Cachexia… the real killer?
We all know the reasons for the headscarf and wan complexion.
But did you ever stop to think why cancer makes people suddenly drop a size – or four?
No, neither did I. That was until a few months ago, when I found out that most cancer patients don’t die from cancer; they die from something called cachexia.
Cachexia (pronounced ka-kek-see-ah) causes a loss of appetite that leads to a patient wasting away. According to Dr Allan Spreen author of Tomorrow’s Cancer Cures TODAY the disease is responsible for 73% of all cancer deaths.
Tumours are Taxing
Cancer cells require more energy than regular cells and devour nutrients at your body’s expense. As I’ve mentioned previously, cancer cells metabolize glucose (sugar) anaerobically through a process of fermentation.
But this isn’t the whole story.
They don’t completely metabolize glucose, leaving the waste product – lactic acid – to spill into the blood. The result? The liver and kidneys are dealt the difficult task of transforming the lactic acid ( and other breakdown materials from the body) back into glucose.
As this cycle repeats itself the body’s energy stores become more and more depleted.
The grim reality? Cancer patients often die trying to feed their own tumour.
Most experts assumed that this ‘wasting away’ process only happened to end-stage cancer patients, but Dr Joseph Gold, a US Air Force doctor, discovered that cachexia begins the moment the first cancer cells appear.
Gold also found that if an enzyme called PEPCK could be inhibited, the cachexia could be interrupted… and the cancer possibly reversed.
As fate would have it, shortly after forming this theory in the early 1970s, Gold went to a conference on enzymes, where researchers were discussing a chemical that could inhibit PEPCK. That name of it?
Hydrazine Sulfate (HZ).
Since then, dozens of controlled clinical trials have been done on HZ, with the majority coming from the Petrov Research Institute of Oncology in St Petersburg and the Harbor UCLA Medical Centre in LA.
‘Terminal’ cancer patients treated with hydrazine sulfate ( also known as Sehydrin) in the Russian trials experienced: increased appetite and weight gain, decreased pain, diminished weakness, tumor stabilization, tumor regression and NO side effects.
These results were reported in patients with many different types of cancer, including breast cancer, stomach cancer and endometrial cancer.
In 1980, clinical studies at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles (prospectively-randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind – for those that care) showed hydrazine sulfate could increase or stabilize weight and lead to ‘statistically significant survival increase’ in patients with lung cancer. Many of these studies have since been published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals including the Lancet, Oncology and Nutrition and Cancer.
The seventeen years of Russian studies and the decade of research from LA revealed that:
Of every million late-stage, cancer patients treated with HZ, more than half a million would obtain measurable symptomatic improvement, 400,000 would demonstrate a halt or regression in tumor growth, and some would go on to long-term (greater than 10 years) survival.
You know where this is going right?
Let’s all say it together:
WHY HAVEN’T WE HEARD ABOUT IT ?
Well, in the early 1990s the National Cancer Institute (NCI) decided to get involved.
Between 1990-1992 the NCI ran three trials on HZ, which revealed that the compound was ineffective at treating cancer cachexia.
The reason their results were so different to previous studies?
The NCI allowed patients in their hydrazine sulfate studies to use tranquilizers, barbiturates and alcohol, despite clear warnings from doctors. (Tomorrow’s Cancer Cures TODAY)
It’s akin to giving someone the green light to drink and drive – that’s how lethal these substances can be together.
So why would the doctors risk their patients lives?
Who can say? But it’s interesting to note that pharmaceutical grade hydrazine sulfate costs only three quarters of one cent per dose – according to Dr Spreen- which means the doctors weren’t exactly looking at a blockbuster medication.
Following their dismal trials the NCI released a statement saying HZ was worthless (it probably was in their eyes) and the miraculous compound was all but forgotten.
But it’s hard to put the nail in the coffin of something that’s evidently keeping patients alive… and their pets.
On the homepage of the Syracuse Cancer Research Institute, you’ll find a heartwarming story about Elwood, a beloved cat who made medical history.
In 1997 Elwood had part of her stomach removed due to cancer and was given chemotherapy a daily dose of hydrazine sulfate and ‘ two to five months’ to live. Due to the side effects Elwood stopped the chemo, but continued with the HZ … and lived another EIGHT YEARS to the impressive age of seventeen. Until then, the longest-lived cat on record with her disease was one year.
Since that time many other cats and dogs have been placed on Hydrazine Sulfate and have lived for their owners to tell their tail.
Our beloved bulldog is now among them. In the last few weeks Gnocchi, who was also diagnosed with cancer in March, has started being a little less interested in food and a little less excited about her walk.
So she’s now on HZ, doled out in a ball of mincemeat, since happy cow cheese – her preferred drug delivery method – contains tyramine.
This amino acid inactivates Hydrazine Sulfate and can cause adverse reactions.
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