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Gar Hildenbrand Alternatives is an educational function of the Gerson Research Organization, a US nonprofit, public-benefit, scientific research organization.
Overview of immunotherapy treatments

We proudly partner with our good friend and colleague Dr Rafael Cedeno, board-certified oncologist and oncological surgeon, and head of ST ANDREWS CLINIC.

To discuss the possibility of treatment, please call Gar Hildenbrand at 858-774-6642.

A brief description of frequently used materials, methods and rationales

Note: all materials are employed according to the precepts of the Danger Model (Matzinger and Fuchs), a predictive model for tumor immunotherapy

  1. Gerson’s cancer diet improves tissue function and response to cellular distress, disturbance, death, and danger; improves communication of specific tissue needs to dendritic cells; and, in turn, enhances circulating immune cell activity according to the tissue-based class control of the Danger Model (Matzinger & Fuchs).

  2. Coley Fluid stimulates the entire immune system, from tissue-based innate immunities to the circulating adaptive immune system, and promotes leukocytosis with aggressive colonization of granulocytes.

  3. GM-CSF (Gramal, Leukine) raises granulocyte, macrophage, and dendritic-cell counts and matures tissue-dedicated dendritic cells (making them costimulatory).

  4. Biopsy or other surgery can wound tumors, releasing tumor antigens and danger signals that activate dendritic-cell/effector-lymphocyte cascade and anti-cancer effector cycle in properly preimmunized patients.

  5. Injectable tumor lysate (autologous) administered into a Coley wheal to mimic the original observation of Prof Dr Wilhelm Busch, who saw that a postsurgical tumor-bed infection of Streptococcus pyogenes could induce distant tumor absorption through immune response. This is primarily used for insurance to prevent recurrence after remission has been achieved.
  6. Chemosensitivity/resistance testing with live cancer cells (Rational Therapeutics) identifies drugs specific to each individual.

  7. Immunogenic chemotherapy (insulin-potentiated/low-dose) wounds tumors to get the attention of the immune system.

  8. Gerson’s diet and detox protocols counter toxicity, speed wound healing and encourage tumor absorption.

  9. Supportive measures (ex vivo hyperthermia, ozonated infrared sauna, IV vitamin C, IV mixed vitamins, insulin-potentiated amygdalin, etc.)

Coley Fluid (Coley's toxins)

Coley Fluid is back! The most famous and effective therapeutic vaccine against existing cancers is back!

Chemo not working anymore? Radiation not possible? Aromatase inhibitors failing? Gerson Therapy not stopping new tumors? Macrobiotic diet not controlling cancer?

Coley Fluid can help. Coley Fluid wakes up your immune system by introducing an ancient enemy, Streptococcus pyogenes. S. pyogenes and people go way back – to the time of early humans – and we have evolved a powerful immune response to deal with it; an immune response powerful enough to take out tumors as collateral damage.

Coley Fluid is safe. Don't let the name "Coley's toxins" frighten you. It can’t infect you, because it is heat-sterilized, i.e., dead; but its carcasses literally freak out the first-responder immune cells and trigger a whole-body inflammatory immune response. Immune cells can find cancer anywhere in your body.

If Coley Fluid is back, where did it go? Let’s hear from an expert:

“There is no question that inappropriate judgments have resulted in injury to good observations: if we look at Coley’s toxins, a turn-of-the-century pyrogenic bacterial endotoxin anti-cancer treatment, we see a valid approach to nonspecific host resistance set back by being falsely labeled a ‘quack remedy’ by the American Cancer Society.” (William Regelson. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1980;243(4):337-339).

The five-year survival rates for advanced, inoperable cancers of the breast, ovary, cervix, and uterus, as well as giant cell bone sarcoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma met or exceeded two thirds of all patients treated with Coley Fluid (Coley's toxins) alone. For inoperable melanoma, the five-year survival rate was a remarkable 60%. (Helen Nauts. Cancer Research Institute Monograph No. 18:1984).

These survival rates are all the more remarkable in light of the fact that Coley did not attempt to adjust for many variables, such as nutritional status of the patient, immune competence, negative influences like liquor, tobacco, etc. Further, there were no antibiotics in his time, no heart drugs, no blood pressure drugs, not even insulin (until 1922). Coley simply injected his vaccine (Coley's toxins) repeatedly.

