Sent: Thursday, October 03, 2002 5:00 AM
Subject: THE MOSS REPORTS Newsletter (10/02/02)
Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. Weekly CancerDecisions.com
Newsletter #55 10/02/02
A Breakthrough Treatment
As many of you know, I recently spent two weeks in
Ireland studying cancer treatments there. I have
returned with extremely important news. East
Clinic, in Killaloe, has developed a new treatment
program using what they call Cytoluminescent Therapy
(CLT). Available only at this one clinic, CLT is an
advanced form of photodynamic therapy, which uses light
to fight cancer. Of course, light by itself cannot kill cancer cells.
However, if patients are pre-treated with a drug called a sensitizer,
and are then administered light of a certain wavelength, their cancer
cells will die by the millions. This is because the energy of the
beam of light sets off a "bomb" within the cell. The
"bomb" in this case is singlet oxygen, a kind of free
radical. This process does not harm normal cells
because the sensitizing drug accumulates only in cancer
and other abnormal tissues.
In the course of my visit, I reviewed over 100 cases
and spoke to dozens of patients. The results that I saw amazed me.
Patients with all sorts of advanced cancers are getting measurably
successful results. With this treatment, tumors may quickly start to
die, in a process called "necrosis." In fact, in patients treated
with CLT, doctors may have to slow down the
cell-killing process to give the body time to detoxify
so many dead cancer cells. Frequently, patients
undergoing CLT obtain relief of pain and discomfort.
Too-thin patients may gain weight. They are certainly
infused with new hope.
Many Cancers Respond
What types of cancer respond to this treatment? The
staff at East Clinic, headed by Dr. Paschal Carmody and
Dr. William Porter, were entirely open about sharing
data with me. I saw preliminary data on many different
kinds of cancer. Here are brief descriptions of three patients whom I
interviewed while I was there:
--A man in his 50s with colon cancer that had
metastasized to his liver. The number of metastases
increased with each examination and finally reached
sixteen. At the end of October 2001, his doctors told
him, "Chemotherapy will buy you into the new year." In
other words, they thought he had about two months to
live. He chose instead to have CLT. By February 2002,
the tumors had completely stopped growing. His feeling
of well-being returned and he now works full-time at
his occupation as a stained glass maker.
--An American psychologist who had been diagnosed with
stage IIB breast cancer. She had extensive lymph node involvement and
"unclean" margins at her biopsy site. Her doctors demanded that she
undergo surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. She refused and underwent
photodynamic therapy instead. Today, almost four years
later, she is doing well and has no signs of cancer.
--An Irish man in his 70s with prostate cancer that had spread
throughout his body, with massive bone involvement. He was brought to
the clinic practically moribund. Months later, he has gained weight,
has less pain and is back at his normal occupation as a breeder
and trainer of horses. The day I saw him he had just
accomplished the physically demanding task of bringing
several feisty horses to market.
How is it that a single treatment modality has the
potential to affect such a great variety of cancer
types? Aren't all cancers different? Yes, in some ways
they are, yet they have one fundamental thing in
common: all cancers are by definition metabolically
abnormal cells. They share an inability to rid
themselves of the sensitizer chemicals, whereas normal
cells are better able to expel them.
100 Years of Light Therapy
East Clinic pioneered CLT but did not invent
photodynamic therapy, or PDT. In fact, that treatment
has been around for nearly 100 years. A Nobel Prize was awarded to the
pioneer of light treatment, Niels Finsen, in 1903. The first cure (of
a basal cell carcinoma of the lip) occurred in Germany in the
following year. With the advent of X rays and
chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy fell into disuse for
many years. In the 1970s, a doctor in Buffalo, New
York, used a substance called Hpd and visible red light
to eradicate a tumor. In the following decade, the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved one
drug, Photofrin, to be used in the light treatment of
various kinds of cancer.
No doubt, this FDA-approved treatment has racked up
some good results over the years. In one study,
patients who had previously been failed by conventional treatments
were given Photofrin-based PDT. In 70 to 80 percent of cases their
tumors responded positively after only one treatment. However, this
"first generation" drug has several serious drawbacks. It is
not very specific to cancer cells and tends to
accumulate in normal tissues as well. This means that
not just cancer but normal organs also can be damaged
by the treatment.
In addition, it does not clear rapidly from the human
body. Thus, when patients receive Photofrin, they must
stay out of the sun for a month or more, or else a
severe sunburn will result. Larger and deep-seated
tumors generally cannot be treated with this agent.
