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T
his month we have again three very diverse ar-
ticles from guests of the Yes to Life Show, each
highlighting a facet of the world of Integrative
Medicine for cancer. Genuinely groundbreaking work
by Dr Matthew Gdovin at the University of Texas at San
Antonio, looks set to result in a largely non-toxic light
treatment, applicable to a broad range of tumour types.
The potential for this to change the experience of cancer
treatment is enormous. Meleni Aldridge, apart from her
key role at the campaigning organisation the Alliance
for Natural Health, is a Functional Medicine practitioner.
In her article, she explores the foundations of the model
of FM and tells us why she thinks it is such a crucial de-
velopment. Lastly, we hear about the work of Dimbleby
Cancer Care from its Director, Robin Pritchard. For sev-
eral decades, DCC has been working to integrate com-
plementary therapies into the mainstream within a top
London hospital, and has played an important role in
changing attitudes towards Complementary Medicine.
THE HOPE OF LIGHT
Developing a new light-activated cancer therapy
By Matthew Gdovin
Professor of Physiology,
The University of Texas
at San Antonio
M
ore than 30 years
ago, I lost my broth-
er Joseph to leukaemia
when he passed away at
the age of 24, and since
then I've witnessed my
brother Ralph and my
mother Rose deal with
the pain and stress of
their ongoing battle
with colon cancer. That was my first experience on the
cancer battlefield, and since then I've taken the disease
on in a different way.
As a professor of physiology at The University of
Texas at San Antonio, I have studied for years how brain
cells regulate the level of their own internal acidity. In
the course of my studies, I wanted to make neurons acid-
ic only on the inside so I could observe how these cells
responded to this mild cellular acidity. Since I couldn't
find an available means to accomplish this, I developed
a technique to induce acidosis only on the inside of neu-
rons. I soon realised that one of the unique features of
virtually all cancers is their ability to multiply and thrive
in a highly acidic environment, one that would cause
damage to most healthy, non-cancerous cells. Realising
the potential to develop a new form of cancer therapy,
my talented students and I immediately transitioned the
focus of our lab to cancer research after 17 years of neu-
robiology research.
Our technology to kill cancers is a form of pho-
todynamic therapy, or PDT. Unlike all current PDT that
causes an increase in reactive oxygen species to cause
death within the tumour, our technology utilises a com-
pound that, when activated by a specific wavelength of
light, will cause an increase in the acid inside the target
cancer cells. Typically, when cells become acidic they,
have defence mechanisms to save themselves from the
unbearable environment. However, if cells become ex-
tremely, acidic they enter a form of programmed cell
death, called apoptosis. Our first approach was to shine
an ultraviolet light on the cancer cells grown in a petri
dish, once we confirmed that the light-activated com-
pound was inside the cell. We found that once the com-
pound was activated by the light, the cancer cells be-
came very acidic and, overwhelmed by the unpleasant
environment, committed suicide. Within two hours, 95
percent of the cancer cells were dead.
Using this technique, we were able to cause
light-activated intracellular acidosis (LAIA) and cell
death in two very aggressive forms of breast cancer, two
forms of prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. We also
performed successful pre-clinical experiments in which
we reduced the growth rate and increased survival in
mice with triple negative breast cancer1.
T
he
Y
es
To
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ife
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Calendar of Upcoming Yes to Life Events
25th November - The Yes to Life Annual London Conference - `Starting the conversation: exploring ways in
which Integrating conventional and complementary cancer care can improve outcomes'