Stephen Hoption-Cann of the University of British Columbia recently wrote:

“Despite the 'crude' approach taken by Coley, his vaccine stimulated a complex immune response that could induce the complete regression of both extensive primary and metastatic lesions. Furthermore, his vaccine was universally effective against many types of malignancies. Tumors that were observed to partially or completely regress following treatment with Coley's vaccine included: lymphomas, melanomas, myelomas, sarcomas and a wide spectrum of carcinomas.” (Medical Hypotheses. 2002;58(2):115-119).

In the same article, Hoption-Cann lamented the fact that standardized cancer management not only fails to consistently produce lasting cures, it has in all likelihood reduced the number of non-treatment-related remissions of the disease:

“Modern approaches to treatment have reduced the occurrence of spontaneous regressions. Aseptic techniques and antibiotics significantly reduce postoperative infections, while chemotherapy and radiation impair immune activation even when an infection does occur.”

Here are two excellent overviews by Hoption-Cann of the historic development and use of Coley's vaccine: http://www.mbvax.com/pdf/SRegression.pdf, http://www.mbvax.com/pdf/Hoption_Cann_2003.pdf.

The Cancer Diet (updated and modified Gerson Therapy)

The Cancer Diet (after the manner of Gerson) is not understood by us to be a stand-alone treatment for most advanced cancers; however, it IS an indispensable part of integrative immunotherapy for cancer, per se.

How can we make such statements? Our nonprofit scientific research corporation, the Gerson Research Organization, has in its registry 7,785 cases (as of 4/30/2007) from all five (5) Mexican hospitals that offered variants of the Gerson diet therapy for cancer and other diseases from 1977 through 1996 (Hospital La Gloria, Hospital Jardines de la Mesa, Hospital del Sol, Centro Hospitalario Internacional Pacifico, SA, and Hospital Oasis). Of 7,785 charts, 4,738 are cancer cases and comprise our tumor registry. We have published and will continue to publish retrospective analyses of the outcomes of these patients.

In 1958, Max Gerson published a viable “best case series” in his last monograph, A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases. In his book, Gerson described the essentials of his treatment, and discussed the rationales known at that time. Unfortunately, the record Gerson left did not yield a “plug-and-play” treatment. Beginning practitioners, indeed even seasoned practitioners, cannot consistently reproduce results like those 50 cases, simply because they were Gerson’s best cases.

What emerged as we analyzed the data was a clear picture of clinical benefit. The performance status of even bedridden patients frequently improved to the extent that disabilities were overcome, pain medications were reduced or eliminated, appetite was restored, and patients could again get up and engage family, friends, and community. It became clear that this global improvement also led to the successful employment of additional treatments, e.g. one strong trend in the data is the survival advantage seen in patients who could be operated to remove tumors during or just prior to adherence to diet therapy for melanomas, colorectal cancers, and ovarian cancers. It also became clear that the majority of advanced cancer patients would not be cured by diet therapy as sole treatment.

It is also evident in the historical record that Gerson did not feel that his cancer diet was complete. Indeed, in A Cancer Therapy, he recommended fever-inducing vaccines, explaining his rationale: “The idea of helping the cancerous organism through a strong inflammation is old but was correct from the beginning.” Over 30 years of treating and observing the responses of cancer patients, Gerson came to believe that inflammation and fever were manifestations of healing: “The healing apparatus seems to have retained part of its embryonic capacity and healing purpose for a type of regeneration, when it falls back into the embryonic state temporarily and is activated above the degree of its normal function.”

Gerson saw his cancer diet as capable of setting the stage for, and sustaining, a vaccine-triggered inflammatory response: “The completely detoxified body is then able to produce an allergic inflammation if the healing apparatus (liver, visceral nervous system and reticulo-mesenchymal system) can be activated sufficiently. Everything that can help to bring it about and strengthen the necessary allergic inflammation may be used for that purpose after the general detoxification has taken place. Bacterial preparations (Coley and others) or Pyrifer, or any similar preparations are effective, as far as they can stimulate the visceral nervous system in connection with the liver and the mesenchymal defense and healing apparatus.” Max Gerson died of pneumonia only months after this monograph was published, and was never able to investigate and develop the combination of his cancer diet and fever vaccines.

Thirty-eight years passed before the exploration envisioned by Gerson began in 1996 as a collaborative effort by the Gerson Research Organization and CHIPSA. Much of the credit for this goes to Wayne Martin and his decision to sponsor and supervise the first new production of Coley’s vaccine in decades. Wayne Martin passed away last year, but philanthropic entrepreneur Don MacAdam had already stepped up to fill the void with his creation of MBVax Biosciences and the manufacture of a superbly potent formulation of what is now called Coley Fluid.

