In my 16 years in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine, I have seen numerous cases of patients with various forms of cancer. In fact, most of the patients presenting with cancer came to me when they had, for all intents and purposes, been written off by their Western oncologists with the famous and grim line, "There is nothing left we can do, get your things in order and try to enjoy the time you have left." I am certain most practitioners have had similar experiences whether it be cancer or other very complex, chronic illnesses.
During seven years of living and practicing in Coronado, Calif.,the loss of four patients to particularly virulent metastatic cancers propelled me into seeking answers for them and those that would come after them. I began seeking out as many seminars and knowledgeable sources to gather whatever information I could to better treat and assist these patients. It was a desperate search, and yet, frequently I came up with repetitive information and a lack of new research supporting effective therapeutic methods. I did not want to accept that there would be cases in which death is the only possible outcome, even though this is essentially a reality when working in any realm of medical practice. This struggle with a reality I did not want to accept perpetuated my search. Clearly, there is not always a solution for certain conditions or certain patients but my feeling that, with all the brilliance technology affords us, there had to be more that could be done for patients with chronic, immunologically based illnesses such as cancer.
In my search for resources, Dr. Jeffrey Yuen was very inspiring. I attended several of his seminars at UCLA on cancer treatment utilizing TCM. He offered a great deal of information ranging from the biologically based therapeutics to the psycho-emotional approaches. He addressed which cancers were more responsive, and his herbal remedies and acupuncture point combinations were very innovative. According to his case studies, he had a great deal of success in treating many cancer patients, but also seemed to have a vast number of patients that seemed to slip beyond the capacity of what TCM could do for them. I employed quite a bit of Dr. Yuen's teaching into my own practice and did see positive changes with my patients. But yet, again and again, I would wind up encountering patients that seemed to have "tipped the balance" and were beyond help that I could offer them. In the time I was researching and studying different approaches, two family friends passed away from lymphoma and liver cancer.
I continued my search.
Finally, through another very brilliant doctor and his wife in New Rochelle, N.Y., I learned about some of the "alternatives to the alternatives." In their own practice, they employ treatment methods that are beyond the usual scope of oncological and Western practice. Ozone therapy, IV's of a multitude of substances including homeopathics and concentrated nutritional substances are commonplace in their office. They utilize many cutting edge treatments that most oncologists and Western doctors either disregard or turn a blind eye to. Dr. Chandler Clark who specializes in cardiology and internal medicine and his wife, Mariella Clark, who is a phlebotomist and doctor from Italy, have a practice loaded with patients like the ones that had been showing up in my practice for the past few years. They have patients traveling from the entire Eastern seaboard to come and see them. While they use unconventional methods, they also are firmly based in Western medicine. They carefully screen their patients and only recommend therapies to patients they know will benefit. They adhere to the Hippocratic oath of, first and foremost, doing no harm. That said, the majority of their patients find them through word of mouth, other cancer survivors, and through open minded physicians that know their methods work for so many patients. The majority of their patients suffer from advanced cancers, HIV, immune system problems, and other chronic illnesses.
I was in their office and spoke with several patients. Each of them had their own story, their own personal battle with either cancer or other debilitating, severe conditions ranging from viral infections to Lyme disease, cancers and advanced diabetes. In each case, these patients had positive results from the treatments and were showing improvements in their labs and in the way they felt. Admittedly, walking in to the office and seeing patients lined up in comfy chairs with IV's flowing bags of medicinals into their arms, was a bit intimidating and unusual. But, after speaking with several patients, and observing the office staff and doctors, I was impressed at their knowledge. The constant stream of patients and their positive feedback indicated to me that they are doing something right.
Mariella Clark told me that they utilize certain protocols that are allowed in the U.S., but that their therapeutic approaches are derived from much more extensively practiced methods from Europe. They learned these methods largely through a doctor in Germany that practices the most advanced, scientifically studied and proven methods in the treatment of cancer and immune dysfunction. The majority of these avenues are not yet allowed in the U.S., but they make use of the ones that are permitted. The Clarks shared information with me about the German clinic that developed the protocols they use and told me that in Germany there is a far greater breadth of treatment options since they are more open to these proven, scientifically studied approaches.
Some of the methods used in Germany include IV's of many substances including herbal, nutritional and mineral agents, individualized vaccines, hyperthermia, stem cells, naturopathy, and immunological treatments. Mariella Clark explained how many of their own patients go there if there is not enough they can do to help them heal or improve. She emphatically expressed that the patients that go to the clinic in Germany return as if they were "raised from the dead."
My fortune had it that Dr. Ursula Jacob was coming to the U.S. to do a series of lectures and to meet with other doctors and oncologists. Apparently many doctors in the states are interested in her work and treatments. She comes over to the states once or twice a year to share her findings and treatment methods, as well as to gather data regarding advances in treatment being made in the U.S.. There are several doctors that she currently collaborates with in the U.S..
When the Clarks let me know that Dr. Jacob was coming to New York to do a lecture, I wanted to hear what was so different about her approach and why she was having so much success in treating cases that were apparently no longer treatable. In honoring my search for therapeutic methods that could help so many people, I made a point of attending her seminar.
The seminar was the day before Thanksgiving, traffic on all sides, as I drove with one of my patients, who had just completed four months of chemotherapy and radiation. Dr. Jacob's lecture was held at the beautiful Wainwright House in Rye, N.Y.. Despite the holiday, the seminar was completely full, and Dr. Jacob began punctually. Jacob explained how 20 years ago, she began her own search for the best diagnostic centers and laboratories in order to develop the most sensitive detection methods for various cancers and immunological conditions. She was determined to find the state-of-the-art research and therapeutics, utilizing only scientifically proven approaches. She explained the basics of cancer and how the etiology is largely unknown or uncertain, while it could be due to stresses, chemicals, hematological diseases, neurological disorders, viral overloads that weaken the system, or various other conditions that have been linked to the turn over of the cancerous cells into a condition of cancer.
