Friday, January 14, 2011

Homeopathy and Cancer

Homeopathy and Cancer

A study published in the International Journal of Oncology this year shows that ultra-diluted homeopathic remedies have a cytotoxic effect on breast cancer cells. The study was conducted by a team of researchers headed by The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

“They conducted an in vitro study to determine if products prescribed by a clinic in India have any effect on breast cancer cell lines. We studied four ultra-diluted remedies (Carcinosin, Phytolacca, Conium and Thuja) against two human breast adenocarcinoma cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) and a cell line derived from immortalized normal human mammary epithelial cells (HMLE).

The remedies exerted preferential cytotoxic effects against the two breast cancer cell lines, causing cell cycle delay/arrest and apoptosis. These effects were accompanied by altered expression of the cell cycle regulatory proteins, including downregulation of phosphorylated Rb and upregulation of the CDK inhibitor p27, which were likely responsible for the cell cycle delay/arrest as well as induction of the apoptotic cascade that manifested in the activation of caspase 7 and cleavage of PARP in the treated cells. The findings demonstrate biological activity of these natural products when presented at ultra-diluted doses. Further in-depth studies with additional cell lines and animal models are warranted to explore the clinical applicability of these agents.”

The homeopathic medicines tested included: Carcinosin, 30C; Conium maculatum, 3C; Phytolacca decandra, 200C and Thuja occidentalis, 30C, and the strongest effects were found from Carcinosin and Phytolacca. The experiments were repeated at least twice in each case of remedy. “Carcinosin and phytolacca appeared similar in activity to paclitaxel (Taxol), the most commonly used chemotherapeutic drug for breast cancer, when it was tested in the two adenocarcinoma cell lines investigated in this in parallel experiments.” In addition, the study says that the remedies exerted different effects according to the “genetic background of the treated cancer cells.” This ties in with the homeopathic notion of susceptibility that we each may need a different medicine for seemingly the same disease due to our own unique expression of the disease and character.

This is a particularly interesting study because the effects caused by the remedies would most certainly not be the placebo effect. This is not the only in vitro (test-tube or petri dish)study that has shown that ultra-diluted medicines can exhibit a physiological effect. This could be one of the strongest studies yet to show that homeopathy does not utilise only the placebo effect but that homeopathic remedies have their own drug action on the physiology of the person.