Homeopathic Research in Cancer

Homeopathic Research in Cancer

The modern academic and clinical medical research in the field of homeopathy is almost always based on the pathophysiological action of homeopathic ‘medicines’ on organs, tissues and cells. Reference to research supporting the effectiveness of Homeopathy, already published in peer-reviewed medical journals, is included and commented in this article.

A prospective observational study was conducted with cancer patients in two differently treated cohorts: one cohort with patients under complementary homeopathic treatment and one cohort with conventionally treated cancer patients. For a direct comparison, matched pairs with patients of the same tumour entity and comparable prognosis were to be formed. It was observed that improvement of quality of life as well as a decreased tendency of fatigue symptoms occurred in cancer patients under complementary homeopathic treatment.

Recent Academic Research in USA revealed that ultra-diluted homeopathic remedies have cytotoxic effects on breast cancer cells. An in vitro study was conducted to determine if homeopathic products have any effect on breast cancer cell lines. Four ultra-diluted remedies against two human breast adenocarcinoma cell lines and a cell line derived from immortalized normal human mammary epithelial cells were studied. The homeopathic remedies exerted preferential cytotoxic effects against the two breast cancer cell lines, causing cell cycle delay/arrest and apoptosis. These effects were accompanied by altered expression of the cell cycle regulatory proteins, which were likely responsible for the cell cycle delay/arrest as well as induction of apoptosis. These findings demonstrated cytotoxic biological activity against cancer cells of these homeopathic products at their ultra-diluted doses.

Ethanolic extract of Phytolacca decandra (PD), used in homeopathy for the treatment of various ailments such as chronic rheumatism, regular conjunctivitis, psoriasis, and in some skin diseases was tested for its possible anticancer potential. Cytotoxicity of the drug was tested on both normal (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) and A375 skin melanoma cancer cells. DNA fragmentation, changes in cellular morphology, apoptosis and necrosis, if any, were recorded. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, if any, and expression study of apoptotic genes also were evaluated to pin-point the actual events of apoptosis. Results showed that PD administration caused a remarkable reduction in proliferation of A375 cells, without showing cytotoxicity on peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Generation of ROS and DNA damage, which made the cancer cells prone to apoptosis, were found to be enhanced in PD-treated cells. Overall results demonstrate the anticancer potentials of Phytolacca decandra on A375 melanoma cells.

Homeopathic treatment efficiency was studied in patients with advanced gallbladder, periampullary, and liver carcinomas. The authors present cases of various pathologically confirmed malignancies. These patients underwent homeopathic therapy as the primary cancer treatment. In the cases studied, conventional cancer treatments could not be initiated due to the advanced stage of their disease, poor general health performance status, and their financial constraints. This report indicated the clinical efficacy of homeopathic therapy in treating those cancer patients.

Induction of apoptosis of tumour cells by some potentiated homeopathic drugs was studied concerning possible mechanism of action. Earlier studies indicated that homoeopathic medicines are cytotoxic to tumour cells and reduced animal tumours. Homeopathic remedies were tested for their ability to induce apoptosis. Similarly, the effect of homoeopathic medicines on apoptosis was measured by microarray analysis. Homeopathic remedies produced morphological changes in the Dalton’s lymphoma ascites tumour cells and induced DNA laddering, increased apoptotic gene p53 and decreased antiapoptotic gene Bcl2. Administration of potentiated homoeopathic drugs to tumour-bearing mice induced increased apoptosis of tumour cells. Microarray analysis of cells treated with homoeopathic drugs indicated that many enzymes related to apoptosis were increased by homoeopathic drugs. These data indicate that apoptosis is one of the mechanisms of tumour reduction by homeopathic drugs. A comparison of potentiated drugs with their mother tincture indicated that the potentiated drugs have biological activity similar to that of their mother tincture in spite of ultradilution.

