DU penetrates tank armor "from farther away than we can be hit back." At the same briefing, Dr. Michael Kilpatrick stated that depleted uranium "is not a hazardous substance." He referred to on-going observation of 90 Gulf War veterans "who were in or on an armored vehicle when it was struck by depleted uranium in friendly fire." He said these vets have not developed cancer in kidney, lungs, or bone. He also said that several organizations including the World Health Organization and the European Parliament have been "consistent in their finding that there is no environmental effect in an area where depleted uranium has been shot."

The War Against Ourselves – An interview with Major Doug Rokke. YES! A Journal of Positive Futures, Spring 2003.
Dept. of Defense Briefing on Depleted Uranium. 15 March 2003.

Cancer Electromagnetic Frequency Therapy
Since its founding in 1998, the National Foundation for Alternative Medicine (NFAM) has sought to identify effective CAM treatments for cancer and other degenerative diseases. In visiting clinics throughout the world, NFAM investigators became interested in the energy-based, frequency therapies used at some facilities. These frequency therapies, unlike metallic magnets (which produce a static magnetic field), emit electromagnetic frequencies and induce electrical current flow.

In Technical Review and Research Proposal on Cancer Electromagnetic Frequency Therapy (EMT), Mark J. Neveu, PhD and Richard Blanco explain how electromagnetic frequencies underlie all chemical and mechanical reactions in the body: "Every event in the body, either normal or pathological, produces change in both electrical and magnetic fields." Applying a frequency that resonates with specific tissues helps the tissue regain coherence and heal: "Studies show that nerve regeneration is stimulated at 2 Hz, bone growth at 7 Hz, ligament healing at 10 Hz, stimulation of capillaries and fibroblasts at 15, 20, 72 Hz." Electromagnetic frequencies have also reduced pain and swelling.

In clinics outside the United States, non-invasive electromagnetic therapy (EMT) devices are also being used to treat cancer patients. Mark Neveu and Richard Blanco explain, "An assembly of cells, as in a tissue or organ, will have certain collective frequencies that regulate important processes, such as cell division. Normally, these frequencies will be very stable. If, for some reason, a cell shifts its frequency, entraining signals from neighboring cells will tend to reinstall the correct frequency. However, if a sufficient number of cells get out-of-step, the strength of the system's collective vibrations can decrease to a point where stability is lost." EMT devices provide specific low frequencies that encourage a return to coherence and homeostasis. Published studies have shown that EMT can induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cell cultures and animal tumors. EMT has also been shown to promote lymphocyte, B cell, and NK cell activity, enhancing the immune system.

NFAM plans to visit some of the clinics that use EMT devices and examine cancer patient records. They intend to provide funding for Phase II clinical trials at the clinics "with the most compelling patient responses" to EMT in order to validate its effectiveness.

Neveu, Mark J., PhD & Blanco, Richard (PE). Emerging Opportunity: Cancer Electromagnetic Frequency Therapy (Technical Review and Research Proposal). National Foundation for Alternative Medicine 1629 K Street NW, Suite 402, Washington, DC 20006, phone 202-463-4900.

Kidney Transplants Leads to Cancer
According to the Associated Press, Scottish doctors reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that two kidney transplant recipients who received organs from the same donor developed melanoma. The 47-year-old donor, whose death was attributed to brain hemorrhage, had had a melanoma skin lesion removed 16 years before and was believed to be cancer-free. Relatives of the donor did not mention her history of cancer when they gave permission to take her organs. The woman who received one of the kidneys was diagnosed with melanoma one-and-a-half years after the transplant and died. The male recipient was diagnosed with melanoma a few months after her death. In his case the cancer was confined to the kidney. The kidney was removed, and he was given medicine to boost his immune system. The article said he was on dialysis and doing well. The doctor who treated both recipients, Rona M. MacKie of Glasgow University, said: "Melanoma cells had apparently been dormant in the donor's kidneys until the transplant….The cancer cells flourished because medicines given to the patients to prevent rejection of the transplants had suppressed their disease-fighting immune system."

Only 24 cases of donor-related cancer were reported in the U.S. from the 125,000 transplants performed between 1994 and 2001. Even though donor-related cancer is rare, the US transplant network "strongly recommends against using organs from donors with a history of melanoma or a number of other cancers." Dr. MacKie says that the donor's primary physician, not family members, should be questioned about medical history.

Nano, Stephanie. Kidneys came with cancer. The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC) 6 February, 2003.

Radiation & Cancer
Researchers at the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP) are studying baby teeth from children born near nuclear power plants to find out how much strontium-90 their bodies contain. Radioactive strontium-90 enters human bodies through water and produce grown in soil exposed to contaminated rain and through cow's milk. The body deposits strontium-90 in teeth and bones as if it were calcium. Exposed children have an increased risk of leukemia and other cancers as well as infectious disease.

A similar study, known as the St. Louis Baby-Tooth Survey, examined about 300,000 baby teeth from children in the St. Louis area from 1958-1970. The St. Louis researchers found that strontium-90 levels in the teeth "rose dramatically" during the years that the U.S. conducted above-ground nuclear tests. The strontium-90 levels ‘fell dramatically after testing ceased." Strontium-90 decays fairly rapidly.

Washington University researchers in St. Louis, Missouri, recently found 85,000 baby teeth from the old study while cleaning out an old ammunition bunker at Missouri's Tyson Research Center. They sent them on to RPHP, which has the only U.S. lab that currently measures radiation levels in humans. RPHP has already begun collecting health histories on some 2,150 adults whose baby teeth were among the rediscovered collection. The finding of the St. Louis teeth is a serendipity for the RPHP researchers because many teeth in the modern study show strontium-90 levels that are as high as those found in St. Louis children during the height of atmospheric bomb tests.

