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Quick Summary

Insulin Potentiation Therapy makes use of insulin as a “Trojan Horse” to gain entry into cancer cell membranes. When combined with low-doses of chemotherapy medications, IPT potentiates the activity of chemo. Patients experience fewer side effects from chemotherapy medications as a result of using targeted low-doses.

Detailed Information

 

Insulin Potentiation Therapy, also known as IPT is an alternative to standard chemotherapy in that it involves a low-dose of chemotherapy in tandem with insulin to target the glucose receptors in cancer cells.

 

Because the use of insulin “potentiates” (or increases the susceptibility) of cancer cells, IPT uses 75% to 90% less chemotherapy medicine to reduce the size of tumors. Through IPT, the chemotherapy can be more precisely targeted at cancer cells. Cancer cells have 20 times more insulin-sensitive receptors on their surface than normal cells because cancerous tumors require glucose for energy and growth. The insulin fits into the cell’s receptors like a key that opens channels in the cell wall that allow nutrients and other substances to move into the cell. That means that when insulin is introduced into the body, right before chemotherapy treatment, the insulin “opens” the cell and enhances its ability to absorb chemotherapy. Since the cancer cells are so greedy for glucose (they have more receptors for insulin), they outcompete normal cells for the insulin and their channels open right before the introduction of chemotherapy. By enhancing the absorptive ability of cancer cells, less chemotherapy is needed to kill them. Several studies have shown that insulin increases the toxic effects of chemotherapy on cancer cells [11][12][13][14]. Glucose is also given during IPT to counteract insulin’s effect of lowering blood sugar [1][11]. This lower dosage of chemotherapy reduces the side effects of standard chemotherapy treatments including the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Infection
  • Anemia (low red blood cell counts)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Appetite changes
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth, tongue, and throat problems such as sores and pain with swallowing
  • Nerve and muscle problems such as numbness, tingling, and pain
  • Skin and nail changes such as dry skin and color change
  • Urine and bladder changes and kidney problems
  • Weight changes
  • Chemo brain, which can affect concentration and focus
  • Mood changes
  • Changes in libido and sexual function
  • Fertility problems [8]

Patients may still experience some of the chemotherapy side effects listed above, but perhaps with diminished intensity even with the lower dosage of chemo used in IPT. Some patients, however, may not experience any side effects during IPT. Because the side effects are less pronounced using IPT, cycles of low-dose IPT can be done more often than standard cycles of chemo [3].

Politics

IPT is regarded as quackery by oncologists who abide by the conventional model of medicine while health practitioners who only use non-chemo treatments regard IPT as potentially dangerous because they believe that it’s best to remove toxins and chemicals from the body, not introduce more of them through the administration of chemotherapy. But IPT uses FDA-approved chemotherapy medications (in very low doses) along with the widely available hormone insulin to achieve remarkable results in some cases. Pharmaceutical companies view IPT as threatening because lower doses of chemotherapy drugs could mean lower profits for cancer treatments. Because Big Pharma views IPT as threatening, there has been a lack of financial support for research into IPT.

 

Some oncologists have suggested that physicians should have all cancer patients do a “safe-trial” of one month with IPT. During this time, IPT would be tried first and if positive results are observed, IPT could continue. If IPT did not show positive results at this time, the patient could try other treatment modalities [9].

Safety and Effectiveness

 

IPT was developed in 1932 by Dr. Donato Perez Garcia, Sr. and first used to treat cancer in 1945 as part of a holistic treatment program that also included nutrition and mind/body healing techniques. IPT has been used to treat a variety of cancers including:

 

  • Breast cancer

* in a study that examined multi-drug resistant metastatic breast cancer, IPT using methotrexate and insulin produced a scientifically significant anti-tumor response that was not seen when using only methotrexate or only insulin [6]

 

  • Lung cancer

 

  • Prostate cancer

 

*in castration-resistant prostate cancer, IPT has had promising results [4]

 

  • Brain tumors

 

*for brain tumors smaller than 2 cm, Dr. Perez Garcia has reported a tumor shrinkage response rate of 65% when no other therapies or surgeries are used except IPT [9]

 

Dr. Perez Garcia, the doctor who developed IPT reported the following success rates for his cancer patients [9]. These are approximations:

 

  • For a tumor smaller than 4 cm – no other therapies used (surgery, chemo, radiation) – full remission rate of 95%

 

  • For a tumor larger than 4 cm – no other therapies used (surgery, chemo, radiation) – full remission rate of 80%

 

  • For recurrence/metastasis after other therapies (such as surgery, chemo, radiation) – full remission rate of 25%; partial remission rate of 70%; quality of life improvement 98%

 

  • For terminally ill patients who had no liver impairment – quality of life improvement 40% [9]

 

In a study on rats with cancer, one single dose of doxorubicin and insulin showed a significantly more reduced tumor size than rats treated with doxorubicin alone. In this study, the insulin also helped rats increase weight and food intake [10].

 

Doctors who use IPT have felt that low-dose chemo is less toxic and just as effective as standard, full-dose chemotherapy treatments. While the positive effects of IPT produce fewer side effects than standard chemo, there are few to no side effects with this treatment [5].

 

IPT may also be used to treat chronic degenerative diseases such as fibromyalgia or arthritis [7].

 

How IPT Is Administered

 

In the two IPT clinical trials that were published in peer-reviewed journals [4][5], cancer patients received 0.3 to 0.4 units of IV insulin per kilogram of body weight. Approximately twenty minutes later (depending on patient response), this was followed by chemotherapy administered at doses lower than usual.

