Brain cancer - alternative treatments that work?

Brain cancer - alternative treatments that work?

There are definitely alternative and complementary treatments for brain tumours that can increase your personal odds of survival, from Dendritic cell vaccines to oncolytic viruses and taking off-label drugs;  then there's dealing with infection, ways to make Temozolomide work better and more; here are some ideas have increased survival and even cured GBM and astrocytoma brain cancer.

The search for new brain cancer treatments

Everybody knows that brain cancer is difficult to beat. But not impossible.  There ate new 'alternative' treatments that can work; and complementary therapies that can improve the current conventional options and increase your personal odds of survival. Here Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and member of the CANCERactive Medical Board searches the computer of his own brain and more than 20 years of research into brain cancer, to show you how you might increase your brain cancer treatment options. You can also consult Chris for a Personal Prescription on GBM, astrocytoma and other brain cancers.

Go to: Read what people who have had personal Prescriptions with Chris have to say.

Professor Thomas Seyfried and his team believe that brain cancer is a metabolic disorder; not a mutation inside the DNA but the product of changes around the DNA; for example, methylation, identified as causing cancer by the Science of Epigenetics. Sure enough, about 20% of brain cancers are methylating, and Temozolomide was designed to treat exactly this. Seyfried has produced a review of the problems and solutions in orthodox brain cancer treatment here.  When you have read it you will be even more convinced to look for alternative brain cancer treatments!

From what I have personally observed, it is not impossible to beat a brain cancer. It's tough but not impossible. Only recently a breast cancer patient was referred to me by her friend for a Personal Programme. When I asked who the friend was, the patient gave me a name and said, "You built a programme for her and her GBM brain cancer 16 years ago!"

One of my favourite quotes is "I believe you can be cured. The cancer may be in remission, but it can be in remission permanently". This was uttered by Dr. Henry Friedman, one of America’s top oncologists.  And he specialises in brain tumours at Preston Robert Tisch Center, part of Duke’s Cancer Center in North Carolina.

Where people do beat a Grade 3 or 4 brain tumour, it is nearly always done by thoroughness and determination. 

       * Do I know an alternative treatment protocol that has been used by someone to beat a glioma? Yes. 

       * Do I know a treatment protocol that cures all gliomas? No.

But there’s a huge amount you can do for yourself to increase your personal odds of survival.

Alternative and complementary treatments for brain tumours

So here are some alternative brain cancer treatments that have worked - yes, they cured a brain cancer. In no particular order - 

1. Cutting blood sugar

     1.a. A Ketogenic Diet

The basic belief is that brain cancer NEEDS glucose. And if the cancer cannot obtain glucose it dies. Unfortunately it's not that simple. Cancer - including brain cancer - can move on to consuming glutamate, converted from the amino acid glutamine, if there's no glucose around. Glutamate exists throughout my body (for example, my muscles are full of glutamine, and my brain stores 25% of my glutamine/glutamate as it needs the energy}. Professor Seyfried is the main champion of the Ketogenic Diet and he advocates a rigorous version of the Keto diet -  2% of your calories from carbohydrates (to reduce glucose), 8% from protein (to reduce glutamate) and 90% from good oils and fats.

And be clear. He advocates the same 'good' fats as are in the Rainbow Diet - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fish oils, Nuts (walnuts, almonds) and Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) and avocados.

Like me, Seyfried believes Coconut Oil (which is 90% saturated fat and highly inflammatory) and bone broth (which is full of glutamine), are totally off limits if you have a brain cancer.

Go to: The Ketogenic Diet

Go to: Foods to eat; foods to avoid for the Ketogenic Diet

Pablo Kelley beat his Brain Tumour on the Keto Diet. But he has an important safety net - he has an  HDI-1 mutation - he starved his brain cancer of sugar, and could not use glutamate as an alternative fuel.

Personally, I think there are flaws in the Ketogenic Diet and oncologists don't like it. But then Temozolomide and Dexamethasone both raise the sugar in your brain!!!

Go to: Fundamental flaws in the Ketogenic Diet

     1.b. An ATKINS DIET 

Andrew Scarborough beat his GBM on a Ketogenic Diet; except it wasn't the true Keto diet. His Website has the heading 'Eat Meat, drink water'. Half way down the home page the heading says 'Lamb is your friend'. This is actually an Atkins Diet, which is nil glucose, nil carbohydrate. That would almost certainly help fight a brain tumour. St Thomas' Hospital, London tried using an Atkins Diet and claimed it increased survival times.

Frankly, I meet a lot of people who tell me that they are on a Ketogenic diet when in reality they are not.

