The image that you see here combines the before and after color Doppler ultrasound images for a thyroid cancer patient following 3 weeks of treatment at Hope4Cancer Institute*.
The red color indicates active blood flow. Within 3 weeks, we witness a remarkable disruption of about 80% of the tumor vasculature (blood flow in the tumor). This result is typically obtained for many of our patients that undergo Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy in combination with Hyperthermia (whole body and localized), along with supplementary treatments that help restore the body’s overall health.
In this article we will review why this result is of great significance to cancer patients.
What is Angiogenesis and Why Should We Care?
Have you ever thought how water reaches every faucet in our homes? Its the plumbing, of course. However, unlike a home where the plumbing is laid down before and the home finished over and around it, our body’s plumbing that delivers water, oxygen and nutrients to every cell in our body is a living entity, capable of growing when and where it is needed.
The process of vasculogenesis creates blood vessels de novo from endothelial cells – in other words, it is the process where new blood vessels are born. This lays down the “core plumbing” right from our embryo stage of development.
Angiogenesis, on the other hand, is the outgrowth of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels. Physiological angiogenesis is a crucial step needed, for example, for wound healing. But pathological angiogenesis works against us by creating blood vessels that supply nutrition to areas of aberrant inflammation and cancerous tumors. Tumor cells give off chemical signals that trigger the formation of these blood vessels.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the pharmaceutical industry worked excitedly towards a new class of drugs called “angiogenesis inhibitors”. These inhibitors are designed to disrupt the signal that passes from the cancer cell to the endothelial cells promoting the creation of new blood vessels. This was a different approach from chemotherapy, which is essentially the introduction of cellular poisons that aim to target the cancer cells, but typically have extensive side effects against regular cells and organ systems.
As part of the accelerated program, several drugs in this class were approved by the FDA typically to be used in combination with other drugs. These drugs include Avastin® (for glioblastoma), Nexavar®, Sutent®, Votrient® and Affinitor®.
Initially the side effects were apparently mild. But with time, some serious consequences have developed from the use of angiogenesis inhibitors. Some side effects include complications with wound healing, heart and kidney function, reproduction, clots in arteries, hypertension, protein in urnine, gastrointestinal perforations, fistulas and possible birth defects based on animal studies. (source: Angiogenesis Inhibitors from the National Cancer Institute).
However, the biggest issue with these inhibitors is that often within days of treatments a viable rim of cancer cells develops around the area of the tumor that can easily repopulate the tumor with malignant cells, often more resistant to therapy (see Vascular Disruptive Agents for the Treatment of Cancer), taking away from the impressive “tumor-busting” qualities of some of these inhibitors.
How Is Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy Different
Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy uses a sensitizer molecule (in Hope4Cancer, we use a non-toxic, sublingually administered sensitizer) that finds its way to cancer cells, while getting flushed out of healthy cells. Interestingly, the sensitizer penetrates both cancer cells as well as the cells in the tumor vasculature (blood vessels).
When the patient is exposed to light and sound at preset frequencies matching the activation of the sensitizer, free radical oxygen is created which destroys the cancer cells and the vasculature surrounding it. Because of its excellent selectivity and our ability to target light and sound in the general area of the tumor, we never see any of our patients experience any side effects from the treatment.
Unlike angiogenesis inhibitors, we are not simply blocking a cell signal pathway, a process that can easily be subverted by the wily cancer cells. Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy focuses on simply and effectively destroying tumors and their nutritional means. Because of the lack of side effects, Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy can be continued indefinitely. We have also not observed any clinical scenarios where the tumors develop resistance to the treatment over time.
Tumor tissue blood vessels tend to be poorly formed and fragile – which is part of the reason why they breakdown so easily. We have observed that combining Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy with Hyperthermia provides the best results in vascular disruption.
Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy: Summary of Benefits
1. Considerable reduction in blood flow that supply nutrients to the tumors. A retrospective study of 50 patients with a variety of cancer diagnoses showed an average of 51% of reduction of vascularity following three weeks of treatment.
2. Treatment does not have side effects and allows significant improvement in overall quality of life. About 90% of our patients report either sustained or improved quality of life following treatment.
3. Treatment can be continued over a long period of time without causing resistance or long-term side effects.
4. Combines effectively with other whole body treatments aimed to restore a healthy body milieu, not a cancer-promoting one.
*Hope4Cancer Institute is a Mexico-based cancer treatment center that treats all types and stages of cancer patients. Treatments are conducted in our Baja California clinic under the supervision of a Medical Team with expertise in both conventional and alternative medicine. Our team also includes consultant surgeons, radiologists, anesthesiologists, physical therapists and more, with the purpose of providing a complete treatment experience to our patients.