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October 1996

"Differentiation" is a hot word

"Differentiation" is a hot word in cancer research. Scientists have known for years that cells start out as somewhat amorphous. When stimulated by substances in the body, they become more differentiated, or precise, in their characteristics. Cancer has a better chance of taking hold in undifferentiated (immature) cells.

Jose and Irma Russo of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia recently published a paper on the subject. They have found that, in female rats, the hormone, chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is crucial for the differentiation of mammary cells. According to the Russo's work, rats exposed to hCG are far less likely to get breast cancer. HCG is only released during the last trimester of pregnancy, which is why women who have children (before the age of 30) are less likely to get breast cancer than women who never have children. The Russos were able to treat virgin female rats with the hormone and protect them from breast cancer. The hormone induces cells to differentiate, which is important in making the environmental stresses that can provoke cancer. One of the Russos' concerns, which may relate to the spiraling incidence of breast cancer, is that grown women are turning up with immature mammary cells. Even through the women have borne children should cause their cells to differentiate, their cells remain virgin-like. The Russos believe the cells in these women have failed to respond to hormones. Research conducted over the past ten years on the effects of pesticides and other chemicals give insight into why this is occurring.

Toxic Effects of Pesticides

image Dioxin is the most ubiquitous poison in the environment, with high levels of it in women with breast cancer. It has been reported that every human on earth has dioxin in their body. A report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1994 concludes that dioxin causes cancer, and that it is far more toxic than previously reported. Dioxin is found in pesticides, including "2,4-D" which is related to "Agent Orange" (the herbicide used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam). It is found in numerous foods, including meat (especially in fat), dairy products and fish. Variations of it are sprayed on fruit and vegetables. In addition it occurs as a byproduct of plastics manufacture and chlorine products (such as the bleach used to whiten paper products).

Dioxin is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It occupies estrogen receptors like real estrogen, but doesn't covey signals to cells the way natural estrogen does. In effect, it blocks estrogen. Dioxin also reduces the number of estrogen receptors. High levels of dioxin correlate to low levels of estrogen-mediated activity. Since dioxin tends to accumulate in fat, the breasts are particularly vulnerable. But males, too, are vulnerable to dioxin. The escalating incidence of prostate cancer has also been linked to dioxin.

Dr. Gonzalez' Detoxification Method

The liver is the main organ of detoxification. During the process of breaking down cancer, toxic byproduct are released into the blood stream. Dr. Gonzalez wants his patients exposed to as few extra toxins as possible so as not to overburden the liver's detoxification capacity. Avoiding environmental toxins, while augmenting liver function, helps patients avoid the toxic complications of cancer therapy which occur when the toxic products of cancer destruction are released into the body. Gonzalez prescribes a simple liver detoxification method which has consistently proven effective: coffee enemas.

Henri-Etta Simmons estimates that it took six months to detoxify her body. She eats only organic vegetables and animals raised without chemicals and hormones. Almost nine years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she is alive and well. The day I talked to her, she had walked 4 miles. She is adamant that people should be made aware of the choices they can make when diagnosed with cancer. "When you're first diagnosed, you're so scared that you get in line and do what they say," she told me. "Many people will still choose conventional therapy, but they should be made aware of what's available."

Cancer Is Not A Death Sentence

Mort Schneider agrees. One day in July, 1991, while sitting at a friend's house, he felt dizzy and sweaty. Thinking it was a heart attack, his wife took him to the emergency room, only to be told his heart was okay. Nevertheless, he saw a cardiologist, and took along a chest X-ray that had been taken at the ER. Fortunately for Schneider, the cardiologist had better vision than the ER staff. He took one look at the X-ray an told Schneider there was a spot on his lung. After undergoing surgery, Schneider found out it was cancerous.

CAT scans showed it had spread to the liver, pancreas and adrenals. The oncologist told him not to torture himself with chemotherapy or radiation. His wise, a longstanding believer in preventative medicine and alternative therapies, took over his care. Within two months, she has located Dr. Gonzalez, and Mort was sitting in his office. When asked how he could have trusted his life to a diet and supplements, he tells me, "I didn't have much choice. I could either sit around waiting to die, or I could do something."