A study was conducted on the use of homeopathy in pediatric oncology in Germany. Homeopathy is a frequently used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment in Germany. Results were presented comparing responses of homeopathy users (HUs) and users of other forms of CAM (NHUs) in pediatric oncology (PO) in Germany. Differences between these two groups (usage, associated demographic characteristics, previous experience with CAM) were investigated. 186 (45.2%) of the 367 CAM users were exposed to homeopathy. The treatment duration amounted to a median of 601 days for HUs and 282 days for NHUs. Parents with p (127; 76.5%) also used homeopathy for their child’s cancer. Nonmedical practitioners played a considerably greater role as source of information than did treating physicians. In the majority of patients HUs received their prescriptions from nonmedical practitioners (56%; 29.4% of NHUs). HUs communicate more frequently with their physicians about the CAM-use (77.7% versus 65.2%) and recommend CAM more often than NHUs (94% versus 85.6%). Homeopathy is the most frequently used CAM treatment in PO in Germany. HUs sustain treatment and therapies considerably longer than NHUs. Most families who had used homeopathy before their child was diagnosed with cancer also used homeopathy for the treatment of their child’s cancer. Compared to other CAM treatments, patient satisfaction with homeopathy appears to be very high.

A tumour therapy with Amanita phalloides for stabilization of B-cell chronic lymphatic leukemia was studied. In tumour cells, RNA polymerase II is more active than in other somatic cells. Amanita phalloides contains amanitin, inhibiting RNA polymerase II. Partial inhibition with amanitin influences tumour cell – but not normal cell – activity. To widen the treatment spectrum, homeopathic dilutions of Amanita phalloides, containing amanitin, were given to patients with leukemia. Monitoring the leukemic cell count, different doses of amanitin were given. This homeopathic tumour therapy showed high potential to provide a gentle and essential medical treatment.

A clinical evaluation of a complex homeopathic injection therapy in the management of pain in patients after breast cancer treatment was performed. In breast cancer patients, post-treatment pain often appearing after several months and strongly impairing health-related quality of life. Conventional methods of pain reduction are often ineffective or even harmful. Injection therapy with a complex homeopathic medication with analgesic properties, used for treatment of the pain associated with trauma as well as with mediators of inflammation, was proposed as an innovative approach for pain relief after breast cancer treatment. After the last injection, all patients experienced a marked reduction of their level of pain on average from 7.6 +/- 1.5 to 2.4 +/- 1.4 points on a scale from 1 to 10 points. After a follow-up observational phase of 3 and 6 months, pain score ratings increased slightly again in some patients but remained consistently low in others. In any case, the ratings of pain levels did not reach the values assessed before the start of these injections. Similarly, health-related quality of life improved with this injection therapy. The perception of pain relief with homeopathic injections was high, reflecting an overall perceived positive outcome and tolerability of this treatment. This case series represents one more encouraging approach to using this complex homeopathic injection for pain relief in breast cancer patients.

According to modern classic pathology, epithelial-stromal interactions, mediated by the extracellular matrix, play a pivotal role in normal mammary gland function. It is now recognized that a specific environment is necessary for tumorigenesis; indeed, it has been postulated that cancer can be a physiological response to an abnormal stromal environment. An abnormal stroma can be regarded as a classical promoter in the terminology of carcinogenesis, in that the dysfunction of normal epithelial-mesenchymal interactions increases the probability that the pre-neoplastic lesion will progress to malignancy. On the other hand, in the terminology of development, the environment provided by the abnormal stroma may be considered ‘permissive’ for tumorigenesis by leading to the selection of cells with altered survival characteristics. These views signify that an aberrant stroma predisposes tissue to cancer by increasing the frequency with which an initiated cell proceeds to neoplasia, rather than by increasing the frequency of initiation. Importantly, normal stroma can efficiently inhibit the expression of neoplastic characteristics of tumour cells.

