Posted by: themossreports | January 3, 2011

We have moved to a new blog. Please follow us there!


Dear Readers,

Best wishes for the new year!

In keeping with fresh starts, I have moved my blog to a new address, www.ralphmossblog.com.

I hope you will visit it and subscribe to receive all future posts. I expect to be posting more frequently and hope you like the updated look! This WordPress blog will be inactive from this point on.

Thanks very much.

Sincerely,
Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

p.s. All the content from this blog is now found on the new blog as well.

Posted by: themossreports | December 17, 2010

Two nice testimonials


I just received two very nice testimonials from phone consultation clients. I thought I would share them with my blog readers:

“Thank you, Dr Moss, You just made our life a lot less complicated. Since my cancer returned, my wife and I have been researching alternative treatments in this country as well Mexico and Europe. After months of trying to investigate on our own things became confusing and overwhelming. Dr Moss gave us just what we needed. We were very impressed not with just his knowledge of alternative protocols but his insights into many of the cancer clinics around the world was outstanding.” –J.D., Dec. 9, 2010.

And here’s a second one:

“I’ve just had my third consultation with Dr. Moss. Not necessarily because anything new has come up but because my doctor recommended a new drug. I feel much better knowing that Dr. Moss has done the research and is able to give me an unbiased opinion as to the safety and efficacy of the drug in question. In addition, his vast knowledge regarding complimentary and alternative medicine, diet and supplements has helped clarify a very confusing and contradictory subject. I would, without reservation, advise any patient who is facing decisions about cancer treatment, to have a consult with Dr. Moss in order to navigate these very murky and many times uncharted waters.” –A.M., Dec. 11, 2010.

Posted by: themossreports | December 16, 2010

FDA Rules Against Avastin


Today, December 16, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took steps to disallow the use of Avastin (bevacizumab) in breast cancer. This overturns the previous director’s approval of the drug two years ago–a decision that was medically unwarranted but was worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Roche.

Dr. Richard Pazdur, the FDA’s chief of cancer drug review, said, “Given the number of serious and life-threatening side effects, the FDA does not believe there is a favorable risk-to-benefit ratio.”

I applaud this decision, as the data behind the use of Avastin in breast cancer was always very shaky. The company, however, is expected to appeal the ruling.

Posted by: themossreports | December 15, 2010

Mexican Clinic List


I’m trying to update my knowledge of the Tijuana-area cancer clinics. Below is my current list of 20, including the name of the program, the medical director, the year it was founded, and the Web site (if there is one). I have eliminated a few that have disappeared in the past few years. Do you know of any changes to this list?  Do you have updated information on any of these? I would be interested in hearing about your experiences at these clinics, pro or con. Do you know of any other Mexican clinics that you feel I should investigate? Thanks in advance for your help.

  1. Alivizatos Program at IBC, Rodrigo Rodriguez, MD, 1994, http://www.alivizatos.com
  2. Alpha Medical Clinic, Humerto Barbosa, MD, 1983, alphamedicalclinic.com
  3. American Metabolic Institute, Geronimo Rubio, MD, 1987, No Web site. Not clear if they are still in business.
  4. Baja NutriCare, Luz Bravo, MD, 2002 No Web site, but see: http://www.gerson.org
  5. Bio-Medical Center (Hoxsey), Liz Jonas, 1963 No Web site
  6. Center for Holistic Life Extension, Dr. Luis Velazquez, 1989 http://www.extendlife.com/
  7. CHIPSA Immunological Med Ctr., Ron Carreño, MD, 1990 http://chipsa.com/
  8. CIPAG (ex-IMAQ) Isai Castillo, MD, 1984 http://www.drcastillo.com/
  9. Hope4Cancer (Rapha) Clinic Antonio Martinez, MD, 1998 http://www.hope4cancer.com
  10. Ingles Hospital Sonia Rodriquez, MD, 2002 http://ingles-hospital.com/
  11. IPT clinic Donato P. Garcia, III, MD, 1988, http://iptq.com/
  12. International BioCare Rodrigo Rodriguez, MD, 1975, http://www.biocarehospital.com
  13. Issels Vaccine Program Dr. Mejia, Christian Issels, 1996 http://www.issels.com
  14. Mission Medical Clinic James Gunier, HMD, 1984 http://www.missionmedicalcenter.com
  15. Oasis of Hope Hospital Francisco Contreras, MD 1970 http://www.oasisofhope.com/
  16. Providence Pacifica Hospital Gary Tarasov, MD, Web site unknown
  17. San Diego Clinic Filiberto Muñoz, MD 1998 (But http://www.sdclinic.com is out of commission)
  18. Sanoviv Hospital M. Wentz PhD, 1998, http://www.sanoviv.com/
  19. Scientific Regeneration Inst. Neil C. Norton, MD 1968 No Web site. But see: http://www.cancervictors.net
  20. Stella Maris, Clinic Gilberto Alvarez, MD, 1990, http://www.stellamarisclinic.com/
Posted by: themossreports | December 11, 2010

