The National Cancer Institute was not interested.
Although the applicant, Dr. Shamsuddin, was a medical doctor with a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the taxpayer-funded NCI denied him funding to carry out clinical trials because, in their view, his research was of no value.
NCI scientists tested the substance that was the subject of his research. It was both ineffective and dangerous, so why should they provide funding? It did not kill cancer cells. And when injected into mice to test for safety, all the mice died!
Sounds like the NCI had a reasonable case. But as often happens with unorthodox cancer treatments, the story is not as simple as they made out. This is what really happened…
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How NOT to carry out research
Dr. Abukalam Shamsuddin’s remedy went through the same flawed procedures as other promising treatments that for one reason or another have fallen foul of the cancer establishment.
In the first place, the test that showed it was ineffective used a concentration up to 10,000-fold less than the therapeutic dose. In other words it could never have had any effect at the minuscule dose the NCI used.
Secondly, they administered it wrongly. It should have been dissolved in water, but they chose to use a different solvent.
Thirdly, the remedy has to be taken orally. Even at extremely high doses, it was found to be non-toxic when taken by mouth. And yet the NCI scientists chose to inject it. At a certain dose it became lethal.
It sounds like the experiments were designed to make sure the substance was ineffective or dangerous. We shouldn’t be surprised…
You see, IP6, also called phytate or inositol hexophosphate (six phosphate groups attached to inositol), is a cheap and simple sugar molecule found mainly in the bran layer of fibrous food. It’s a member of the B vitamin family. Where’s the glamor and profit in that?
In spite of the NCI’s lack of interest, research by Dr. Shamsuddin and other eminent scientists continues in over 100 labs all over the world. Their studies clearly demonstrate that IP6 is a powerful weapon in the prevention and control of cancer.
Studies show great promise
Dr. Shamsuddin first became interested in IP6 when he read a medical paper that questioned whether fiber prevented colon cancer.
The writers of the paper wondered why Danes have twice the rate of colon cancer as Finns even though they eat double the amount of fiber. Perhaps it’s not fiber itself but the type of fiber that’s important, they suggested.
They speculated that phytate in the Finns’ cereal-based diet was the protective factor.
Studies on fiber have had mixed results, but the research on colon cancer is clear. The disease is reduced strongly and consistently with high fiber diets from cereals, particularly whole wheat and rice.
To test the hypothesis that IP6 is the key factor, Dr. Shamsuddin divided rats into different groups. IP6 was added to the drinking water of one group. Another ate different amounts of fiber. A third group, acting as a control, ate neither fiber nor IP6.
Two weeks later the rats were injected with a carcinogen that makes them likely to develop mammary tumors.
After 29 weeks the fiber group had fewer tumors than the controls but not by a significant amount. In contrast, the rate of tumors in the IP6 group was reduced by a third and there were about half as many tumors per animal. The results were so striking they appeared in the national press in 1989.
In a follow-up experiment, animals were fed IP6 from two weeks to five months after a colon-cancer-causing agent was introduced. 43% of the ones that didn’t receive IP6 went on to develop tumors compared to only 10% in the IP6 group — another dramatic outcome.
Many other experiments have been carried out on animals and on a large number of human cancer cell lines in lab cultures. Results are consistent and demonstrate a strong anti-cancer effect.
Studies involving humans are few, thanks to lack of NCI interest. But in one such study, 14 breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy were divided into two groups. One group was given low dose IP6 plus inositol. The other group took a placebo. They also completed a quality of life questionnaire.
Those taking the supplement did not experience a drop in white blood cell count or blood platelets and had a much better quality of life.
The researchers wrote, “Even though our dosage was low, its efficacy to diminish the side effects of chemotherapy was significant.”
How does IP6 protect against cancer?
Normalizes the rate of cell division
When a carcinogen is given to research animals, all cells divide at a much faster rate. Yet only some of these go on to mutate and become cancerous.
However, IP6 is able to normalize cell division in healthy cells and slow or normalize cell division in cancer cells. This means IP6 must have a regulatory function. Cancer cells that by definition have lost their control mechanism are able to re-establish control. This is a remarkable effect.
Normalizes cell physiology
Cancer cells are able to express themselves in a more normal way. For instance, even with genetic changes, after exposure to IP6, colon cancer cells stopped producing a unique sugar not made by normal cells, and breast cancer cells were able to produce the protein lactalbumin.
Boosts natural killer (NK) cells
An important part of our immune defenses, NK cells help prevent the formation of cancer cells and eradicate them if they are already present. When the activity of NK cells is high, the incidence of cancer is lower.
When mice with tumors were treated with IP6, NK activity was greatly enhanced and tumor activity was suppressed. When IP6 was added to human NK cells in a petri dish, their ability to kill tumor cells increased.
Increases the activity of gene p53
This tumor-suppressor gene helps ensure proper DNA replication and helps prevent cancer cells from forming. IP6 has been shown to greatly increase p53 activity.
There is a strong link between levels of inflammation in the body and the risk and incidence of cancer. IP6 has been shown to reduce inflammation.
Fights free radicals
Damage to DNA by free radicals leaves cells vulnerable to mutation and diseases including cancer. IP6 has shown itself to be a potent antioxidant decreasing free radical formation by more than 2½ times in one experiment.
All healthy cells are programmed to die and be replaced by new cells. This natural die-off is called apoptosis. IP6 enhances this process in cancer cells which are otherwise immune to apoptosis and therefore engage in uncontrolled growth. IP6 has been demonstrated to induce apoptosis in multiple cancer cell lines including breast, prostate, liver, colon and skin.
Tumors have a high metabolic rate and require high levels of nutrition so they form networks of new blood vessels enabling them to grow, an activity called angiogenesis. IP6 has been shown to inhibit this process in many studies.
Koma Raina at the University of Colorado led a study on IP6 in mice with prostate cancer. He said, “The study’s results were really rather profound. We saw dramatically reduced tumor volumes primarily due to the anti-angiogenic effects of IP6.”
Adhesion, migration and invasion are key steps in the spread of cancer. IP6 was shown to act on all three aspects in human breast cancer cells.
Protocol for cancer protection and treatment
It’s highly unlikely the NCI will have a change of heart and fund human trials. However, there is substantial evidence gathered over 25 years to demonstrate a strong protective effect of IP6 against cancer formation and development.
While a phytate-rich diet of whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds will offer some protection, in food IP6 is bound to a protein. An enzyme breaks them apart so IP6 can be absorbed. However in the process IP6 can be damaged and rendered partly inactive.
Studies suggest it is more effective when taken as a supplement combined with inositol. Dr. Shamsuddin suggests taking 1-2 grams per day in divided doses between meals for preventative purposes. For those with a higher cancer risk this can be increased to 4 grams. For those with active cancer he suggests 5-8 grams.