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Talc May Stop Lung Cancer

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Talcum powder may be able to stop the growth of metastatic lung tumors, according to researchers at the University of Florida.

They said in a news release that it has the ability to cut off blood flow to tumors, not just soothe diaper rash.

The soft powder stimulates healthy cells to produce endostatin, a hormone called a magic bullet for treating lung cancer.

Talc slowed tumor growth and made them smaller, Dr. Veena Antony said, by preventing the formation of blood vessels.

Talc is already used in lung cancer patients to alleviate fluid around the lungs, which can cause breathing problems. When most people reach that stage, called malignant pleural effusion, most die within six months. So talc is blown into the lining of the lungs to cause scar tissue and give no room for the fluid to build up.

Patients who have that procedure live up to 18 months longer, leading the researchers to see if the talc was having another effect.

Within a day of having the talc inserted, patients have 10 times the level of endostatin, researchers said.

Other attempts to use endostatin have not worked because the hormone breaks down quickly in the body when injected.

"It surprised us that such a cheap, easily available product, such an old-fashioned product, can have benefits to the patient and perhaps prolong the patient's life," Antony said

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  • 5 months later...

I can understand the disbelief that endostatin clinical trials had been disappointing, possibly because most clinicians had injected the hormone directly into patients, where the hormone broke down in the body before it had a chance to slow the spread of cancer. But researchers like Dr. Veena Antony "rethought" the situation by understanding that by allowing talc in the chest cavity, thus constantly causing the normal cells to produce endostatin, may inhibit the growth of tumors.

Thanks to scientists like Dr. Antony that took the time to think through "whiz bang" science that often gets a pass without much thought. The problem is that few scientific discoveries work the way we think and few physicians/scientists take the time to think through what it is they're discovered. Good work University of Florida! I genuinely believe that there is more to Talc poudrage than is commonly recognized. Perhaps because it is easily available and cheap, and it has not had the press it deserves!!

When my wife was first treated for ovarian cancer back in 1972, she presented with DVT and pulmonary embolism associated with her malignancy. Persistent effusion showed malignant cells on thoracentesis. She had a total abdominal hysterectomy and pill-dose Chlorambucil (Leukeren) treatment. She had talc placed into the lung walls for them to adhere to the lining and keep them from collapsing.

Twenty-four years later, she developed a metastatic transdiaphragmatic tumor from the original cancer with attachment to the lung and other midline structures of the chest. Parts of those structures were surgically resected. I remember the throacic surgical oncologist telling me the talc oozed down to the bottom of the cavity and was as hard as rock. She had to literally use a hammer and chisle to clean it all out.

It seems that her twenty-four year ride without any recurrence gives the University of Florida study some credence. Would she have gone twenty-four years without this talc?

Even though they work for an academic institution, Dr. Antony is still having a hard time getting funding for the research. Here and there around the world, there are decisions still being made by folks who aren't in the pockets of American Big Business. Individual intelligence, integrity and curiosity. Maybe there is a glimmer of hope! I wouldn't doubt if the research money is not flowing because the treatment is so cheap. That is a shame. You can't patent talc.

The FDA has never approved a drug for cancer that was not patented or marketed or produced by a major pharmaceutical company. Today, the trend is towards more expensive cancer therapies with some costing up to $100,000 per patient per year. Millions of people have suffered and died and will continue to suffer and die because profitability, not efficacy and safety, is ultimately determining what cancer therapies are available to patients.

The average oncologist makes two-thirds of his/her annual revenue by selling high-cost drugs to patients (known as the cancer concession). Why do cancer doctors follow the NCI and the cancer trade associations blindly? Because those doctors get paid by the NCI to do cancer protocols, and very few of them are going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Many people suspect this goes on, but cancer doctors don't want to admit it. It's all about The Two E's: ego and economics.


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