The Procrustean Bed


Herakles killing Procrustes on his bed

Oncologists sometimes try to recruit patients into Phase I (toxicity) clinical trials. But how effective are the experimental treatments provided in such trials? In a recent 2010 study that pooled data from various phase I chemotherapy trials for sarcoma, the partial response rate was 1.6 percent (2 out of 133 subjects) and the complete response (CR) rate was 0.8 percent (1 out of 133). The median progression-free survival was 2.1 months and the median overall survival was 7.6 months. Meanwhile, 18 percent of patients experienced grade 3 or 4 (i.e., critical or life-threatening) toxicity and 12 percent dropped the trial treatment because of toxicity.

Yet here’s the amazing part. The authors of this study, at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, concluded: “Phase I clinical trials could be considered a therapeutic option in sarcoma…due to the low risk of toxicity” (Jones RL, Olmos D, Thway K, et al. Clinical benefit of early phase clinical trial participation for advanced sarcoma patients. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2010. Available at PubMed, emphasis added).

Pardon me for being blunt, but what universe do these scientists inhabit? I wonder if they themselves would submit to such toxic drugs for a less than one percent chance of a “cure” (a “cure” that in any case may last a month or so). And—it seems almost too obvious to ask—how do these scientists define a “low risk of toxicity”? Grade 4 toxicity classically includes such things as massive hemorrhages, life-threatening infection, more than ten episodes of vomiting in a 24 hour period, etc. Even grade 3 toxicity includes such things as “painful erythema, edema or ulcers and (patients) cannot eat” (http://www.rtog.org/members/toxicity/tox.html)

Sometimes I get the impression that various authors reach their conclusions first and then force their data to fit a preconceived notion. The Greeks had a term for this, a “Procrustean bed.” This term came from a myth about a highwayman named Procrustes, who physically either cut or stretched the limbs of his victims  to fit the predetermined length of his torture bed. This term has stuck for any situation in which people stretch (or minimize) the data to conform to some preconceived notion.

Posted by: themossreports | December 5, 2010

INTRODUCING “CAM AND CANCER IN ISRAEL”


Doctors at Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem

This week I am happy to introduce a new special report on “CAM and Cancer in Israel.” This report is the result of a trip I took this summer to Israel, touring clinics and meeting doctors who use complementary and alternative medicine in this small but dynamic country. My visit took me to Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem and their environs. I visited doctors in private practice, in HMOs and in hospitals and university clinics. I also met with inventors and discoverers in this so-called “start up nation.” The trip was fascinating on many levels.  CAM is as popular in this small country as any place I have visited and its degree of integration into conventional medicine is arguably the greatest in the world! Although my focus is on what is offered to Israelis there are opportunities here for international cancer patients who want to explore integrative options from some of the finest doctors I know.

