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Rationale for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy to take Immunocal

Patricia A.L. Kongshavn, Ph.D Former Professor: Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada A characteristic of many tumor cells is that they have particularly high glutathione (GSH) values and thus are more resistant to chemotherapy and radiation. One approach has been to use GSHdepleting drugs like BSO (to reduce GSH values in cancer cells to render them more vulnerable to treatment). However, this reduces GSH in healthy cells also, magnifying the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy so that this approach is impractical. The objective would be to use a substance that would diminish GSH in cancer cells alone and it appears that Immunocal may be able to do this. Baruchel and Viau (1) demonstrated in vitro that, at concentrations that raised GSH in lymphocytes and induced proliferation, Immunocal caused GSH depletion and inhibited proliferation of cancer cells (using rat mammary carcinoma and Jurkat T cells). Furthermore, in a small clinical study using patients with metastatic carcinoma (mostly breast cancer), Kennedy et al. (2) obtained further evidence that Immunocal could deplete tumor cells of GSH. At the same time, it is proven that Immunocal can raise GSH in lymphocytes (3). Thus, it is suggested that Immunocal may be able to raise GSH in normal tissues whilst lowering it in tumor cells, rendering the cancer more vulnerable to chemotherapy or radiotherapy and yet helping to protect the normal tissues from damage. There is also evidence from other studies to suggest that treatments which raise GSH can ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. In one study (4), over 150 patients being treated for ovarian cancer with cisplatin were also given intravenous GSH and monitored for side effects, quality of life, and outcome. Compared to a group receiving no GSH, the GSHtreated group showed statistically less depression, vomiting, hair loss, shortness of breath and neurotoxicity. Their mental concentration and kidney function improved measurably and there was a distinct trend towards a better outcome. Immunocal can also assist in the prevention of wasting that often accompanies anticancer treatment. Droge (5) has developed a persuasive argument that the wasting seen in cancer, HIV, sepsis and other diseases can be ascribed to GSH depletion and he promotes the use of Nacetylcysteine (NAC) as a GSH-enhancing therapy to oppose this process. Immunocal would be a better choice, as it has none of the side effects associated with NAC.
References. 1. Baruchel S, Viau G. In vitro selective modulation of cellular glutathione by a humanized native milk protein isolate in normal cells and rat mammary carcinoma model. Anticancer Res 15:1095-1099, 1996. 2. Kennedy RS, Konok GP, Bounous GB, Baruchel S, Lee TDG. The use of a whey protein concentrate in the treatment of patients with metastatic carcinoma: a phase I-II clinical study. Anticancer Res 15:2643-2650, 1995. 3. Lands LC, Grey VL, Smountas AA. Effect of supplementation with a cysteine donor on muscular performance. J. Appl Physiol 87:1381-1385,1999. 4. Smyth JF, Bowman A, Perren T, Wilkinson P, Prescott RJ, Quinn KJ, Tedeschi M. Glutathione reduces the toxicity and improves quality of life of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer treated with cisplatin: results of a double-blind, randomised trial. Ann Oncol 8:569-73,1997.

5. Droge W, Holm E. Role of cysteine and glutathione in HIV infection and other diseases associated with muscle wasting and
immunological dysfunction. FASEB J.11:1077-1089,1997