 

Possible Negative Effects

The primary risk associated with IPT is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

 

Low blood sugar caused by the use of insulin for IPT can be more severe in diabetics.

 

Certain types of insulin may be contraindicated in patients with a history of allergic reactions to them.

 

IPT during pregnancy can harm the fetus.

 

Other Important Information

Some studies have shown that high insulin levels can promote the growth of tumors [15][16]. This is not to say that IPT promotes the growth of tumors, but rather that research has shown that high insulin levels alone, without the use of chemotherapeutic drugs, can cause tumors to grow. IPT typically involves the administration of insulin, a waiting period of twenty minutes, and then the administration of chemotherapeutic drugs in low-doses. This is followed by the administration of glucose to lower insulin levels back to a normal level again. In IPT, insulin levels are not chronically high, and the insulin is administered in tandem with other substances.

 

The mechanisms that make IPT potentially beneficial and that increase the potency of chemotherapeutic drugs aren’t fully understood. In breast cancer and colon cancer especially, high insulin levels can lead to poor outcomes, but once again, IPT does not produce chronically high insulin levels. Further, studies have also shown that IPT can have a significant anti-tumor effect on breast cancer [6][17][18].  

 

IPT may have a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels in diabetics.

 

Beta-blockers (a certain type of high blood pressure medication) can mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can make it more difficult for doctors to monitor blood glucose levels and determine when dangerously low levels have been reached.

 

Sulfa antibiotics can cause dangerously low blood glucose levels.

 

Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause low blood sugar as well.

 

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Resources

 

[1] Contemporary Medicine (n.d.) Local physician to present findings on innovative cancer treatment to the Cancer Advisory Panel at the National Institutes of Health. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from http://web.archive.org/web/20030215130856/contemporarymedicine.net/press/press.shtml

 

[2] Cancer Tutor (2018). Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT). Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.cancertutor.com/ipt/

 

[3] Hauser, R. A. & Hauser, M.A. (2002). Treating Cancer with Insulin Potentiation Therapy.  Caring Medical and Rehabilitation Services.

 

[4] Damyanov, C., Gerasimova, D., Masley, I., Gavrilov, V. (2012). Low-Dose Chemotherapy with Insulin (Insulin Potentiation Therapy) in Combination with Hormone Therapy for Treatment of Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3357525/

 

[5] Damyanov, C., Radoslavova, M., Gavrilov, V., Stoeva, D. (2009). Low dose chemotherapy in combination with insulin for the treatment of advanced metastatic tumors. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20148468

 

[6] Lasalvia-Prisco, E., Cucchi, S., Vázquez, J., Lasalvia-Galante, E., Golomar, W., Gordon, W. (2003). Insulin-induced enhancement of antitumoral response to methotrexate in breast cancer patients. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14655024

 

[7] Ayre, S. G., Perez Garcia & Bellon, D., Perez Garcia, D. Jr. (1986). Insulin potentiation therapy: a new concept in the management of chronic disease. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3526099

 

[8] American Cancer Society (2018). Chemotherapy Side Effects. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/chemotherapy/chemotherapy-side-effects.html

 

[9] Duffield, C. (1999-2002). Cancer and IPT: Rewriting the Book on Oncology. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from http://www.iptq.com/cancer.htm

 

[10] Peacock, J. L., Gorschboth, C. M., Norton, J. A. (1987). Impact of insulin on doxorubicin-induced rat host toxicity and tumor regression. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/47/16/4318.full.pdf

 

[11] Oster, J. B., Creasey, W. A. (1981). Enhancement of cellular uptake of ellipticine insulin preincubation. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306987700910636

 

[12] Alabaster, O., Vonderhaar, B. K., Shafie, S. M. (1981). Metabolic modification by insulin enhances methotrexate cytotoxicity in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from http://insulinbeikrebs.at/pdf/alabaster1981.pdf

 

[13] Jiao, S. C., Huang, J., Sun, Y. Lu, S. X. (2003). The effect of insulin on chemotherapeutic drug sensitivity in human esophageal and lung cancer cells. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12812659

 

[14] Zou, K., Ju, J.H., Xie, H. (2007) Pretreatment with insulin enhances anticancer functions of 5-fluorouracil in human esophageal and colonic cancer cells. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-7254.2007.00554.x/full

 

[15] Giovannucci, E., Harlan, D. M., Archer, M. C., Bergenstal, R. M., Gapstur, S. M., Habel, L. A., Pollak, M., Regensteiner, J. G., Yee, D. (2010). Diabetes and cancer: a consensus report. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20554718

 

[16] Vigneri, P., Frasca, F., Sciacca, L., Pandini, G., Vigneri, R. (2009). Diabetes and cancer. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19620249

 

[17] Goodwin, P. J., Ennis, M., Pritchard, K. I., Trudeau, M. E., Koo, J. Madarnas, Y. Hartwick, W., Hoffman, B., Hood, N. (2002). Fasting insulin and outcome in early-stage breast cancer: results of a prospective cohort study. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11773152

 

[18] Wolpin, B. M., Meyerhardt, J. A., Chan, A. T., Ng, K. Chan, J. A., Wu, K., Pollak, M. N., Giovannucci, E. L., Fuchs, C. S. (2009). Insulin, the insulin-like growth factor axis, and mortality in patients with nonmetastatic colorectal cancer. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19064975