“CAM and Cancer in Israel” totals 63 pages in length. It includes photos of the main practitioners, as well as an appendix of contact information (addresses, phone numbers, emails) of these doctors. There is a ten-page bibliography of peer-reviewed journal articles on CAM in Israel and a listing of the major organizations that support CAM usage in this ancient land.

My visit was supported by a grant from a non-profit European foundation, Reliable Cancer Therapies. It was reviewed for accuracy by leading Israeli and American physicians. Some of their comments are given below:

“Ralph Moss’s report on CAM and cancer in Israel is extensive and enlightening. I thank him for his significant contribution and support of our activities in the Holy Land.”
—Eran Ben-Arye, MD, Haifa, Israel

“Ralph Moss’s report provides in-depth research on a subject never investigated before. In the course of his visit he reached most of the serious CAM-cancer practitioners in this country. He has shown that CAM can be practiced in a serious way and add greatly to the treatment of cancer patients.”
—Joseph Brenner, MD, Tel Aviv, Israel

“In this report, the story of CAM in Israel is told in a powerful, comprehensive and interesting way by a keen outside observer. I am impressed by Moss’s systematic and informative coverage, including relevant background information, a vast number of facts, and a balanced description of a large variety of CAM activities. Moss has done a great job.”
—Jacob Shoham, MD, PhD, Ramat-Gan, Israel

“Ralph Moss provides an in-depth report on CAM and cancer in Israel. His detailed encounter with the various experts is an important and much needed guide for both health providers and patients who are interested in this thriving field.”
—Isaac Eliaz, MD, Santa Rosa, Calif.

This new Moss report is now available for sale for $19.95 at our Web site, http://www.cancerdecisions.com. You can order it directly by clicking on the home page banner or by going directly to:
http://www.cancerdecisions.com/mrstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=639

Posted by: themossreports | November 27, 2010

Is Radiation Therapy A Necessity?


Does radiation therapy add to survival?

A standard treatment for early-stage breast cancer is to remove the tumor via lumpectomy and then follow that with radiation therapy and the drug, tamoxifen. But a report presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has called this approach into question. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, studied women over the age of 70 who had estrogen receptor positive (ER+) tumors that were removed by lumpectomy. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive either tamoxifen alone or tamoxifen plus radiation therapy.

After more than 10 years, the women who received just the tamoxifen fared about the same as those who also received radiation. Although radiation resulted in fewer recurrences in the affected breast, the chance of being free from distant metastases was 95% with tamoxifen alone vs. 93% for tamoxifen plus radiation. The 10-year breast-cancer-specific survival was 98% with tamoxifen alone vs. 96% with radiation. The overall survival was 63% with tamoxifen alone vs. 61% with radiation added, i.e., it was slightly higher when women did not receive radiation.

The authors themselves concluded that “the addition of radiation does not impact survival, distant disease free survival, breast cancer specific survival or breast conservation” (Hughes 2010).

The Web site Breastcancer.org states that “these results shouldn’t be used to make treatment decisions for women younger than 70.” Fair enough. But many readers are bound to wonder whether radiation is worthwhile for women under the age of 70. That wasn’t addressed in this study. Radiation’s main purpose after breast surgery is to prevent recurrences, and it does a pretty good job at that. However, its impact on survival is not as great as some people suppose. Even the authoritative Perez and Brady textbook refers to “the lack of survival benefit associated with breast irradiation….” Needless to say, a lot of questions remain about the actual survival benefit of radiation therapy, including some indications for which it is now commonly used.

References

Hughes KS, et al. Lumpectomy plus tamoxifen with or without irradiation in women age 70 or older with early breast cancer. 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting. Oral Abstract Session, Breast Cancer – Local-Regional and Adjuvant Therapy. J Clin Oncol 28:15s, 2010 (suppl; abstr 507)

Hughes KS, Schnaper LA, Berry D, et al. Lumpectomy plus tamoxifen with or without irradiation in women 70 years of age or older with early breast cancer. N. Engl. J. Med. 2004;351(10):971-977.

