HELPING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
|stage II||7 patients||100 percent alive with no evidence of disease (N.E.D.)|
|stage III||6 patients||100 percent alive, 3 with N.E.D., 3 with cancer but fully functional|
|stage IV||6 patients||100 percent alive; 4 with N.E.D., 2 with cancer but fully functional|
In addition, 7 more patients have lived three to four-and-a-half years after diagnosis, and are all well. After ten years, the survival figures of women receiving conventional treatment drop by another half. Springer's group does remarkably better79 percent (11/14) have survived 10 years. Ten-year results are:
Ten Year Survival of Springer's Patients
|stage II||5 patients||100 percent alive|
|stage III||5 patients||60 percnet alive|
|stage IV||4 patients||75 percent alive|
Springer's T/Tn antigen treatment is based on classical immunology. Its rationale is spelled out in his scientific papers (e.g., Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1993;690:355-357; Cancer Biotherapy, 1994;9:7-15). Antigens are substances that elicit an immune response. T/Tn antigens are protein-and sugar substances that occur in all healthy non-cancerous cells, but are found there only in a masked condition. The T/Tn antigen pops to the surface of cells as soon as they become malignant. Springer's method is an active, specific vaccination, which stimulates the immune system to fight carcinoma. For human treatment, T/Tn antigens are prepared by first chemically degrading normal healthy human O-group red blood cells, and then injecting small amounts of this harmless substance under the skin of the cancer patient. These injections are pre-treated to make them free of viruses (such as HIV), bacteria, or fever causing substances. Springer also adds two adjuvants (helpers) to the vaccine.
One of these is calcium phosphate, to which the T and Tn antigens stick (adsorb); the other is the standard Salmonella typhi vaccine, which is used to aid recognition of the antigens. Salmonella typhi itself contains T and Tn antigens, and stimulates the immune system.
"All human cancers differ from their parental healthy cells in the fine architecture of their cell surfaces," says Springer. This is a result of the cancer cell's incomplete assembly of normal cell membrane structures. The body's defense system naturally wants to fight against these incomplete abnormal structures the way it would invading viruses and microbes, because it recognizes them as something foreign. But it needs help, which the T/Tn antigen injections provide.
Springer's treatment basically augments the fighting power of the body by presenting it with fresh doses of a cancer-like antigen derived from normal cells. Patients entering the program must have at least a Stage IIB breast cancer, and must enter no sooner than two weeks after surgery for cancer, but no later than three years after discovery of the primary tumor.
If they are also receiving chemotherapy, they will have to wait three to four weeks after drug treatment. If they are receiving radiotherapy, they must wait one to three months after completing radiation.
Initially, patients receive T/Tn antigen treatments at six week intervals. This interval is then extended but must be continued ad infinitum.
"We have never seen any undue or general reactions to T/Tn antigen injections," says Springer, "but should one occur, treatment will be suspended."
Springer's innoculations cost about $1,500 per yearabout one-hundredth the price of bone marrow transplantation. About one-third of insurance companies will reimburse for the treatment. Patients are encouraged to make a donation to support the work of the laboratory, but all indigent patients are treated at no charge.
"Our main goal," Springer told us, "is to prevent the growth of very early cancers and eliminate them. We have some promising preliminary results in that regard."
Springer has also devised a test for cancer that picks up signs of the body's defense activity from the beginning of the smallest carcinomas, throughout the life of the tumor. For example, it can detect breast cancer up to six years earlier than mammography can, and without exposure to potentially harmful x-rays.
If one injects a small amount of T/Tn antigen into the skin of people without cancer, there is no reaction. However, if the same dose is injected into people who do have cancer, even in the earliest undetected stages, they get what is called a "delayed hypersensitivity" reaction. The immune system reacts against the cancer-like markers found in the T/Tn antigen shot.
The main result is a hardening of the injection area, as well as redness, and a slight swelling, up to two days following the injection. About 8090 percent of the patients with carcinomas can be specifically detected using this harmless and inexpensive test, says Springer, and so far there have been no false positive results (i.e., instances in which the test says you have cancer but you do not). This has been successfully tried in over 1,200 people.