Quantcast Oasis of Hope Hospital Integrative Regulatory Therapy Research - Chapter 3: At-Home Therapies
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Contreras Metabolic Integrative Therapy Research
Cancer: A Tough Opponent
CMIT Therapies
At-Home Therapies
Oasis of Hope Difference
Oxidizing Cancer to Death
Interleukin-2 Therapy
Signaling Pathways
Oxidative Pre-conditioning
Immune Stimulation Therapy
CMIT Anti-Inflammatory
Metronomic Therapy
Nutaceuticals Cancer Control
Nutaceuticals Specific Cancers
Drugs for Cancer Control
Surgery and Radiation
Diet and Exercise
Emotional Support
Caring for the Spirit
Survival Statistics

Oasis of Hope Presentations
Contreras Metabolic Integrative Therapy (CMIT) Presentation
Nutrition for Cancer Prevention & Control
Diet for Health

Research Whitepapers

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Oasis of Hope Hospital

Contreras Metabolic Regulatory Therapy Research

Chapter 3: Oasis of Hope At-Home Therapies

With most chemotherapies, it is necessary to give the body at least a few weeks to heal before another course of chemotherapy is administered. This is why Oasis of Hope patients go home for several weeks in between courses of chemotherapy. Oasis of Hope provides its patients with an elaborate at-home therapeutic regimen with the intent of slowing the grow-back of remaining tumors between sessions of chemotherapy. The rate of tumor grow-back between cycles of chemotherapy can have an important impact on the chances for a curative outcome, or at least for significant tumor control. If the tumor grows back so rapidly that the number of malignant cells eliminated by a course of chemotherapy is entirely replaced by the growing tumor before another round of therapy can be administered, the at-home strategy will at best temporarily keep the tumor in check. On the other hand, chemotherapy may have a chance to induce a substantial remission if each course kills a significant number of cells, and grow-back between chemo sessions is slow.

Patients in the CMIT-C protocol also return home for several weeks between their courses of ascorbate infusions. They receive the same At-Home therapeutic regimen as patients receiving CMIT-Q. The rationale of the At-Home therapy in CMIT-C is the same – to slow the grow-back of tumor between sessions of in-hospital vitamin C infusions.

The therapeutic strategies described here are also employed in the long-term follow-up (or maintenance) therapy prescribed for Oasis of Hope patients after they have completed an CMIT-Q or CMIT-C protocol. The intent here is to slow the growth of residual tumor, postponing as long as possible the need for further cytotoxic therapies.

The tumor-retardant strategies employed in the Oasis of Hope At-Home regimens have several goals:
  • To slow tumor growth by intervening directly in signaling pathways that make cancer grow more rapidly and aggressively.
  • To inhibit the angiogenic process that makes tumor spread possible by providing new blood vessels for the tumor.
  • To boost the capacity of natural killer cells to eliminate new small metastases or residual nests of cancer cells.
  • To decrease risk for new metastases by intervening in the metastatic process.
  • To minimize risk for cachexia, a common "paraneoplastic" complications of tumor spread, entailing substantial loss of muscle mass.
Slowing Tumor Growth

One way in which we strive to suppress tumor growth is by decreasing blood levels of certain pro-growth hormones, such as insulin, free IGF-I, and free estrogen, that promote increased growth and survival of many types of cancer cells. This is achieved with a lifestyle program that stresses a low fat, whole-food vegan or quasi-vegan diet, a regular program of aerobic exercise training, such as brisk walking, and a reduction of excess body fat in overweight patients fighting cancers in which obesity has a known negative prognostic impact.

A number of nutraceuticals and drugs employed in the Oasis of Hope At-Home regimens have the potential to act directly on many tumors to slow tumor growth. These include: salicylic acid (salsalate), silibinin, diclofenac (an inexpensive cox-2 inhibitor), boswellic acids, pioglitazone, vitamin D, valproic acid, and soy isoflavones in prostate, colon, and ovarian cancers.

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Suppressing Angiogenesis

A key strategy that Oasis of Hope uses to impede the angiogenic process is called "metronomic chemotherapy." This entails the daily use of one or more chemotherapy drugs in a dose so low that no significant toxicity to healthy tissues or side effects result. Remarkably, such chemotherapy has been shown to be selectively toxic to endothelial cells that are engaged in building new blood vessels for the tumor. There is reason to believe that the anti-diabetes drug pioglitazone, included in the At-Home regimens, will further boost the sensitivity of endothelial cells to metronomic chemotherapy.

Other nutraceuticals and drugs employed in the At-Home regimens with potential for slowing angiogenesis include: The chief compound in green tea polyphenols (EGCG), the amino acid glycine, salsalate, silibinin, diclofenac, valproic acid, vitamin D, and fish oil.