Perez, Carlos and Brady, Luther, eds. Principles and Practice of Radiation Oncology, Philadelphia: LWW, 4th ed., 2004, p. 1371.

Posted by: themossreports | November 20, 2010

Does Dairy Cause or Promote Breast Cancer?


Does cheese promote breast cancer?

A 1995 prospective study from Norway once showed that a high consumption of whole milk increased the risk of breast cancer: “Consumers of 0.75 litres or more of full-fat milk daily had a relative risk of 2.91 compared with those who consumed 0.15 litres or less” (Gaard 1995).

However, a new study from the Norwegian Women and Cancer contradicts this. The authors looked at the consumption of  specific dairy products, as well as total dairy, in almost 65,000 women between the years 1996 and 2006. During this time, 218 of the premenopausal and 1,189 of the postmenopausal women developed breast cancer. Their conclusion was that “total dairy, adult, and childhood milk consumption was not associated with either pre- or postmenopausal breast cancer risk.”

Previous studies also have failed to establish a dairy-breast cancer link. These have included two epidemiological studies (Moorman, 2004 and Parodi 2005), a metaanalysis (Boyd 1993) and a pooled analysis of cohort studies (Missmer 2002). They all concluded that there is no evidence for a strong association between dairy consumption and breast cancer risk.

This is similar to the conclusions of Shin et al. at Harvard that there was  “no association between intake of dairy products and breast cancer in postmenopausal women” (Shin 2002). However, this recent Norwegian study failed to confirm Shin’s finding that “among premenopausal women, high intake of low-fat dairy foods, especially skim/low-fat milk, was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer” (ibid.).

Defenders of the low-fat vegan (LFV) diet, such as Prof. T. Colin Campbell, point out that there was no group in this Norwegian study that avoided dairy on principle (Campbell 2010).

In the study’s convoluted English, the low dairy consumption group was defined as those participants who had “‘no milk consumption as a child or 1st quartile of dairy consumption as adult and not more than next-lowest consumption (1–3 glasses/day)….” Thus, by my reading, if you did not drink milk as a child but now consumed a limitless amount of dairy, you were still ranked as a low consumer! On the other hand, you are also a low consumer if you drink the equivalent of an 8 oz. glass of milk per day. The low consumer group could therefore contain alot of people who, by vegan standards, would be high consumers. Any difference between such “low consumers” and strict vegans would not show up in this analysis.

While the present study certainly does not support the LFV hypothesis in regard to breast cancer, advocates of that diet do have a point when they object that any beneficial effect of strict dairy avoidance would be unlikely to show up in such a study.

References

Boyd NF, Martin LJ, Noffel M, Lockwood GA, Trichler DL. A meta-analysis of studies of dietary fat and breast cancer risk. Br J Cancer. 1993;68:627–636.

Campbell TC. Personal communication, Nov. 17, 2010.

Gaard M, Tretli S, Løken EB. Dietary fat and the risk of breast cancer: a prospective study of 25,892 Norwegian women. Int J Cancer. 1995;63(1):13-17.

Hjartåker A, Thoresen M, Engeset D, Lund E. Dairy consumption and calcium intake and risk of breast cancer in a prospective cohort: the Norwegian Women and Cancer study. Cancer Causes Control. 2010;21(11):1875-1885.Moorman PG, Terry PD. Consumption of dairy products and the risk of breast cancer: a review of the literature. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:5–14.

Missmer SA, Smith-Warner SA, Spiegelman D et al. Meat
and dairy food consumption and breast cancer: a pooled analysis
of cohort studies. Int J Epidemiol. 2002;31:78–85.

Parodi PW. Dairy product consumption and the risk of breast cancer. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005;24:556S–568S.

Shin M, Holmes MD, Hankinson SE, et al. Intake of dairy products, calcium, and vitamin d and risk of breast cancer. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 2002;94(17):1301-1311.

