Chances are, you know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. One out of every three women will contract the disease in their lifetime; for men the odds are even greater. Now, an exciting new protocol has received approval from the FDA and WIRB (Western Institutional Review Board) to conduct a Phase I/II clinical trial on humans for treatment of solid tumor (metastic) cancers using a treatment designed to “supercharge the patient’s immune system and “zap” the cancer cells, destroying them.”
Leading the investigation is Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj, Director of the South Florida Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Institute in Boynton Beach, Florida. A hematologist and oncologist, Dr. Maharaj has been successfully treating patients with blood cancers for years using stem cell treatments. The clinical trials now underway target solid tumor cancers such as breast, cervical, stomach, pancreatic, lung, and melanoma.
As Dr. Maharaj explains, “A characteristic of a metastic cancer cell is the way it divides into twins. One of the twins will actually begin to form tissues while the other twin lies dormant. The standard therapy for treating metastatic tumors is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy will kill a certain number of tumor cells and those cells may shrink, so it will look as though you’re making progress, but with the immune system weak, the dormant twin can begin to form new tumors, which is why these cancers often return.
“Our protocol is based on a 1999 study conducted at Wake Forest University by my colleague, Dr. Zheng Cui. Dr. Cui discovered a cancer resistant mouse. No matter how many times Dr. Cui attempted to infect this mouse with cancer, he couldn’t do it; the mouse’s immune system was simply too strong. Further investigation showed that the mouse’s white cells possessed granulocytes – specialty cells that sought out cancer cells and eradicated them. These same granulocytes were also found in the white blood cells of humans, specifically in the immune systems of young, healthy people around the ages of nineteen through twenty-five. Our protocol is to treat metastic cancer patients with cancer killing granulocytes donated by young healthy cross-matched donors in order to repair or supercharge the patient’s immune system."
As promising as the new protocol sounds, there remains a funding hurdle to overcome. In recent years grant money from the National Institute of Health has been more difficult to obtain, and insurance companies do not pay for treatments during clinical trials.
To meet the financial challenge, the Institute has just launched a new website: www.ZapCancer.org which explains the protocol, provides vital answers for cancer patients, collects tax-deductible donations to fund the clinical trial, and contains a video presentation produced by N.Y. Times best-selling author, Steve Alten, whose father died from melanoma two weeks before he was to receive the protocol. Says Alten, “Cancer is a horrible disease that affects all of us. And yet, if a million people simply donated $10, the Institute could complete the first phases of this vitally important investigation, a necessary step to one day treating patients worldwide. For the simple cost of a movie ticket or paperback book, we could help fund a potential cure for solid tumor cancers. I pray that everyone will take a look at the ZapCancer.org website, make a small donation, and spread the link around.”