2. Cutting blood sugar directly

Do you really need the strict regimen of an Atkins or Ketogenic Diet? Could you eat nourishing whole carbs and still ensure your fasting blood sugar was around 4.5 (the Keto Diet target))? Yes, you definitely can. The drug Metformin does exactly this for people with type 2 diabetes. Clinical Research shows the herb Berberine achieves the same glucose-lowering effect, but also attacks the energy pathway of cancer cells and is anti-inflammatory.

Reducing blood sugar enhances the action of drugs like Temozolomide making it more effective for more than the 20% of people it targets (people whose brain tumour is methylating). There is research on the use of metformin and berberine both improving the effectiveness of Temozolomide and also limiting brain tumour growth.

3. GBM and Dendritic Cell Vaccines

We have a number of mentions of this on this Website.

i) 20 or more years ago, Amy beat her GBM by surrounding her Dendritic Cell Vaccine that Friedman had made for her at Duke's Carolina, with a host of supplements, exercise and her faith, when the standard drugs had failed. 20 years on, she's now married with two children.

Go to: Amy's GBM beating story

ii) King's College, London has been taking the European lead on a Dendritic Cell Vaccine DCVax, which for a third of the Phase III trial patients saw several live more than 7 years and a mean of 42 months. This trial was extended to 12 years in total and now approval for the widespread use of the vaccine is near. Soon it will be readily available and this is excellent news.

Go to: DC-Vax Trial Completed successfully

4. Repurposing 'old' drugs 

Professor Ben Williams was a Professor of University of California San Diego when he developed a brain tumour - a glioblastoma, GBM - in 1995. He did his research, talked to friends and used a number of common ’repurposed’ old drugs not ordinarily used with brain tumours - and has completely beaten the disease.

He used Melatonin (the sleeping drug that blocks oestrogen and growth hormone; and attacks cancer cells), Verapramil (fa calcium blocker), Cimetidine (an antihistamine that also restricts spread), Tamoxifen (an estrogen blocker) and Accutane (an acne drug that also attacks cancer stem cells). All, have side-effects. They also all do something against cancer - melatonin attacks cancer in about 5 ways, cimetidine reduces cancer spread, Accutane helps convert cancer stem cells to mere mortals and tamoxifen and melatonin deal with an oestrogen element in most brain cancers and their stem cells. In his supplements list he also used high doses of natural Genistein - also to block cancer stem cells, which are in high levels in brain cancer. Some people add Metformin and Mebendazole to this mix as the former cuts blood sugar and the latter attacks brain cancer cells, via tubulin and microtubules.

Williams is now over 70 years of age. Orthodox oncologists will not be happy with his findings, but there is a film about him and he has support from a number of sources including the UK Brain Tumour Charity.

Go to: How Ben Williams beat his GBM brain cancer

There are a number of drugs that have been repurposed to make existing treatments work much better, or even for use as alternative brain cancer therapies. For example: 

Mebendazole is a parasite killer that disrupts the growth of cancer cells by attacking microtubules and tubulin.
Cimetidine, Desloratadine and Loratadine are antihistamines which have a metastases-restricting effect.
And Methadone, which seems to extend TMZ active life
And tricyclic anti-depressants
And the malaria drug chloroquine - 
And ibudilast increases to effectiveness of Temozolomide
Perhaps the most interesting is the use of another brain cancer drug - in a Lancet report on a Phase II study on the use of Lomustine with TMZ and Radiotherapy, it improved effectiveness and survival times:
Some patients hate the idea of Dexamethasone (it has even been called the Devil's Drug) - a steroid used to stop the headaches and worse as the brain pushes against the cranium. Dexamethasone also pushes blood sugar higher, in effect feeding the brain tumour. The previous option was Prednisolone.
Some people use the off-label drug Celebrex, an anti-inflammatory, instead.  A natural alternative might be Boswellia. 
5.  Supplements can and do fight brain cancer
Of course diet is important. We know the brain is poisoned by sugar and brain cancer is fed by sugar. We know sugar withdrawl stops fits in epilepsy; and higher blood sugar levels in older folk is linked to more dementia. But generally, cancer is spread by bad fat levels and driven by inflammation. Chronic inflammation can be countered by foods. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, fish oils, berries like raspberries and cranberries, and nuts like walnuts all increase levels of anti-inflammatory compounds in the bloodstream because they nourish and grow the good bacteria in your gut that make anti-inflammatory molecules..
Ben Williams completely changed his diet adding genistein (from red clover, soy beans), PSK (a mushroom extract with strong anti-cancer benefits, improving survival and keeping white cells up during chemo)), flax seed (which is anti-estrogenic, feeds your gut bacteria and helps oxygenate the blood), borage seed oil (for gamma linoleic acid), and then he ate berries, garlic and lots of sprouting seeds and drank green tea. Not surprisingly, we use all of this when Chris builds  Personal Prescriptions for people anyway, as it is part of a Rainbow Diet.
We also use supplements. Many people with brain cancer have a period of remission. Dr. Young S. Kim is head of Nutrition and Cancer at the National Cancer Institute. She is an Epigeneticist and research she has commissioned for the NCI talks of keeping cancer in remission, suppressing cancer stem cell regrowth by consuming foods that contain strong natural compounds - for example, sprouting seeds (sulforaphanes), curcumin (turmeric), piperine (black pepper), EGCG (green tea), geiestein (Red clover), B vitamins choline and inoitol, vitamin A and total vitamin E..
There is a lot of research on supplements with brain tumours, particularly on curcumin, fish oils, B vitamins, chokeberry, echinacea, medicinal mushrooms like Coriolus (PSK), IP-6, B3, Boswellia and more. 
Vitamin D3 supplementation is also essential as approximately 80% of newly diagnosed brain cancer patients have la deficiency. Those who don't fix their vitamin D level (it should be over 100 nmoll), survive least. Vitamin D is a hormone not a vitamin; it arms the immune system. has several actions, Without adequate levels of vitamin D, the immune system simply does not work properly; you have no immune attack.