Because fevers place an enormous demand on protein reserves, Gerson's lengthy period of protein restriction is not employed by us. Early in the treatment, cultured dairy is added and, depending on the case, fish and fowl may be prescribed within a short time. Protein restriction was part of Gerson's stategy to sensitize the connective tissue immunities in order to trigger a fever, a feat that he could normally accomplish within 6 to 8 weeks.With the introduction of Coley Fluid, it is possible to induce a fever at will, as soon the patient is judged clinically ready.

Dendritic Cells Generated in vivo

As was the case with many other cancer treatment groups, we took enthusiastic interest in Carole Berger’s publication regarding the ex vivo overnight production of dendritic cells (DC), the body’s professional antigen presenting cells. With several colleagues, we rushed to develop our own PUVA-photopheresis and were soon collecting mononuclear progenitor cells and culturing them into next-day DC. By 2003, we had introduced this new technology to Baja California.

At the time, we did not know that there was a simpler, less invasive, and far less expensive way to grow and activate the body’s DC population. We were adding Gramal to culturing monocytes to push their differentiation into DC; we have learned through the inestimable contributions of Dr Silvia Formenti that we should have been injecting the patients with Gramal instead.

Each PUVA-photopheresis/DC culture added thousands of dollars to the patient’s bill. When we introduced the technology, the cost was about $1200 per procedure, with patients needing 4-8 procedures. As of 2014, routine billing by groups offering DC is upwards of $5000; in other words, PUVA-photopheresis/DC procedures have become a cash cow.

Simply injecting the patient with Gramal produces better clinical results at a cost of only several hundred dollars.

Ironically we now have the double distinction of having been first to deploy photopheresis/DC treatment in Baja California, and being the first to abandon and distance ourselves from it.

A Central Mechanism

Uwe Hobohm has recently observed in an article about Coley's toxins that the following cascade might explain its effectiveness: “fever generates inflammatory factors with co-stimulatory activity, which activate resting dendritic cells (DC), leading to the activation of anergic T cells, maybe accomplished by a second process, where a possible physical damage of cancer cells leads to a sudden supply of cancer antigens to DC.” (Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2001;50:391-396).

Knowing the central mechanism ― by which Coley Fluid elicited antitumor immunities that led to a cure rate of 10% across the board, and up to 80% in specific histologies ― it became possible to intentional manipulate it to improve on Coley’s impressive beginnings. The Danger Model (Matzinger, Fuchs) predicts that tumor damage will lead to a tumor-clearing type of lymphocyte-effector response of roughly 2 weeks in duration. Because every effector response will fizzle out, it is necessary to wound tumors at regular intervals in order to create new effectors to start a new tumor-clearing response. This has to be repeated until the cancer is gone.

Standardized chemotherapy protocols typically use very large dosages of drugs under the inherited assumption that the drugs, and only the drugs, are going to kill cancer. These high dosages progressively ablate the immune system, preventing a strong tumor-clearing immune response. Moreover, regenerative capability of the organism in general is suppressed.

Utilizing an innovative variant of insulin-potentiation therapy (IPT), far lower doses of cytotoxic drugs achieve tumor responses on par with the early high doses of standard protocols (the first responses are best because the immune system is least damaged). We differ from the popular IPT movement in that our protocol is reversed, with insulin bolus following administration of drugs, and with said insulin at far lower doses (lower by a factor of 10).

Laetrile has been poorly deployed despite having a known mechanism. Surprisingly, delivering a standard dose of laetrile followed by a small bolus of insulin produces sometimes sharp sensations in and around tumors. Although the treatment was developed entirely empirically, the probable mechanism is as follows: insulin bolus saturates tumor receptors, which triggers glucose binding, which causes tumor cells to express beta glucuronidase, which in turn cleaves intratumoral laetrile into benzaldahyde (as known pain killer) and cyanide (a metabolic poison). We regard IPT-laetrile as a competent tumor-destabilizing treatment.

Ongoing Treatment

You will be given vaccines, medicines, and instructions for at least 18 months of at-home treatment with ongoing medical guidance. You will be asked to have periodic blood tests and to supply these to your medical group.

Even after the initial intensive clinical treatment, booster IPT-chemo will have to continue at regular intervals. Some patients have located IPT practitioners near home who are willing to receive brief technology transfer from us and are able to successfully continue in the comfort of home. Residents of southern California will often elect to simply come to us for a series of 1-day outpatient treatment. The patient’s clinical and objective condition will dictate, in large part, the ongoing therapy.

