Friday, August 13, 2010

Cancer Decisions by Ralph W.Moss, Ph.D.

Cancer Decisions to me

Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. Weekly
Newsletter #455 08/08/10


This week we are proud to announce the release of a new report for the general reader on a little-known method of treating cancer. Entitled "Unleashing the Immune System: New Insights Into Cancer," this book-length report details the origin and development of a system for filtering the blood in order to achieve a beneficial effect, even in late-stage cancer.

The report explains the rationale for this treatment: the removal of certain specific factors from the blood that block the activity of tumor necrosis factor (TNF). It details the theories and achievements of an American hematologist/oncologist, M. Rigdon Lentz, MD, who helped pioneer the use of therapeutic apheresis (TA) for cancer a quarter century ago. Lentz and his physician wife now administer this treatment to patients in a private outpatient clinic in Germany. He also works with industry to perfect the production of new commercial medical devices, such as his unique Oncosorb™ affinity column.

An early version of Lentz's treatment, called UltraPheresis,™ was based on a modified kidney dialysis machine. This was tested in clinical trials at the University of California Medical Center, Irvine (where Lentz was a professor) and at the Kennedy Hospital in Indio, Calif. Using this prototype device, Lentz was able to achieve objective anti-tumor responses in several kinds of cancer. I first described these results in my newsletter in 1994.

His early results were consistent with results seen in a dozen small clinical trials using TA as a cancer treatment in the 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s. But with the development of adsorption columns in the 1990s, Lentz was able to advance the art and science of TA for cancer beyond what was possible in earlier decades.

I visited Lentz in Germany in 2008, shortly after his Oncosorb device received the CE mark of conformity in the European Union. I returned several times afterwards, most recently in May 2010, to gain a better understanding of his methods and results. Needless to say, I think this is a very promising technique. Like most TA, it is minimally invasive (although it does require implantation of an indwelling catheter), and its effects depend on removal of two specific blocking factors from the blood, rather than adding toxic substances.

Although not a "magic bullet," at least in the cases of advanced disease where it has been studied, its beneficial effects are demonstrated in this report. It can sometimes achieve classically defined tumor regressions (and improvement in quality of life) in situations in which other more toxic modalities are no longer viable.

Telling this story in a fair and comprehensive manner has engaged much of my attention for the past two years. I give the entire history of TNF and blocking factors (dating back almost a century), of TA's once-widespread use in cancer, including a description of the dozen clinical experiments using similar methods performed around the world in the 1970s and 1980s. I also give the first biographical account of Dr. Lentz's life and career, including a detailed explanation of his troubles with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This downloadable (pdf) report is 170 pages in length, including 20 pages of scientific references and a listing of Lentz's main patents and publications.

Several leading immunologists read and commented on advance copies of "Unleashing the Immune System."

"This report is extremely good, very detailed and well documented as well as very interesting historically," said Prof. Jacques Miller, AC, FRS, the discoverer of the two major subsets of lymphocytes, T cells and B cells, and their function. "I did not know much about the treatment of Rigdon Lentz. I think it is a pity he had to go to Germany in order to pursue his work."

Meanwhile, Peter Hersey, MD, the first person to publish a paper on the use of TA in cancer, commented, "Ralph Moss has uncovered another rich vein in medical history."

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