Information from Steven Ayre's
Chemotherapy drugs are
powerful cell-killing agents. In current medical practice, getting these
drugs into the inside of cells where they do their work requires that they
be administered in doses high enough to force them across the membranes of
A major drawback to this
dosing strategy is a serious dose-related side effect profile frequently
seen with anticancer drugs. This happens because chemotherapy agents do
not discriminate between cancer cells and other normal cells in the
patient's body. They kill both kinds of cells, therefore there are side
With recent advances in our
understanding of the inner workings of cancer cells, it is now possible to
avoid the dose-related side effects of chemotherapy, while at the same
time increasing the effectiveness and specificity of these agents in
killing cancer cells. The key to this is an innovative strategy for drug
delivery called Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT).
Readers will recognize insulin
as being the hormone used to treat diabetes. Secreted by the pancreas in
healthy people, insulin is a powerful hormone with many actions in the
human body, a principal one being to manage the delivery of glucose across
cell membranes into cells. Insulin communicates its messages to cells by
joining up with specific insulin receptors scattered on the outer surface
of the cell membranes. Every cell in the human body has some of these
receptors, with there being from one hundred to one hundred thousand of
them per cell.
One might well ask, "What
does any of this have to do with cancer cells?" It is a well-known
scientific fact that cancer cells have a voracious appetite for glucose.
Glucose is their unique source of energy, and because of the relatively
inefficient way cancer cells burn this fuel, they use up a great deal of
it. This is one reason why cancer patients lose so much weight. Because
cancer cells require so much glucose, they virtually steal it away from
the body's normal cells, thus starving them.
The interesting connection
between cancer cells and insulin is that recent findings published in the
scientific medical literature report that cancer cells actually
manufacture and secrete their own insulin. That cancer cells should be
able to do this makes good sense, knowing of their requirements for large
amounts of glucose to fuel their processes of uncontrolled growth. Related
to this insulin secretion, and central to the operation of Insulin
Potentiation Therapy, is the even more interesting fact that cancer cells
have ten times more insulin receptors per cell than any of the
normal cells in the body. This fact creates a valuable opportunity for the
chemotherapy of cancer because it significantly differentiates normal
cells from the cancerous ones.
Having ten times more insulin
receptors than normal cells means that the effect of administered insulin
will be ten times greater on cancer cells than on normal cells. With this
difference, combined with actions of insulin in Insulin Potentiation
Therapy, we are able to deliver an effective dose intensity of
chemotherapy drugs to the inside of cancer cells - selectively, with a
sparing of normal tissues - and this can be accomplished using greatly
reduced doses of the drugs, effectively eliminating all their dose-related
There is a kind of poetic
justice in this wonderful coincidence of cancer cell biology. The
mechanisms that cancer cells use to kill people are the same ones
manipulated in IPT to selectively potentiate chemotherapy effects in them,
and to more safely and effectively kill the cancer cells. A published
article about cancer cells in tissue culture reported that the addition of
insulin to the culture medium enhanced the cell-killing effect of
methotrexate - a commonly used chemotherapy drug - by a factor of up to
ten thousand. This striking result was attributed to two effects on
the cancer cells.
One was an effect of insulin
to increase the trans-membrane transport of the methotrexate into the
cell. The other was what the authors called "metabolic modification
by insulin" within the cancer cells. There is yet another wonderful
and powerful coincidence of cancer cell biology involved in this factor of
"metabolic modification" - one that fits right in with the
workings of Insulin Potentiation Therapy.
Just as cancer cells have
their own independent secretion of insulin for unlimited access to the
fuel they require, they also have their own independent secretion of
something called insulin-like growth-factor to provide them with an
unlimited stimulus for growth. Cancer cells also have ten times more of
the receptors for insulin-like growth-factor on their cell membranes -
just as for the insulin receptors.
The metabolic modification by
insulin mentioned above results from the fact that not only can it join up
with its own specific receptors on cell membranes, but insulin is also
able to join up with the receptors for insulin-like growth-factor, and
to communicate messages about growth to these cells. While it may seem
highly undesirable for a cancer therapy to actually promote cancer cell
growth, this is in fact a valuable effect of insulin here.
result from actions on the cells of patient's hair follicles, their bone
marrow, and the cells lining the stomach and intestines. This is what
causes the hair loss, low blood cell counts, and the nausea and vomiting.
What these different cell types all have in common - along with cancer
cells - is that they are all rapidly dividing cells.
Chemotherapy drugs like to
attack rapidly dividing cells, indiscriminately. In a tumor, not all the
cancer cells are in this rapidly dividing stage all at once. They take
turns. When insulin joined up with the excess of insulin-like
growth-factor receptors on those cancer cells in the tissue culture, it
stimulated growth in many of the cells that were not in this growth phase.
This "metabolic modification by insulin" rendered more of
these cells susceptible to chemotherapy attack, contributing to their
increased death rate as observed in the experiment.
In Insulin Potentiation
Therapy, insulin administration does cause the blood glucose to go down.
This is called hypoglycemia. This hypoglycemia is an anticipated
side-effect of the insulin, one rapidly and effectively controllable with
intravenous glucose infusions at an appropriate time, according to the IPT
protocol. The principal role insulin plays in IPT is that of a biologic
response modifier. It modifies the biologic response of cancer cells
in such a way that lowered doses of anticancer drugs, administered in
conjunction with insulin, will kill the cancer cells more effectively.
Insulin modifies the cell membrane allowing more anticancer drugs
into the cell. It also modifies the growth characteristics in
tumors making more of the cancer cells vulnerable to anticancer drug
Due to the great excess of
insulin-sensitive receptors on cancer cell membranes, we are now able to
create a clear differentiation between cancer and normal cells using
Because of this important
element of differentiation, along with the biologic response modification
insulin produces, conventional chemotherapy drugs get targeted more
specifically and more effectively inside the cancer cells only, and this
can occur with the use of greatly reduced doses of these cell-killing
drugs. Cancer cells die, tumors shrink, and no side-effects are caused in
any other tissues. Insulin Potentiation Therapy appears to be a wonderful
new way of treating cancer using nothing other than conventional
For more information, go to http://www.contemporarymedicine.net/ipt/ipt_main.shtml.
For a list of doctors that use IPT, go to http://www.iptq.com.
One pioneer of this therapy is Dr.
Garcia - He has a clinic in Mexico.