A. Basic Theory
All cancers begin in cells, the body's basic unit of life. To understand cancer, it's helpful to know what happens when normal cells become cancer cells.
The body is made up of many types of cells. These cells grow and divide in a controlled way to produce more cells as they are needed to keep the body healthy. When cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells.
However, sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. When this happens, cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor.
Surgical removal of tumors in no way implies that one is cured of cancer. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. That is why cancer can relapse even though original tumors had been removed.
Every tumor has its specific biological features, or heterogeneity of the tumor. Ignoring the heterogeneity is the reason that cancer treatment is often unsuccessful. It will work better if doctors work out a treatment plan focusing on the tumor's heterogeneity.
The following principles need to be taken into consideration when treating cancer:
1. Perform surgical removal of tumors or cryosurgical ablation for local cancer treatment.
2. Conventional chemotherapy damages normal cells. In Cancer Micro-vascular Intervention, chemotherapy drugs are inserted directly into tumors, resulting in a greater local treatment effect with minimal side effect.
3. Immunotherapy is a systemic therapy. The destruction of the last cancer cell is by whole body immune system, not by any medicine.
1. Cryosurgical Ablation CSA
Using imaging guided techniques (Ultrasound, CT or MRI), cryo-probes are inserted into tumors to lower the temperature of the targeted area -160℃ or lower. Later the temperature is raised between 20 to 40℃. This process is repeated two or three times, resulting in complete ablation of the tumor.
CSA has the following advantages:
• It is applicable to both small and large tumors. It can be used for ablation of single or multiple tumors.
• Cryosurgical ablation will not cause damage to large blood vessels and trachea, so it can be used to treat tumors near those areas.
• It is a painless operation, and it helps reduces pain caused by cancer.
• The whole process of cryosurgical ablation can be monitored through imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT or MRI.
• After cancerous cells are destroyed by CSA, dead cancerous cells will release antigens which will stimulate the immune system to eradicate any remaining cancerous cells and reduce re-occurrence of cancer.
2. Cancer Microsphere Intervention (CMI)
One or several types of chemotherapy drugs are embedded to nano particles or sealed in them using a special technology. Using an image-guided micro-catheter, these nano particles containing minimal dose of chemical drugs are inserted into tiny capillary vessels supplying blood to the tumor. The chemotherapy drugs pass through the wall of the capillary vessels into the tumor. As more and more chemotherapy drugs are released into the tumor, cancerous cells are destroyed. Nano particles cannot pass through the compact walls of normal capillaries. Hence, chemotherapy drugs embedded/sealed inside nano particles will not cause damage to other parts of the body. Furthermore, the overall side effects to the body are reduced to a minimum.
Advantages of CMI:
• In applying CMI, there is a high concentration of chemotherapy drugs within the tumor itself while very little drug in the other parts of the body. For example, for a patient weighing 60 kg with a 50g tumor, under conventional chemotherapy, 150mg of oxaliplatin will be used; only about 0.125mg of the oxaliplatin will reach the tumor. However, with CMI only 15mg of oxaliplatin (a tenth of conventional dosage) will be used and 5mg of the drug will reach the tumor, a 40-fold increase when compared to the conventional chemotherapy!
• Rapid results: A solid tumor is quickly destroyed, reducing its size and resulting in the disappearance of the stains of capillary blood vessels.
• Few side effects: Patients can return home 3-4 hours after treatment, with no hospitalization required.
• Alternative Treatment Option: When conventional chemotherapy and interventional chemotherapy fail, CMI provides another treatment option.
• CMI can be repeated without affecting the patient's quality of life.
3. Combined Immunotherapy for Cancer （CIC）
CIC aims at raising and improving systemic immunological function of cancer patients to fight against cancer. Cancer cells display heterogeneity indicated by the presence of different gene sub-types within the same tumor. They also show variability and instability. They mutate from time to time. In fighting cancer cells, the systemic immunological treatment mechanism must be multiple attack and adjust its treatment strategy in time. CIC is the combination of several immune techniques to increase/stimulate systemic immune function. One such technique is to upgrade the function of T cells and/or B cells; another is to upgrade the function of DC, NK cells, macrophages and various kinds of cytokines. This combination of cells is able to destroy or inhibit cancer cells regardless of cancer and the variability/mutation of cancer cells.
CIC includes cytotherapy of dentritic cells (DC), cytokine induced natural killer cells (CIK), immune irritant (low dose Naltrexone, LDN), cytokines, and Traditional Chinese medicine. They are applied jointly and sequentially. The main procedures are as follow:
• On the 1st day: 60-80ml of whole blood are collected intravenously, and it is sent to laboratory for cell isolation and culture; in the evening, 2.5mg of LDN is taken orally each night, it will be used throughout the CIC treatment process;
• On the 2nd day: 0.5ml of MV is initially injected subcutaneously on shoulder or the area near the tumor. MV is injected weekly, and the dosage is from 0.5ml to 1.5ml depending on the injected local skin response. This is repeated for three weeks followed by a two-week break. The cycle is repeated for three months;
• On the 4th or 5th day: 0.5 - 1ml of Interleukin II (IL-2) is injected on an acupuncture point, it is also used each week;
• On 8th-12th days: intravenous re-infusion of the DC and the CIK, etc.
Advantages of CIC
• Very little side effects;
• Broad-spectrum anti-tumor effects;
• An effective measure for the prevention of cancer recurrence
Steps involved in the Application of CCC Model
• For tumors, especially non-resectable ones, CSA is performed, followed by CMI;
• If CSA cannot be performed or the overall condition of the patient does not permit it, CMI is given immediately;
• After CSA and/or CMI have been performed, CIC is applied to prevent the cancer re-occurrence and to ensure elimination of any traces of cancerous cells.