Finally, because of the lack of sensitivity,
conventional PDT generally has to be delivered through
fiber optic probes inserted into cavities in the human
body. This is an invasive procedure -- not as invasive
as surgery, to be sure, but still unpleasant and
potentially dangerous. It also limits the number of
sites that can be treated.
East Clinic's innovative approach addresses all of
these concerns. First of all, the sensitizing agents
they use are superior to Photofrin and even to
so-called "second generation" experimental agents in development
around the world. Almost all other sensitizers are red-pigmented and
are derived from ox blood. However, East Clinic's agents are derived
from green plants. This yields a much more sensitive,
effective and less toxic product.
The agents in question are injected intravenously and
also given by mouth. They generally clear from normal
tissues after 12 to 24 hours. Thus, after a day or so, patients can
usually go about their business and are not held captive in their
homes for weeks and months, fearing terrible skin reactions.
Prof. Colin Hopper of University College, London, wrote
in the outstanding medical journal Lancet Oncology: "Photodynamic
therapy (PDT) is a minimally invasive treatment with great promise in
malignant disease. It can be applied before or after chemotherapy,
ionizing radiation or surgery, without compromising these
treatments or being compromised itself. Unlike
radiotherapy or surgery it can be repeated many times
at the same site. Response rates and the durability of
response with PDT are as good as or better than those
with standard loco-regional treatments. Furthermore,
there is less morbidity and better functional and
cosmetic outcome." And he was talking about the old,
outdated form of PDT, not the more effective CLT.
A decade ago, Dr. Jacob Liberman wrote: "I can foresee
that, in the near future, photodynamic therapy, alone
or in combination with other conventional techniques,
will be able to successfully treat most, if not all,
cancers and other life-threatening diseases."
In my book Cancer Therapy (1992), I too wrote enthusiastically about
the promise of PDT. I have always maintained the hope that someday,
someone would come up with a form of light therapy that would fulfill
its enormous potential. I believe that time has come.
I'm very hopeful that many cancer patients will be
tremendously helped through East Clinic's more potent
and precisely targeted, and less toxic and invasive,
approach to this treatment modality.
New Program Available
Under the direction of Drs. Carmody and Porter, East
Clinic has begun offering one-week intensive treatment programs for
cancer patients. The next one will start on November 17, 2002. I was
so impressed by the innovative work at this clinic that I offered to
deliver a series of lectures on cancer as part of the
clinic's educational program for patients. I will be
returning periodically to Ireland and speaking in this
Evening Lecture Series. The first such program will be
held during the week of November 17. During that week I
will be available to participating patients for
question-and-answer sessions and for individual
conferences as well.
East Clinic is located in Killaloe, a peaceful and
historic town on the Shannon River, about 45 minutes
east of Shannon Airport. Dr. Carmody has 25 years of experience as a
complementary and alternative medicine
(CAM) physician, and so the program will include detoxification,
immune support, nutritional guidance, and psychotherapy. Dr. Porter is
an American-trained physician with long experience in the use of
lasers. Drs. Porter and Carmody and their staff struck me as
sincere in their desire and ability to provide a
well-rounded program. In order to give optimum
attention to each participant, they will have to limit
the number of patients accepted into the program each
month. This will keep the quality of individual care
and attention high. It will be a pleasure for me to
interact with these patients and their caregivers both
in a group setting and on a one-on-one basis.
You should understand that this is an outpatient
facility, not a hospital, and that the clinic cannot accommodate
everyone who might wish to come. To receive more information about the
clinic and its treatment program, please contact the executive
secretary, Ms. Mary Gaughan, Cytoluminescent Therapy Program at East
Clinic, Killaloe, Ct. Clare, Ireland. Phone: + 353 61
375-815. (If you are calling from the US you need to
preface this number with the numbers "011".) Or you can
email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in reading more about the form of
CLT given at East Clinic, you can visit their website:
www.cancerpdt.info This will provide you with more information on this
exciting new treatment.
--Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
PubMed, the National Library of Medicine's database of published
medical research, contains over 8,000 references on photodynamic
therapy. Half of these references are specifically on cancer. Some
very good discussions include:
Dougherty TJ. Photodynamic therapy: new approaches.
Semin Surg Oncol 1989;5:6-16.
Hopper C. Photodynamic therapy: a clinical reality in the treatment of
cancer. Lancet Oncol 2000;1:212-9.
Liberman J. Light: Medicine of the Future. Santa Fe:
Bear & Co. 1991
Perez C and Brady LW, eds. Principles and Practice of Radiation
Oncology, 3rd Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven, 1998.
The news and other items in this newsletter are
intended for informational purposes only. Nothing in
this newsletter is intended to be a substitute for professional
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