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Phil Chave
Phil Chave
creator of Distant Healer

Avastin - Could it Really be the New Wonder Drug for Cancer?

(Note: Written when Avastin was first available)

Cancer arrives in the body unannounced. A dark stranger who takes up residence, turning its new home against itself. This is the evil of cancer. That it starts as the invader and soon becomes one with the invaded, forcing you to destroy it, but only at the risk of destroying yourself. It is sciences demon posession. And, chemotherapy is sciences attempt at exorcism. Cancer becomes something we recognise but can never really cast out, a journey that must be taken alone.
Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) - The X Files.

Until recently, anyone diagnosed with cancer would have had to regard it as a terminal disease, because the options available were few, knowledge of all but the most common cancers was difficult to decipher, and most patients felt themselves at the target end of a plethora of 'maybe this'll work' treatments. Well, all that is about to change!

Late February 2004, Genentech, founders of the biotechnology industry and a leading US biotechnology company, was given approval to market the first cancer drug that works by cutting off a malignant tumour's blood supply, denying it oxygen and nutrients.

  • Funny really, because I always figured this was how cancer started in the first place. Starving a healthy cell of its oxygen and nutrients, usually by flooding the body with toxins, such as tobacco smoke, the chemicals in food and food packaging, industrial and domestic pollutants, cause the cell to become starved of its normal supply of oxygen and nutrients; or toxins would pollute its high water content.

    The cells response to this is to mutate, in order to survive, and function in a different environment. Continuing to pollute the cell, forces it to fight for survival, relying on much less or very different gases and nutrients, which can only be incorporated into its lifecycle, by more and more mutation, until it becomes cancerous. The cells ability to change and adapt to this new environment is what eventually kills us. Maybe that's a simplistic view, or it may even be wrong, but I think it makes sense. Anyway, I digress. - Phil

  • The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Avastin (Bevacizumab), for broad use with standard chemotherapy as a first treatment for patients diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

    What is Colorectal cancer?
    Colorectal cancer begins in either the colon or the rectum. The colon and rectum form part of the body's digestive system. This is where nutrients and waste from food are separated and stored, the latter being passed out of the body at appropriate moments. The colon has four sections: the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon and the sigmoid colon. Cancer can start in any of the cells lining the inside of the colon and rectum. Colorectal cancers are regarded as adenocarcinomas, which are cancers originating in glandular epithelium (epithelium is membranous tissue covering internal organs and other internal surfaces of the body).

    What does Avastin do?
    Avastin is believed to be a crucial 'turning point' in the fight against cancer because it deals with cancer in a new way. Actually, it's only a new way because Genentach has been able to make it work. The basic idea of blocking the blood supply to tumours, was pioneered in the 1960's by a Harvard researcher, Dr Judah Folkman. The only thing wrong was, back then, no one could make it work in practice.
    It is the first drug proven to delay tumour growth, and Genentech is now looking to see how Avastin can be used in other forms of the disease, such as breast , pancreatic, renal and lung cancers. In many patients, live expectancy has been increased by up to a third.

    Colorectal cancer has always had an extremely high death rate, mainly because patients do not recognise the symptoms and doctors often fail to diagnose it early enough for there to be any hope of a cure by surgery.

    Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among men and women on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2004, an estimated 147,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the US and 30,000 more in the UK. Also in 2004, the US will suffer an estimated 57,000 deaths from colon and rectal cancers. The UK will report around 16,000. Colorectal cancers are rare in young people. They usually occur in men and women over the age of 50.

    How does Avastin work?
    When a tumour develops, it sends out a protein that tells the body to produce new blood vessels to supply the malignant cells with oxygen and nutrients, a process called Angiogenesis. Avastin blocks this protein. Without a proper blood supply, the tumour cannot grow. The ability to inhibit angiogenesis and turn off the blood supply to tumours could potentially lead to a new generation of highly targeted cancer therapies.

    Hopefully this research will lead to cures for breast cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma, prostate cancer and other devastating forms of cancer.

    What about side effects?
    Unlike chemotherapy, with its well known side effects in patients, Avastin is reporting few side effects. That is not to say there aren't ANY side effects. Though uncommon, where they present themselves, side effects are rapid, severe and serious if not caught early enough. Doctors must keep an eye out for 'perforations' - small holes being formed in the colon, which can result in internal bleeding and could require surgery. There is also a risk of infections, impaired wound healing, high blood pressure and bleeding from the lungs.

    What do you reckon all this is going to cost?
    This is where I and the drug companies fall out, I'm afraid. I know some of this research goes on for years and costs millions, maybe even billions of dollars or pounds. But, Return on Investment (ROI) used to be seen as recoverable over many years. Nowadays, it seems, these big companies want it all back inside 12 months or sooner. I know its a mercenary business but for humanities sake .................
    Avastin will cost about $4,400 a month (around 2,400) (This costing is probably well out of date now), with the average treatment time being about 10 months. See what I mean?

    The extra time that Avastin can give patients may seem relatively short, but it is a significant advance in treating the more aggressive and difficult to treat forms of cancer. Truely, this is a remarkable and ground breaking medical treatment that will bring much needed hope to cancer patients.

    Will Spiritual Healing help with this type of cancer?
    I have to say, that I am convinced that it will!! Healers cannot and should never, promise a cure. But, at the same time, none of us should limit the power of our own Healing Energy, once it's been triggered and given direction.

    There is little wrong with any of us that I have not found is helped in some way by Spiritual Healing. If you have trouble with the 'Spiritual' part, it's not meant to put you off. 'Spiritual' refers to our higher self, and is nothing to do with any particular religion. Just call it 'Healing', or Reiki, if you like, there is little difference.

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    DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

    The Haven Healing Centre is located at: The Orchard, Draycott Rd, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3RU