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Using charcoal and insulin to treat liver cancer
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[This idea has two sections: use charcoal to stablise liver failure in liver cancer patients, then use insulin potentiation therapy to treat the cancer. The details of the idea are in the link provided below]

Once liver cancer gets to the stage of causing liver failure, bilirubin and other toxic waste products normally filtered by the liver start accumulating in the blood. If not removed, these can be harmful.

While liver dialysis is possibly the best option to remove these toxins, this option is not provided to several patients - for example, those seen as 'terminally ill' in state-run institutions, or where insurance does not cover it.

One option is treating liver failure with oral activated charcoal ingestion. For example, see research letter: "Liver Failure in Protoporphyria: Long-Term Treatment With Oral Charcoal" in link. That patient about received 40 gm of activated charcoal per day.

With the impact of liver failure mitigated, Insulin Potentiation Therapy could be used to treat liver cancer. A forum thread in the link describes a case of successful treatment of inoperable Cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the bile ducts in the liver) with Insulin Potentiation Therapy. The protocol for IPT is described in several patents and websites (see link)

sonam, May 29 2011

Using charcoal and insulin to treat liver cancer https://docs.google...27IujI8nuo&hl=en_US
Using activated charcoal to mitigate the effect of liver failure, allowing for treatment of liver cancer with insulin potentiation therapy [sonam, May 29 2011]

[sonam]'s link as a link http://www.jpeds.co...64)80548-5/abstract
no charge for this service [po, May 31 2011]


       1) You can insert links by clicking the [link] link, which you'll find just below the text of your idea.   

       2) In the paper you cite, is charcoal a treatment for liver failure, or is it a treatment for *porphyria* (one particular cause of liver failure)? Looks like the latter, to me. Stipulate, arguendo, that liver failure causes symptoms primarily through the accumulation of toxins in the blood. This is a large, and incompletely characterized collection of chemicals, not all of which will be effectively removed from the body by activated charcoal in the lumen of the gut. Porphyrins: yes, other molecules: probably not.   

       3) Nonetheless this idea is better than nothing, e.g. for hoi polloi in state-run health institutions. The usual technique is to induce diarrhea, with an osmotic laxative, traditionally lactulose.
mouseposture, May 29 2011

       The liver is a giver. Meaning that it makes important stuff. Charcoal is not one of these things and so feeding people charcoal does not address that aspect of liver failure.   

       Charcoal does not bind bilirubin or other blood breakdown products as those things are in the blood and the charcoal is in the gut.   

       Charcoal does not help against hepatic encepalopathy because presumably whatever lack or excess causes it, it is in the blood.   

       Insulin potentiated chemotherapy is an interesting idea but has not been developed because of the lack of money to be made, and consequent lack of sponsors interested in funding the clinical trials necessary to show it if brings any improvement to standard chemo. Generally IPT is the province of laetrille merchants and other snake oil salesman who do not stand to profit from rigorous clinical trials of their approaches.   

       Link did not work for me.
bungston, May 31 2011

       Everyone - lets keep our language simple. This is halfbakery after all :).   

       Orally ingested charcoal _is_ effective reducing blood bilirubin in newborns. See (remove spaces from URL): http://www.jpeds.com/ article/S0022-3476(64)80548-5/ abstract   

       IPT has been beneficial in the real world cases and lab studies have shown that it increases chemo's effectiveness by upto 10000 times. However, it has not attracted much research. Perhaps this is because there isn't much profit to be made from insulin and also because it requires careful medical supervision during administration to bring the patient safely in and out of the hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) state.
sonam, May 31 2011

       Though you obviously have good intentions, you should change the title a bit, as the first impression is that this idea is in bad taste.
bob, Jun 01 2011


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