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Alternative Cancer Treatments

Alternative Cancer Treatments are increasingly being used for treating cancer patients. The treatments are either used a sole therapy or in combination with traditional therapies to cure cancer. These treatments are based on the fact that our own immune system provides the first and best defense against cancer. In alternative cancer treatments vaccines stimulate patient's immune system to recognize and destroy tumor cells. The treatments are customized according to the patient ailing with cancer.

Some of the therapies used in an alternative cancer treatment program are:

1. Dendritic Cell Therapy

Cancer occurs when the immune system fails and comes across tumor cells. Macrophage or monocyte is an immune cell that comes in contact with th cancerous or precancerous cell. (Pre)cancerous cell signals the macrophage of any unhealthy cell. Macrophage breaks the cell into little pieces with the help of little packets of enzymes. The little pieces are then either moved to another type of immune cell or transformed to what is call a 'Dendritic Cell'. These cells are found in all tissues of the body. The very first dendritic cell discovered occurs throughout the skin and is called a Langerhan's cell. Dendritic cells are helpful in switching on an immune response and these stimulate the T-cells to become active against tumors.

Experiments have proved that these dendritic cells with tumor antigens can provide effective response against cancer. It is possible to produce large number of dendritic cells from the circulating blood of cancer patients, find source of tumor antigen and mature them.

Dendritic cell therapy is very effective when used with other types of immune therapies. The therapy itself is also useful for patients with high risk of recurrence once the tumor is removed by surgery.

2. Coley Vaccine

This Vaccine was developed by William Coley, a surgeon in 1893 at the New York Cancer Hospital. Coley discovered that when his vaccine caused a fever, the cancer shrank and number of immune cells increased dramatically. Usually, fevers are suppressed with medicinal drugs like acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen. But studies have shown that suppressing a fever not only makes the infection worse but also spreads it. Coley recognized the beneficial effects of fever in cancer patients. He also discovered that when he stopped injecting the vaccine too early, the cancer started growing again. Thus, immune cells could be stimulated to fight the cancer for a limited time only. So, he used repeated injections to stimulate the immune system continuously.

Though it is called Coley's vaccine, it does not work to prevent an infection. Rather, it induces an immune response. Similarly, Coley's toxins are not toxins though they contain endotoxins and exotoxins. Under the therapy, Coley's toxins are injected into the affected tissues. Injection makes the cancer tissue necrotic which is then removed by drains. Injections are repeatedly given either daily or after every two days, however this varies from person to person.

3. Heat Shock Antigen Cancer Vaccine

Immune therapies for cancer stimulate white blood cells to attack cancer cells. Vaccines reprogram patient's immune system to recognize and attack the cells having the cancer fingerprint. Heat shock antigen vaccine captures the particular cancer's 'fingerprint,' which contains unique antigens. The personalized vaccine treats immune systems of cancer patients with little or no side effects.

HSAV is made from patients' tumors and heat shock proteins that are produced by patients' white blood cells. Part or all of the cancerous tissue is removed through surgery. White blood cells contain heat shock proteins that are purified and mixed with purified antigens from the tumor. The mixture is filtered and put into vials. The final product is tested for quality and sterility.

4. Cytokines Cancer Vaccine Treatment

Cytokines, also known as immune hormones can both enhance and suppress immunity. For cancer treatments, cytokines enhance immunity. FDA has approved two cytokines, interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-alfa 2b, to be used against certain cancers. Combinations of cytokines deliver better results. For example, Interleukin-2 stimulates white blood cells to divide. A very high dose of it will be required if it is used individually. However, that can cause negative side effects. The solution to this can be the use of natural combination produced by white blood cells.

By using the combination, the dose of IL-2 can be lowered. Effects of heat shock protein vaccines and dendritic cell vaccines can be enhanced when given with natural cytokine combination.

5. Photodynamic Cancer Therapy

Photodynamic therapy is a revolutionary medical technology that uses light to induce reactions in patient's body. The therapy can destroy unwanted tissues without affecting normal tissues. A drug called a photosensitiser is injected into patient's body. The drug makes cells more sensitive to light and eventually destroys the cell. The drug has no effect until exposed to a particular type of light.

6. Immuno-Augmentive Therapy

The prime objective of IAT is restoring the immune system to enable it to destroy cancer cells. The therapy restores cancer patient's immune competency so that it can control cancer. Once the natural immune system is restored, patientís own body becomes capable of treating itself. IAT treatment is not a cure for cancer but a means of restoring natural balance of the system.

About the Author: The author is a writer and researcher in the field of alternative health and nutrition. Information about alternative cancer treatment used in this article is from the ITL Cancer Clinic which has excelled in treating cancer through alternative methods with negligible side effects.

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