Perhaps the definitive list of research-supported supplements for brain cancer comes from Amy (see above) who was being treated at the same time as Catherine but by world expert Dr. Henry Friedman at Duke’s Cancer Center in Carolina.  She built an integrative programme of diet and supplements, something that Friedman calls 'Enlightened Medicine'. We have extensive research on this Website on which supplements help.

Go to: How Amy used supplements to beat brain cancer

6. Cannabis can help fight brain cancer

Yes, people do beat brain cancer using Cannabis. What's the correct dose? Rick Simpson suggested people used a gram. Most practitioners say a quarter of that can blow people's brains and is 'enough to work'! The next issue is the mix of cannabinoid ingredients. Natural cannabis is roughly THC 65% to CBD 35%. But many practitioners believe that with brain cancer the ratio for treatment should be 1:1. There is actually a prescription drug from GW Pharma - it has been available for 10 years or more - called SATIVEX. It's THC:CBD, one to one.

Europe's expert on cannabis is Dr. Christina Sanchez in Barcelona. I suggested one of my patients in Spain might contact her; she referred him to the Kalapa Clinic, run by Doctors; and they designed a programme where the dosages evolved over time.

Go to: Can Cannabis Cure Cancer?

7. Homeopathy can help fight brain cancer - there's even a clinical trial

The Banerji Protocol: Father and son homeopaths in Calcutta have been treating brain tumours with Ruta and Calcarea Phosphorica (See HERE), (and HERE) and stood up over a decade ago presenting their successes at a US Cancer Conference. MD Anderson researchers worked on a clinical trial with them under the gaze of the FDA. And the trial went well. With 44 patients there was no recurrence in 63.6% of them. The research was covered on the MD Anderson website, but has since disappeared. Banerji will reply when contacted, as will Dr. Sen Pathak, Professor of Cell Biology at MD Anderson, Texas.

8. Electrical Fields help fight brain cancer

The Optune System looks more like a Jewish cap and it just might save your life. You walk round with it on your head. It has excellent research with TMZ for giving better results. The drawback is that it is expensive - you rent it. Much used in the USA; but too expensive for most Europeans.. 

Go to: The Optune system improves TMZ treatment and survival     

Dr. Roger Stupp is the expert on Optune and this treatment has been through Phase III clinical trials.
"This study aimed to improve survival in glioblastoma, which is the most aggressive and malignant primary brain tumor in adults. The study involved 80 centers worldwide and randomized a total of 695 patients to receiving either standard of care – either temozolomide/radiation, followed by temzolomide, or temozolomide/radiation, followed by temozolomide plus TTFields.
The results demonstrated a 37% reduction in risk of death when adding TTFields to temozolomide/chemotherapy. To illustrate those results at 2 years, this means the overall survival is increasing from 30% to 43%, and there is a maintenance of this absolute benefit at 3, 4, and even 5 years," Stupp explains.
9. Immunotherapy can help fight Brain cancer
Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) has been shown to have a significant effect against brain cancer, but only where you have the presence of a tumour. If 98% has been removed, it has no effect.