She discussed how cancer requires inflammation to grow and spread, which it does prolifically once the process has initiated. Dr. Jacob was very clear in sharing that cancer cells travel through the blood, even at an early stage, and can be detected significantly before the person falls ill. At that stage, treatment is simple, but most people are never tested at that stage, since they do not realize yet that they are ill. She also stated that, after oncological treatment, certain tests should be employed to gauge whether or not the treatments effectively cleared the body of cancer. Treatment, according to Dr. Jacob, should not end after the last chemotherapy or radiation session. There must be continued care with other natural, dietary, and/or physical methods. In some cases, further treatment with chemotherapeutic agents may be indicated to ensure that a person has the greatest chance of survival and maintaining health. A great deal of the process of caring for patients with cancer or other difficult illnesses is doing the proper tests at the right time.
Some of the testing methods Dr. Jacob uses include micro-tumor testing (CTC), chemo-sensitivity assays, and R and D and real time PCR testing. These tests are highly sensitive and can detect where the cancer resides. The chemo-sensitivity test ascertains which therapeutic agents the patient's body will tolerate and if the treatments they may have already undergone have been effective. She briefly discussed the Vogelstein Model of developing cancer cells, which was interesting.
Dr. Jacob went over case study after case study of patients in Stage 4 of various types of cancer, all of which had been written off by their oncologists. She explained why the cases were so intricate and showed how, through genetic tests, the person had either healed or was still in danger of relapsing. There were so many cases that resembled the patients that I had treated, whose lives I watched sadly slip away, that were now alive and well through the treatments Dr. Jacob and her team employed. This was the first seminar or source of information that I felt had unlocked at least some of the answers to effective cancer treatment. Granted, not all cases of cancer can be cured at this time, but Dr. Jacob's work is proving itself time and time again. So, why are these methods not allowed or used in our country?
The most intriguing aspect of the seminar was the discussion of the techniques Dr. Jacob and her team utilize to destroy the genetic information of the cancer within the patients' cells. Some of the most effective approaches they utilize are individualized vaccinations that can be targeted against the cancer cells (or other cellular dysfunctions), stem cells that can lead to cancer cell regression and vessel disruption that slows the progression and prevents the replication of the cancer cells and intravenous and intramuscular injection of a multitude of supportive and immune enhancing agents. Patients undergo intensive treatments while at the Alpen Klinik in Germany and the vast majority walk out with a new lease on life. While Dr. Jacob does not make promises to her patients, due to her very impressive rate of cancer eradication she appears to have a very firm grasp on medicinal approaches that will be more mainstream in the next decade.
Of great interest to TCM practitioners, Dr. Jacob discussed the use of one of our commonly used Chinese medicinals, artemisia vulgaris. It is utilized in a very concentrated form and made into an IV solution called arteminisin. Scientists in Germany have been researching its use in cancer and certain viruses for years. It has been highly useful for adeno-cancers and even HIV. She also mentioned Catumaxomab that has been shown to be highly useful in forcing cancer cells to go into lysis, in which the cells dissolve. While this substance can be temporarily hard on the liver, and raises liver enzymes rather dramatically for a few days, it has been shown great promise for resistant cancers like stomach and pancreatic. Another product she recommended is called Haelan 951, which is concentrated and fermented soy. It has been studied and used in Japan for many years as well. This, if taken properly, has been shown to block the cancer's ability to reproduce by regulating P 53 (a cancer marker), and by boosting immunity.
Dr. Jacob discussed the importance of having an alkaline body environment, and other products like melatonin, cat's claw, tumeric, and important antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C, etc. And, while we cannot provide the treatments Dr. Jacob does in Germany, we can derive some information from the cutting edge studies she sites and has access to. Many of the herbs she employs are being researched and proven to be very effective in cancer treatment. For practitioners of TCM, this knowledge is confirmation of our own studies, and is invaluable in how we can assist our own patients. For those that truly have few options, going to Germany could very well save their lives and give our medical system the push it needs to be open to treatments that are working, without relying solely on the pharmaceutical lobby.
While these treatment methods are not practiced in our country yet, as practitioners, we must be aware of the options and the possibility of true hope we can offer our patients by introducing them to techniques that are beyond what any of their doctors would be offering them. Dr. Jacob's methods are not witchcraft, they are highly studied, researched and medically proven. Multitudes of people from the states and the world have already gone to her Alpen Klinik in Germany for treatment. In fact, a patient that had gone to Dr. Jacob for treatment for hepatitis C lives in my own community in California. She has been free of hepatitis C for four years now, and is thriving.
In conclusion, it is the author's conviction that, as practitioners dealing with peoples' health and lives, it is our duty to have as much knowledge as possible and to be armed with information. If we cannot provide the care a patient may require to heal, we should have a Plan B for them, so that they may then decide for themselves whether it is a step they would want to take. Dr. Jacob and her highly specialized team of medical professionals have shown to be a referral point. After years of scouring medical articles, attending seminars and researching what works, Dr. Jacob has presented their medical model as one to follow. While no method is absolute, Dr. Jacob's approach has certainly stepped into the future and is attaining the results. I couldn't have found a better way of entering the Thanksgiving spirit - being thankful for knowledge that could save lives.
For further information contact Alpen Klinik at
Stephanie Schneider is a licensed acupuncturist in California and New York. She recently completed her doctoral studies in Ayurvedic Medicine at AUCM in Los Angeles, Calif.. She studied in China and Vietnam and will be doing post-doctoral studies in India. She maintains a private practice in Calabasas, Calif. and Tuxedo Park, N.Y.