Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy and Immunotherapy

Cancers may be treated with "local" or "systemic" therapy. Local therapy may consist of surgery and/or radiation therapy. As implied, these local therapies treat specific areas of tumor growth and may not be applicable to a specific patient at a specific time in their treatment. Systemic therapy may consist of chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or biologic therapy. These methods may be used to prevent tumor recurrence or to treat unresectable or recurrent malignancies. Therapy may be in the form of pills, injections or infusions - or any combination of the three.

Chemotherapy has been used in the treatment of cancer for over 70 years, dating back to the use of nitrogen mustard for lymphomas in the 1940's. Chemotherapy is "cytotoxic",  designed to kill rapidly dividing cells by interfering with DNA replications, proteins production or by disrupting the cell wall integrity of the cancer. Chemotherapy and its accompanying supportive care has been refined over the decades to significantly reduce, and in many instances eliminate completely, its previously frightening side-effects of nausea, vomiting and drop in blood counts. Chemotherapy is now safely administered almost exclusively as an outpatient in the comfort of our office.

Hormone therapy has also been around for decades. Initially, hormone-sensitive tumors such as breast cancer were treated by oopherectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries), an estrogen-eliminating procedure. While this is still an acceptable form of therapy for many breast tumors, we now have alternative hormone therapy for breast cancer, as well as prostate cancer and even some gastrointestinal tumors, available in pill form or by simple monthly injections. Unlike chemotherapy, this type of therapy does not kill cancer cells; rather it renders them quiescent or inactive.

Immunotherapy (sometimes called biotherapy, biological response modifier therapy,  or monoclonal antibody therapy) is a relatively new addition to the family of cancer treatments. These biological therapies use the body's immune system, either directly or indirectly, to fight cancer or to lessen the side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. 

The immune system is a complex network of cells and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by "foreign" invaders. This network is one of the body's main defenses against disease. It works against disease, including cancer, in a variety of ways. 

Cancer may develop or recur when the immune system breaks down or is not functioning adequately. Biological therapies are designed to repair, stimulate or enhance the immune system's responses. Advances are being made frequently today in this field and incorporated quickly into our treatment programs. .
In addition to biotherapy, we may recommend a potent anti-oxidant program (a balanced combination of vitamins and plant extracts) to enhance your immune response. Anti-oxidant programs will be specifically tailored for your needs. Nutritional counseling, biofeedback and other guidance services are available either in our support group or in private sessions.

Selected alternative or complementary techniques such as high dose vitamin infusions, mineral infusions and/or hyperthermia may also be incorporated in a patient's treatment plan. These programs may be used alone or along with chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Killer T-cell enhancement is also available at our center.

High dose Vitamin C infusion therapy can benefit those patients who have advanced cancer; since the infusion of this vitamin works to damage cancer cells, cancer patients can prolong their survival. Vitamin C goes through a chemical reaction when it interacts with cancer cells to create hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide that is produced can damage the DNA and other structures of cancer cells ultimately killing them. Vitamin C specifically targets and kills cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. The reason for this is because normal cells, compared to cancer cells, have a significantly larger concentration of catalase. This specific catalase is responsible for the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Since cancer cells don’t have enough of this catalase, the hydrogen peroxide, that is produced by Vitamin C, builds up and becomes toxic to the cell.

Cancer cells also have a greater need for glucose (sugar) to operate, therefore, they have more glucose transporters to increase its uptake of. Vitamin C when infused in the bloodstream is transported into cells through these glucose transporters. So cancer cells take in more Vitamin C which produces more hydrogen peroxide that they can’t break down and leads to their death.

When high dosage of Vitamin C is combined together with chemotherapy it can produce much more effective results in the destruction of cancer cells. According to the National Cancer Institute, “Treatment with high-dose vitamin C slowed the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver, colon, malignant mesothelioma, neuroblastoma, and other types of cancer cells.” During chemotherapy, both healthy and cancer cells are affected. This can cause many side effects to the body, some common ones include: fatigue, nerve tissue damage (causing pain, tingling and numbness) and cognitive impairment, making hard to think, concentrate and remember past memories. Studies have shown that chemotherapy along with Vitamin C treatments have reported fewer toxic side effects as well.

Killer T-cell enhancement (immuno-oncology) is the cutting edge in oncology. Recruitment and potentiation of killer T-cells allows us to harness a patient's own immune system to help treat the cancer and may be  useful in the treatment of a wide variety of cancers.

Super Immune Infusion Therapy -  The fatigue of cancer, the fatigue related to cancer treatment and other chronic fatigue syndromes can be treated with a potent mix of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals given as a rapid intravenous infusion once weekly. Please call us for details on any of our treatment techniques.


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Cancer Institute of Long Island
Hal Gerstein, MD
225 Community Drive, Suite 160
Great Neck, NY 11021

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