10. Virotherapy - the new way of fighting brain cancer?

It would be fair to say this is a developing area of Alternative brain cancer treatment, rather than the finished product. 

i). Researchers at the University of Leeds, led by Susan Short and the Institute of Cancer Research in London are using the Reovirus to selectively attack brain tumour cells. The virus attacks brain cancer cells without attacking healthy cells. It simultaneously boosts the immune system. To date the research shows it works, but it does not work for everyone and it cannot be repeated. The report is here.

ii). A team of researchers has shown that the specific properties of the Zika virus lead it to treating GBM and brain cancers. Early work is promising. The virus targets growing brain cells and can thus target rapidly growing brain cancer cells. Researchers from Washington University Medical School are also modifying the virus so that it cannot cause harm to humans. Human Clinical Trials are planned in 2020. Scientists from Cambridge University are also treating brain tumours with modified Zika virus.

iii). Moira Brown and her team in Scotland are using virotherapy in trials with GBM. Read more here. Since 2001, they have been working with a modified Herpes virus which multiplies rapidly inside brain cancer cells. In a June 2018 reported study, researchers at the University of Alabama took 6 children with brain tumours and used a genetically engineered herpes virus, HSV - 1 G207. The treatment proved safe in all 6, with a good response seen in 5 subjects. A number of patients in the UK and America have traveled to Germany, where Dr Nesselhut tailors a Dendritic cell vaccine to the brain cancer patient. Finally, there is a company in France making Oncolytic virus vaccines (Transgene) - this is moving very fast. Go to - using viruses as vaccines

iv). Perhaps the leaders are Duke Cancer Institute researchers, who  have completed a Clinical Trial using the Polio Virus. Phase 1 of the Trial took place in 2012 with some very good results. As usual, the modified virus both attacks brain cancer cells and also boosts immune response. A follow-up study was reported in June 2018. The mean survival time for the 61 patients increased by a little over 10%. Annik Desjardins, one of the researchers said that the virotherapy results looked very similar to immunotherapy results in that the majority of patients seem to get little from the treatment, but some people get a significant response. One woman survived 2.5 years until a recurrence, and then went for the treatment again.

Go to: The Definitive Overview of Brain Cancer- symptoms, causes and alternative treatments

11. Can Artemisinin, or IVC, help fight brain cancer?

Two professors and a Doctor at Washington Medical School used Artemisinin (sweet wormwood) bound to ferritin to attack brain cancer cells. It worked

Go to: Ferritin-artemisinin compound kills brain cancer cells

One, Dr. Singh, now has an anti-cancer protocol involving artemisinin.

Go to: Artemisinin anti-cancer protocol

Iowa Medical School has been part of a III-phase clinical trial on Intravenous vitamin C (IVC), to repeat and extend Linus Pauling's original studies.. So far they have completed phase II. Amongst the patients there is a group of GBM patients. To date, IVC has been deemed to improve survival with no side-effects. According to the Riordan Clinic, IVC is best preceded by Hyperbaric Oxygen, and taken with DMSO. Up to 85 gm, depending upon body weight is used; every 5 days for 8 rounds, to keep the 'pressure' on the cancer cells.

Go to: Intravenous vitamin C, a practical guide

12. Controlling Infection

Several studies have shown that infection may well pay a role in brain cancer. This is nothing unusual. In almost every case of chronic illness, there has been a loss of good bacteria in the microbiome, allowing pathogens to flourish. A loss of bacteria making anti-inflammatory molecules in the gut, has been linked to inflammation in the Astrocytes. We then know that there is research linking brain cancer to the presence of Toxoplasma Gondii, Borrelia Burgdorferi and Cytomegalovitus. 

We would always aim to rebuild the microbiome, killing the pathogens and replenishing the good bacteria. But then, anybody with cancer has built a body conducive to cancer; the issue is to build a body conducive to health.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has a good number of research studies on it with brain cancer - GBM, Medulloblastoma etc. It lies dormant in approximately 80% of humans, but has been found to be active in both primary and also secondary brain cancers. A drug, Valcyte or Valganciclovir, is known to attack CMV, and several studies have shown significant increases in overall survival in patients taking this (with or without brain cancer drugs). The drug is now off-patent and relatively inexpensive; it is believed to be enhanced by the use of off-label drug, Low Dose Naltrexone.

When I paid privately to have tests done on Catherine back in 2005, she was found to have bad yeasts and an 'unidentified' virus. I told her oncology team, but they did not act on the information.

Go to: Cytomegalovirus and brain cancer: A review


I hope that helps.

Chris Woollams

2023 Research
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