RPHP researchers have found that children born near nuclear power plants have high levels of strontium-90 in their teeth. Teeth from children born in southeastern Florida counties, which include Miami-Dade County, have the highest levels of strontium-90 in the U.S. That area has two nuclear reactors that are known to have released 10.39 trillion picocuries of radioactivity into the air between 1970 and 1987. During those years, cancer rates for children under 10 years rose 10.8% nationwide; but in that area of Florida, cancer rates rose 35.2%. After a nuclear reactor opened near San Luis Obispo, California, childhood cancer rates rose 75%. RPHP researchers have found that infant and senior citizen cancer mortality rates decline when nearby nuclear reactors are shut down.

The Bush administration wants to license new nuclear plants and relicense many of the 103 nuclear power plants now operating. Britain, however, has responded to the documented link between radiation and illness as well as to concerns about radioactive waste, accidents, terrorism, and proliferation by announcing plans to replace its 19 aging reactors with gigantic offshore wind farms.

Praded, Joni. Glowing in the Dark: Baby Teeth Studies Reveal Childhood Radiation Exposure. Emagazine, May-June 2002,
Gould, Dr. Jay M. Review of an article in The New Scientist.

When Western articles talk about the healthful aspects of the Asian diet, they mention soy but rarely talk about sea vegetables. According to an article by Dr. Zakir Ramazanov, seaweed makes up about 10% of the Japanese diet. Nori (Porphyra species), kombu (Luminaria spp.) and wakame (Undaria spp) are the most common. Research has found that, in addition to a bounty of vitamins, minerals, and protein, some brown seaweed (such as wakame and kombu) contain powerful antioxidants. Epidemiological and biological data indicate that these sea vegetables may be an important factor in the lower breast cancer rates among Japanese women. In addition to antioxidant activity, brown sea vegetables show anti-bacterial activity. Sea vegetables are also an excellent source of non-digestible fiber and contain factors that benefit bowel flora.

According to an article in Vegetarian Times, "…seaweed connoisseurs are often made, not born. For most of us, seaweed is definitely an acquired taste." For those who wish to add sea vegetables to their diet, the article contains several suggestions. Seaweed can be crumbled over rice, baked potatoes or casserole dishes; added to spaghetti or quiche as a thickening agent; added to soup stock, beans, soups, or stew; used to make sushi rolls; or sprinkled on popcorn. Seaweed is available from most natural food stores, from wildcrafters on the internet, and, of course, from stores that specialize in Asian foods.

Ramazanov, Dr. Zakir. Marine Source Nutraceuticals New Wave of Health from the Sea. Nutraceuticals World, Vol. 2, No. 6, pp 38-39.

Webb, Ginger. Medicine from the sea. Vegetarian Times 1997 April. (May 2004: Link broken.)

Vitamin C & Cancer
On June 15, 2001, Science published an article by Ian Blair and colleagues in the University of Pennsylvania's Pharmacology Department that caused media to warn that "vitamin C might cause cancer." Their in vitro (test tube) experiments showed that under certain conditions 200 mg of vitamin C turns lipid hydroperoxides into DNA-damaging toxins, including a known cancer promoter. In an article for Health Studies Collegium, Russell M. Jaffe, MD, PhD, CCN, blames media for using this study as a basis for sensationalized headlines. If reporters had bothered to check, they would have found at least five recent clinical studies (in humans, not test tubes), published in peer-reviewed journals, that found that vitamin C does not cause DNA oxidative damage in humans.

Over 90 studies have shown that vitamin C protects against cancers of the pancreas, oral cavity, stomach, cervix, rectum, breast, and lung, according to Nicholas Calvino, DC and Stephen Levine, PhD. M. Waheed Roomi, PhD at The Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State Universtiy, notes that vitamin C is known to block the toxic effects of polycyclic hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides, and heavy metals, in addition to having antioxidant properties. Vitamin C also boosts the action of detoxifying liver enzymes and enhances the immune system. Dr. Roomi says that cancer patients usually have low blood levels of vitamin C. Large doses of the vitamin can raise these levels and improve immune function.

According to Nicholas Calvino, DC and Stephen Levine, PhD, vitamin C has not been shown to decrease the effectiveness of radiation or chemotherapy, making it a valuable adjunctive therapy for cancer patients. In both animal and human studies, vitamin C has either increased the efficacy and/or decreased the toxicity of radiation therapy and some chemotherapeutic agents. [The reader is referred to the study by Lamson and Brignall, Alternative Medicine Review, April 2000, for details.] Drs. Calvino and Levine note that one established contraindication for high-dose vitamin C therapy is a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency since hemolysis of red blood cells may result. Linus Pauling and Hugh Riordan also noted that patients undergoing IV vitamin C therapy may react to the large amounts of tumor cell death by-products which may result. Practitioners are urged to start IV vitamin C therapy at low doses "to ensure that hemolysis or tumor hemorrhage does not occur."

Jaffe, Russell M., MD, PhD, CCN. Vitamin C test tube research on possible cancer risk: What does this study mean for me? Health Studies Collegium. (Phone 800-328-7372) June 28, 2001
Calvino, Nicholas, DC & Levine, Stephen, PhD. Vitamin C and Cancer – Storm of Controversy.

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