Posted by: themossreports | November 13, 2010

Does Milk Cause or Promote Prostate Cancer?


Debate rages over health effects of milk

Debate rages over health effects of milk

Few issues are as contentious as the relationship between milk or dairy products and cancer. There are two vociferous camps claiming, alternately, that milk products are harmful and should therefore generally be avoided, or that dairy (and by extension, other animal-derived foods) are salutary and may actually prevent cancer and other diseases.

Now a new study in the journal The Prostate lends further evidence for the “anti-milk” view. Scientists at the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, and the Université de Montréal, compared 197 prostate cancer (PC) patients with an equal number of men who did not have PC. The participants filled out a food frequency questionnaire, recording their consumption of over 200 food items. There turned out to be a more than twofold increase in the risk of prostate cancer associated with an increased intake of dairy products. At the same time, there was a significant trend toward decreased prostate cancer risk associated in those who reported a higher than average intake of legumes, nuts, both fin- and shellfish and vitamin E (alpha tocopherol).

Interestingly, milk was the only dairy product that was significantly associated with increased prostate cancer risk. Also, the study did not address the issue of grass vs. grain fed cattle, or the problem of pesticide or hormone contamination of milk. But whatever in milk was increasing the PC trend it was not mainly calcium (a theory floated in the past). Calcium showed only a borderline association with PC risk, with only a slightly higher risk with increased calcium consumption.

This study supports the theory that dairy products, and especially standard commercial milk, are involved in the causation of prostate cancer. However, the researchers caution that the mechanisms by which the various nutrients in dairy and in the total diet may interact to influence this risk remain unknown.

References

Raimondi S, Mabrouk JB, Shatenstein B, Maisonneuve P, Ghadirian P. Diet and prostate cancer risk with specific focus on dairy products and dietary calcium: a case-control study. Prostate. 2010;70(10):1054-1065.

Posted by: themossreports | November 6, 2010

Israeli Supplement Targets Colon Cancer


Tel Aviv scientists pioneer food supplement

A new food supplement from Israel targets colon and rectal cancer, as well as ulcerative colitis and other bowel diseases. The product, which has yet to hit the world market, is called Coltect. It is a combination of green tea polyphenols, curcumin powder from the turmeric root and the trace mineral selenium. Its effects were described at a recent oncology meeting and it is the subject of two clinical trials.

Results were presented at the 2010 American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. The authors, from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, tried Coltect alone or combined with a common drug, 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), in cell line and animal models of colon cancer.

Depending on the dose, there was up to an 83 percent inhibition of cancer cell growth using Coltect. In the animal model, the combination of Coltect and the drug 5-ASA reduced the number of precancerous lesions from 66.5 in the control group to 20 in the group that received both agents. The authors concluded that Coltect “can be administered as a chemopreventive regimen to prevent” colorectal cancer.

While waiting for Coltect to hit the world market, one might consider taking a combination of green tea polyphenols, turmeric (with its key ingredient, curcumin) and Brazil nuts (a good source of selenium–use the kind that you have to shell yourself).

As for 5-ASA, it is not available without a prescription. But it is a derivative of salicylic acid and is chemically similar to aspirin. A 2003 journal article concluded: “Preclinical, observational, and clinical data consistently show that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—particularly aspirin—reduce colorectal carcinogenesis” (Hawk and Vine, 2003). So you might ask your doctor about taking a baby aspirin (81 mg) along with the anticancer food components.

Colon cancer afflicts over 100,000 Americans each year. Perhaps some of these cases could be prevented by the judicious use of anticancer foods, supplements and drugs, all of which are readily available. The toxicity of such agents is low and the cost of all together is less than a dollar a day.

References:

http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00793130

http://biopromedical.com/Coltect.html

http://www.asco.org/ASCOv2/Meetings/Abstracts?&vmview=abst_detail_view&confID=72&abstractID=1745

Hawk ET, Viner JL. Aspirin: still learning about the wonder drug. Gut. 2003;52(11):1535-1536.

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