Maybe because he had avoided conventional therapy, or perhaps because he reached Dr. Gonzalez so rapidly, Schneider was in better shape than most patients. As sick as he was, Gonzalez expressed confidence that he would improve. Four months into the program, Schneider was surprised to receive a phone call from the doctor. Gonzalez had called to inform him that his tests looked good - very good. Five years later, at age 75, Mort Schneider is alive and well. He eats no red meat, sugar or refined foods. Every two months he sends a hair sample to Dr. Gonzalez for analysis. Once a year he travels to New York so that Gonzalez can examine him.

The Value Of A Pro-Active Attitude

All of the patients I spoke to told m that a pro-active attitude was critical to their recovery. Edmund Rubin saw physicians at one of the finest university hospitals in the country, yet he was on a downhill course until he took charge of his own treatment. While he has no animosity towards traditional physicians, he feels that these doctors "may be looking through the wrong end of the telescope."

None of the patients had time to wait for modern science to demonstrate why certain alternative therapies work. Rubin is philosophical about his experience. "Look." He told me, "I'm happy to drink my carrot juice and have it work, and not worry about what makes it work. That may not be very scientific, but I'm not in this for science; I'm in it for survival."

image He points out that twenty years after Nixon declared war on cancer, the incidence of some types of cancer has risen. It doesn't make sense to him that insurance companies refuse to cover alternative therapy (ed note: some companies such as Blue Cross? are beginning to cover some non-traditional cancer therapies). Why spend $50,000-100,000 a year for chemotherapy and radiation when $6,000 worth of supplements might do the trick?

Mort Schneider and Henri-Etta Simmons both believe they would be dead had they not taken the initiative to seek alternative therapy. Science has repeatedly verified what they and other know intuitively: the "will to live" is one of the most important factors in overcoming cancer. It is the one psychological factor which has been conclusively linked to cancer-related survival in clinical studies.

image The Lives Of Millions Of People Are At Stake

It is imperative that the government, the media, and the general public pay more attention to alternative cancer therapies such as Dr. Gonzalez' nutritional approach. The traditional slash-and-burn form of treatment has largely failed after decades of research costing billions of dollars. It is clearly time for a change.

The NCI is playing catch-up with regard to alternative treatments. Although it is considering analogs of vitamins as preventative agents, NCI has yet to commit serious time and interest to natural therapies. Dr. Gonzalez' work is an exception. The Institute is following his trial of ten pancreatic cancer patients. Hopefully in the near future, it will invest for of America's tax dollars in trials of other alternative therapies.

Cancer prevention is underrated in midstream America. Yet numerous studies demonstrate the efficacy of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and other substances in preventing the disease. The power of these natural substances to cause disruption of cancer can and should be utilized before cancer gets a toehold. Along with alternative cancer therapies such as Dr. Gonzalez', the Life Extension Foundation endorses the use of documented cancer-preventing nutrients as an important component in an longevity program.

Those persons interested in Dr. Gonzalez' treatment program or his upcoming trials on metastatic breast or colon cancer should contact him at: 212/213-3337.

Further Reading:

  1. Yoneda T, Takaoka Y, Boyce BJ, Scott L and GR Mundy. 1994 Extracts of porcine pancreas prevent progression of hypercalcemia and cachexia and prolong survival in nude mice bearing a human squamous carcinoma. Canc Res 54: 2509-2513
  2. Liebow C and SS Rothman. 1975. [Enteropancreatic circulation of digestive enzymes]. Science 189: 472-474
  3. Harris M, Zacharewski T and S Safe. 1990. Effects of 2, 3, 7, 8-tetra-chlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and related compounds on the occupied nuclear estrogen receptor in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Canc Res 50 (12):3579-84
  4. Weinberg, J ed. Dow Brand Dioxin: Dow Makes You Poison Great Things. Greenpeace publication. (Call (202) 462-1177).
  5. Cone M. "Pollution's Effect on Sexual Development Fire Debate." Los Angeles Times Oct. 3, 1994; A1.
  6. King LS, 1965. Prevention of virus-induced mammary tumors by an orally active pancreas factor. Exp Med Surg 23:345-7.