Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Antineoplastons: Alternative Cancer Treatment


These are amino-acid compounds (called peptides) found in the blood and urine of healthy people but which are deficient in cancer patients. They were discovered in 1967 by Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D., Ph.D., while a graduate student in Poland. When Burzynski came to the United States to practice medicine, he patented a process for manufacturing these substances and began to administer them to cancer patients on the theory that they will cause cancer cells to revert back to normal cells. In spite of fierce opposition by the AMA and FDA, many patients claim that their cancers have been controlled by this treatment.

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What are Antineoplastons?

The existence of antineoplastons has been known for decades, though they went unnamed and unexamined. They are peptides (complex molecules built from amino acids) found in blood that most biologists had previously regarded as simply waste products. It wasn’t until Dr Stanislaw Burzynski discovered that people with cancer had very low levels of these peptides that he began investigating and eventually concluded: “The body itself has a treatment for cancer.”

A neoplasm is another name for a cancer; neo meaning new and plasm meaning formation. Dr Burzynski named the peptides antineoplastons (antineoplasms or anticancers).

When Dr Burzynski began his investigations, early testing showed great promise. He presented his first paper on antineoplastons at the Annual Meeting of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 1976.

Antineoplastons, as described by Dr Burzynski, are an integral part of cellular communication. If we see cancer as a miscommunication that leads to rapid, out-of-control growth, then introducing antineoplastons to the equation allows cells to self-correct the problem; this new information (supplied by the antineoplaston) reprograms the cells’ growth pattern, thus healing the cancer.

Another way to look at how antineoplastons work involves gene expression: the process by which the coded information in a gene is converted first into RNA and then into a protein. Antineoplastons attack cancers at the genetic level by expressing the "correct" information that turns off oncogenes (cancer genes) and turning on tumor suppressor genes. Turning off and on specific genes can have a profound effect on how we age, treat, and prevent disease.

In a study carried out by the Department of Defense (in Bethesda, Maryland) antineoplastons in tissue cultures caused cancer cells to revert to normal cells in just two to three days.

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How it Works?

Antineoplastons occur naturally in healthy human beings. In cancer patients they are much scarcer. For his research Dr. Burzynski originally harvested them from blood, and when his supply of blood ran out, he used urine. Today, he manufactures (synthesizes) them in the laboratory. Soon, it might be possible to help diagnose cancer by measuring the levels of antineoplastons in simple blood tests.

Antineoplastons must be administered continually to work. Cancer cells must be allowed to revert back to normal cells, and live out their lives to normal cellular death. If the therapy is stopped, the normal cell will once again behave like a cancer cell and take on a remarkable immortal quality—only the patient dies, not the cancer cells.

“There are two ways of administrating antineoplastons.  The first is tablet, or capsule form.  The prescription drug called Buphenyl has been approved by the FDA.  It does not contain antineoplastons; it is converted to antineoplaston AS2-1 in the liver.  It has, so far, no contraindications except extremely rare cases of acute hyperammonemia (a condition in which the blood ammonia levels become elevated). Daily IV is the usual method of administrating antineoplastons for particularly difficult cancers; an automatic delivery system (miniature pump) provides antineoplastons 6 times a day, though for others whose cancer is not that difficult, they can be treated also on an outpatient basis receiving an IV drip during the night while sleeping.

It should be noted that the prescription drug, Buphenyl, is typically used for less aggressive and less advanced forms of cancer.  It is available only in tablets and that is why the dosage is much smaller than intravenous antineoplastons.  It can be used in any cancer listed for antineoplastons, but in more advanced and more aggressive varieties it is preferred to use Buphenyl in combination with other anticancer agents, such as targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or medium and low doses of chemotherapy.

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Diseases where Antineoplastons Proved Useful?

Dr Burzynski’s clinic in Houston has just completed Phase II trials. They now know which cancers antineoplastons are most effective against.
  • Primary brain tumors in children and adults, including glioblastoma, anaplastic astrocytoma, high-grade glioma, brain stem glioma, medulloblastoma, pineoblastoma, oligodendroglioma, mixed glioma, atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors, low-grade astrocytoma and visual pathway glioma.
  • Colon cancer with liver metastases.
  • Primary liver cancer.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Prostate cancer.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Malignant melanoma.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Esophageal cancer.
  • Urinary bladder cancer.
  • Multiple myeloma.
  • Mesothelioma.
  • Adrenal gland cancer.

Improvement is generally seen quite quickly, many patients returning to work after just 6 weeks but still continuing therapy.

The good thing is that Antineoplastons do not seem to interfere with additional conventional or unconventional therapies. They are a part of a healthy human body.

FDA Approval

Antineoplastons have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective for the treatment of any disease or condition. However, clinical trials are under way on this treatment.

Dr. Burzynski has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as Principal Investigator in over 70 clinical trial studies. These studies encompass a wide range of cancer types in both children and adults. 

After 25 years of experimentation, the outlook for antineoplastons in the treatment of cancer has never been brighter. However, Dr. Burzynski advises that the treatment is still considered experimental, and that no promises of effectiveness can be made.

All residents of the United States must participate and be treated under a current FDA-approved clinical trial or Special Exception. Residents of most other countries must receive FDA permission to ship antineoplastons to that country. All patients are treated on an outpatient basis. The treatment is self-administered and normally free of serious side effects.

Currently there is legislation underway to allow for choice of therapy in treating ones cancer that resulted from Thomas Navarro being denied treatment at Burzynski's clinic.

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Side Effects

The patient brochure from the Burzynski Research Institute states that the treatment is "non-toxic", but that a "small percentage of patients had some adverse reaction sometime during the course of treatment." Side effects cited include "excessive gas in the stomach, slight skin rash, slightly increased blood pressure, chills and fever".

However, in other sources the longer list of the following mild side effects have been noted:
  • Anemia (lower than normal number of red blood cells).
  • High blood pressure.
  • Dizziness.
  • Gas.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Headaches.
  • Abnormal levels of calcium in the blood.
  • Dry or itchy skin rash.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Numbness.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues.
  • Swelling, pain, or stiffness in small joints.

Serious nervous system side effects included the following:
  • Extreme sleepiness.
  • Confusion.
  • Seizures.
  • Swelling near the brain.

Summary

Despite a substantial number of preliminary clinical studies presented by Burzynski and his associates describing outcomes among the patients he treated with Antineoplastons, and an attempt at a "best case" review, there is still a lack of valid information to judge whether this treatment is likely to be beneficial to cancer patients. Thus far, prospective, controlled clinical studies of Antineoplastons, which could yield valid information on efficacy, have not been conducted.


Sources and Additional Information:



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