Conversely, perturbations in the epithelial-stromal interaction may accelerate the process of carcinogenesis, especially since carcinogen exposure elicits persistent phenotypic changes in stromal cells. These non-neoplastic stromal effects induced by carcinogens can be conducive to the expression of or to the progression of pre-neoplastic phenotypes, just as carcinoma-associated fibroblasts support malignant behaviours. Together these stromal alterations are likely to be essential to the development of frank neoplastic disease. These studies emphasize that the interactions between the epithelium and the stroma evolve dynamically, and thus will require considerable study if they are to be manipulated therapeutically.

Together, these recent studies underscore that the stromal-epithelial interface is a critical mediator of oncogenic potential. The heightened awareness of the stroma as an active participant in carcinogenesis has led to ideas for intervening in breast cancer progression by manipulating the stroma. Compared with the multiple routes taken by cells to become cancers, the response of tissues to cancer is relatively predictable. Controlling the early stages of invasive cancer growth may therefore be more readily achieved indirectly via the stroma.

So, the facts are not so simple; hunting the cancer cells only does not cover the whole story, moreover when toxic substances for the whole health economy are used, so that necessarily in each one cytotoxic chemical treatment a difficult dilemma always arises for both the physician and the patient: are the gains more than losses or the reverse and in what extent? In this dilemma at least the physician has to reply objectively and honestly, as he is bound both by medical jurisprudence and the Hippocratic Oath. Of course, any nontoxic therapy targeting to kill cancer cells, as the above mentioned cytotoxic action of homeopathic products on breast cancer cells, is certainly remarkable, impressive and promising for present and future research and clinical applications. But, Pathology itself is the Discipline that dictates directions for all of us, either conventional or ‘complementary’ therapists or researchers. Modern Pathology, considering also the principles founded by Hippocrates and Virchow, dictates us, as above, to give priority not to the cancer cell itself only, but mainly on the integrity of the diseased tissue as a whole field and as it basically expressed by the balance between stroma and cancer cells. This is the battlefield according to both modern medical literature and of modern Holistic / Homeopathic Clinical Conception and, if we want to win, we have to adhere to it.

Certainly, conventional medicine has tried to make certain steps towards this direction, including the employment of factors inhibiting angiogenesis in the stroma of malignant tumours and, of course, this is encouraging for all, such as any conventional intervention through immune mechanisms, pathways, etc. affecting possibly cancer cells growth. From our side, the holistic in the wider sense, the homeopathic in the more specific and more familiar to me sense, a long, very long basic research, bio-theoretical approaches and clinical applications have already offered a very rich and evidenced material ,absolutely accessibly to all the medical community, despite the hard persecutions of many pioneers in the field and their followers in many countries all over the world, unfortunately certain of them included in our European family. An example of relevant holistic /homeopathic application is Homotoxicology deals with the structural and functional stages that an organ or tissue passes successively from mild reactive disorders, such as acute inflammations and allergies to the most dangerous ones, namely the degenerative ,the autoimmune and, finally, Cancer. According to this systematic pathogenetic chain investigation, any tissue pathology, like Cancer, first starts in the stroma and then is extended in the cells, so that the most suitable strategy is to target first of all to the stroma through appropriate homeopathic remedies’ combinations.
Concluding Remarks

The integrity of the whole tissue and organ economy, the totality of any organ or tissue morphologic and functional homeostasis, was the subject of all renown homeopaths in the history of Homeopathy, when they had in front of them a case with deep organ pathology, like Cancer. The Homeopathic Materia Medicas and the Homeopathic Repertories themselves are the cornucopia of marvellous remedies able to face effectively deep pathologies, such as Cancer. The homeopathic secret for the treatment of patients is very simply the in-depth study of the Homeopathic Materia Medicas and Repertories, especially of those remedies with a high miasmatic (i.e. concerning disease predispositions) content and/or a highly eclectic/selective action on organs and tissues. The British Homeopathic history has certain great Medical Homeopaths who pioneered in Pathology-sensitive Homeopathy, such as Hughes, Burnett, Clarke etc., not of course to neglect E Bach for his homeopathic bowel nosodes, in addition to his much more known Flower Remedies.