Supporting the Immune System's Attack on Cancer - Boosting Natural Killer Cell Function

The At-Home regimen includes a number of agents that can aid the immune system’s ability to attack cancer by boosting the function of natural killer cells. One of the most intriguing is the hormone melatonin, administered once daily before bedtime. Multiple clinical studies in Italy show that this regimen tends to have a very favorable, statistically significant impact on survival in cancer patients. This favorable impact of melatonin on natural killer cell function seems likely to be the chief mediator of this benefit. Other agents with likely benefit in this regard employed by Oasis of Hope include selenium, diclofenac, valproic acid, and glutamine. Moreover, there is recent evidence that metronomic chemotherapy has a favorable impact on the capacity of natural killer cells to attack cancer cells as it selectively eliminates a type of white cell called a "T-Reg" cell that suppresses the cytotoxic activity of natural killer cells.

Preventing Metastases

The At-Home regimens include one agent that specifically targets the metastatic process – modified citrus pectin derived from the chief form of fiber in citrus fruits. This absorbable form of pectin interacts with galectin-3, a type of molecular "hook" that cancer cells, when circulating in the bloodstream, use to attach themselves to the walls of small blood vessels (capillaries). This sort of attachment is required before a cancer cells can migrate through the capillary wall to establish a new metastasis. Modified citrus pectin suppresses this process by blocking the grasping function of galectin-3.

Preventing Cachexia

A substantial loss of muscle mass (cachexia) is a common complication of advanced cancer. Although loss of appetite associated with decreased calorie consumption is typically seen with this syndrome, the substantial loss of muscle mass associated with cachexia reflects an inflammatory reaction in skeletal muscle fibers that is much more severe than that loss of muscle mass seen with caloric restriction alone. In some patients, this loss of muscle mass becomes so severe that it contributes to death by severely weakening the respiratory muscles. The Oasis of Hope At-Home regimen includes several elements that have potential for preventing cachexia, including salsalate, melatonin, glutamate, and fish oil.

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Addressing Psychological Factors

Oasis of Hope was one of the first cancer clinics to include Laughter Therapy as an option for its patients. Indeed, Dr. Patch Adams, whose innovative use of such therapy was immortalized in a film starring Robin Williams, is a friend of Dr. Francisco Contreras, the President of the Oasis of Hope Health Group. The hospital features a lovely non-denominational chapel and prayer partners to whom patients have ready access. Religious-themed lectures stressing hope and compassion are often presented at Oasis of Hope, for the benefit of patients who have spiritual beliefs. Patients are encouraged to wear their regular clothes, to eat together in the communal dining hall where three delicious quasi-vegan meals are served each day, and to develop friendships and share experiences with their fellow patients. Frequent communication between doctors and patients is also encouraged. Every week there is a question-and-answer session in which several physicians strive to answer any question that the patients care to ask about their therapy. The sincerely respectful relationship between patients and caregivers at Oasis of Hope – a contrast to the rather perfunctory attention from doctors that patients often receive at more traditional cancer clinics – undoubtedly contributes to the more positive, hopeful attitude which patients often develop during their association with us. No doubt the hopeful atmosphere is aided by the fact that, as patients can readily see, the clinic staff work hard to help them in any way feasible. These efforts frequently translate into excellent clinical results.

Alteration of Lifestyle

While patients receive treatment at Oasis of Hope, we begin to educate them on how to live healthy lives when they return home and how to continue therapy. Oasis of Hope doctors and nurses work with patients and their loved ones to teach them how to effectively self-administer therapies. This is a very cost-effective way for patients to continue therapy for a prolonged period of time.

Doctors at Oasis of Hope Hospital have observed that the patients who get the best results are those who make a real commitment to the program, the ones who have the discipline and desire to adhere to the therapies prescribed. A tragic error that many patients make is to abandon therapy as soon as they start to feel better or when they experience remission. Those who continue therapy, adhere to the nutrition program, and come back for the maintenance treatments and the follow-up program gain the best results.

This is why the hospital's administration developed a program for patients to come back every six months for a two-day follow-up visit with their doctors at no charge. The follow-up program lasts a full five years at no additional cost to the patient. At these follow-up visits all the doctors monitor the patient’s progress and make any modifications to the home care therapy that will better meet the patient’s healthcare needs. We believe that the periodic phone calls we make to the patients have been vital because people need the encouragement and need to know that their doctor really cares.

Every patient is encouraged to completely adhere to the therapies and embrace the lifestyle changes recommended at Oasis of Hope. A patient’s commitment to the therapy is the single most important factor that determines how effective treatment is. That is why this final component of the Oasis of Hope medical treatment program is just as vital as the others.

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