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Homeopathy Offers Treatment Options for Breast Cancer
by Christine Breen Williams, ISHom,
ATH Co-Editor of Homeopathy
A landmark paper on the use of homeopathy in cancer appeared in the February 2010 issue of the International Journal of Oncology. The paper reported on a study of four homeopathic remedies that showed positive results using homeopathic remedies and thereby opening the door to the possibility of using homeopathy for breast cancer treatment.
Skeptics May Have to Rethink Their Opinions–Homeopathy May Really Work
The study caused the scientific community to take a second look at the positive effects using homeopathic medicine (called remedies by homeopaths) in the treatment of some illnesses. There was a huge outcry against the results of the study because the authors of the report stated that, "The remedies exerted preferential cytotoxic effects against the two breast cancer cell lines, causing cell cycle delay/arrest and apoptosis." While not exactly treating women with breast cancer, their study demonstrated the possibility of eliminating breast cancer cells with homeopathic treatment.
Apoptosis Induced by Homeopathic Medicines is a Good Result
Apoptosis, a cellular phenomenon, is "programmed cell death (PCD)," also known as cell suicide. It does not involve damage to the organism as with necrosis. Basically, during apoptosis the cell shrinks without causing inflammation to the surrounding tissue. The scientists, led by Moshe Frenkel, MD, a professor at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, "studied four ultra-diluted remedies (Carcinosin, Phytolacca, Conium and Thuja) against two human breast adenocarcinoma cell lines," and found "cell cycle delay/arrest and apoptosis."
U.S. News & World Report Awarded M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as the Best Hospital
The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas is still the top hospital in the US–ahead of Sloan-Kettering in NYC and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore–for research and treatment of patients with cancer. (See U.S. News & Report for 2010-2011 list of best hospitals.) Dr. Moshe Frenkel is quoted as saying, "This is the first scientific study that investigated the effect of homeopathic remedies on breast cancer cells." He further explains the significance as an "exciting possibility" because of the "therapeutic opportunity for preferentially eliminating breast cancer cells with minimal damage to the surrounding normal mammary tissue by using homeopathic remedies."
According to the European Council of Classical Homeopathy, which reported the study to the homeopathic community, "The strongest effects were found from Carcinosin and Phytolacca, remedies that are well documented in the homeopathic literature for their beneficial effects in patients with cancer."
Banerji Protocols on the Treatment of Cancer with Homeopathic Remedies
The researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center had decided to investigate homeopathic remedies because of the promising results of a previous report based on work done by Dr. Banerji in Kolkata, India. The US National Cancer Institute (NCI) evaluated a cancer treatment protocol developed by Dr. Banerji in his clinic at the Homeopathic Research Foundation (PBHRF). The "Banerji protocols" use homeopathic medicines to treat patients suffering with cancers. The NCI, after reviewing the progress of the patients, confirmed that there was enough positive response to support the call for further research into the area of homeopathic treatment of cancer.
A Team of Researchers Decided to Evaluate the In-Vitro Effect of Four Homeopathic Remedies
The results of the "protocols" developed by Dr. Banerji and reported by the NIC were sufficiently impressive that the researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center decided to study the breast cancer cells of women with advanced breast cancer and found equally impressive positive results using homeopathic medicine. Dr. Frenkel has said on his website that the homeopathic remedies, "appeared to have similar activity to the activity of paclitaxel (Taxol), the most commonly used chemotherapeutic drug for breast cancer, without the toxic effect on the normal cells."
The study demonstrated that four homeopathic medicines had a positive effect on 'eliminating' breast cancer cells in cell lines in a laboratory setting. The study did not include women with breast cancer. Before supporters of evidence-based medicine can be persuaded to accept homeopathy as a treatment for breast cancer, many more studies would need to be conclusive.
Although classical homeopaths themselves might treat a woman with breast cancer with, for example, Thuja, or Phytolacca, this prescription would only result from a thorough case-taking and case-analysis. Classical homeopathy treats the whole person, not just one part.
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About the Author
Christine Breen-Williams, ISHom, ATH Co Editor of Homeopathy, is a licensed professional homeopath in Ireland. She occasionally writes articles for Livestrong.com and is the Irish representative for the homeopathic software company, Kent Homeopathic Associates. Currently, she is participating in Sankaran's 'Wednesdays with Rajan' - an 18 month course in learning and practicing The Sensation Method.
She and her husband, the Irish novelist, Niall Williams, live in the west of Ireland and London. Contact her here. Read her full profile.
cancerdecisions.com, 'A Tipping Point for Homeopathy' 21 February 2010
homeopathy–ecch.org, 'High Potency Homeopathic Medicine Affect Cancer Cells' 15 February 2010
ncbi.nim.nih.gov, 'Cancer Patients Treated with the Banerji Protocols Utilising Homeopathic Medicine: A Best Case Series Program of the National Cancer Institute USA' pubmed 18575720 accessed 8 March 2010
Frenkel M et al. (2010): Cytotoxic effects of ultra-diluted remedies on breast cancer cells, International Journal of Oncology, 36: 395-403.