Musings About Cancer

In many ways, cancer looks, behaves, and develops like an infectious disease, with chronic low-level inflammation. Non-healing inflammation tends to cause "sludging" or sticky blood (coagulopathy), depression of circulation in the smallest blood vessels (arteriole-capillary junctions) and, ultimately, hypoxygenation (oxygen starvation) of tissues throughout the body.

Global suppression of whole-body tissue immunities is a consequence of these changes and, logically, the more cancer progresses, the greater the risk for serious infections from microbes that can't hurt or even infect healthy people, e.g. fungal infections.

For most cancers, this tissue damage begins in small pockets and extends with the cancer as it develops. These focal pockets of peritumoral (around the tumor) tissue damage represent a sort of "progressive shock" in miniature, with cells leaking potassium, gaining sodium and chloride, and swelling with too much water.

When a cell swells, its metabolism hits gridlock, oxygen and fuel can't get to the cell's power plants (mitochondria), garbage piles up in the cell's "streets", and the power plants begin to shut down. This leaves the cell barely clinging to life in a "Catch 22" state, in which it lacks the ability to produce enough energy to correct the damage. Physiological Chemistry and Physics and Medical MRI founding editor Freeman W. Cope MD called this "tissue damage syndrome."

Because peritumoral tissue consists mostly of cells in the "Catch 22" state, as tumor burden grows, so does the amount of Catch-22 tissue and so, also, the circulatory problem. At a certain point, call it critical mass, toxic tumor-related substances, putative cancer-related-microbial behaviors, and other influences lead to end-stage deterioration of circulation that is "progressive" in almost exactly the same way that septic shock and hemorrhagic shock are progressive. Failure of the liver, heart, and lungs is a common denominator.

Is there an infectious-disease component in cancer?

Critical observers have for many years argued that cancer must be an infection because of the remarkable similarities: "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck." This position was not popular with the cancer-allied industries and was often vehemently attacked as preposterous. Despite having served with distinction as a senior administrator and scientist at New York's Memorial Hospital for 40 years, William B. Coley MD was constantly ridiculed for his viewpoint that cancer must involve infectious processes.

In 1683, looking through the microscope that he had invented, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek observed, "There are more animals living in the scum on the teeth in a man's mouth than there are men in a whole kingdom." A 1998 posting on the US Federal Government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website described recent tumultuous events in the discovery of new microbes, "Novel kingdoms of life have been discovered with these genotypic methods. It has been estimated that only 0.4% of all extant bacterial species have been identified. Does this remarkable lack of knowledge pertain to the subset of microorganisms both capable and accomplished in causing human disease?"

The obvious conclusion one may draw from this revelation is that Coley was probably correct, and that we have yet to make the basic observations that will eventually unravel the mysteries of cancer. That cancer has responded to general measures, which are considered effective in treating infections, only strengthens this impression. According to David Relman, "In fact, the epidemiologic, clinical, and pathologic features of many chronic inflammatory diseases are consistent with a microbial cause, but intimate or symbiotic host-pathogen relationships are among the most difficult to decipher and mimic in the laboratory" (Relman DA. Detection and Identification of Previously unrecognized Microbial Pathogens. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 1998;4(3) http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol4no3/relman.htm.

In Conclusion

Our intent is to apply all evidence-based appropriate measures within our grasp to counter the complex and, as yet, unexplained set of pathological changes that occur in cancer. We do not represent our therapy as unique or exclusively correct in any way, and we most certainly do not claim that the US FDA in any way knows about, understands, or approves of the above language or the treatments here described.

The historical record reveals that there have been few systematically applied methods of cancer management associated with credible, positive human outcomes data, meaning long-term, disease-free survival. In fact, relatively few medicines and technologies have been shown to provide benefit of any clinical relevance to malignant diseases, even in an adjuvant role. The identification of the treatments discussed here is based on the available human outcomes evidence. Our group has had long experience with most of these treatments (with the exception of the recently developed PUVA/photopheresis/dendritic cell protocols), and we are convinced of their integrative potential.

In short, the AltCTEP program is but one alternative method of cancer management. There are others, to be sure, and we make no judgments regarding them. We proceed according to our own observations and convictions. We invite you, and our recovered friends invite you, to consider our offering, and we wish you both strength and courage as you confront the challenge of this family of poorly understood diseases. Please feel free to contact us.

Gar Hildenbrand

San Diego, CA

Updated September 2014

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