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An extention of galvanopuncture has been developed by Dr. Björn Nordenström, using percutaneously applied platinum electrodes and direct electric current, to decrease the size of malignant and non-malignant tumors.  Dr. Nordenström's early five year survival rates for advanced stage breast cancer patients was approximately 60%.  The figure at the right is a simplified diagram of the source - electrode configuration for Dr. Nordenström's electrochemical therapy (EChT) technique.

Australian research on this technique has been designated as Electrolytic Ablation of Tumors (EAT), with research trials being conducted at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide.  The process is described as electrolysis: "creating local changes in the pH of the tissues surrounding the electrodes, and also by creating toxic products such as chlorine and hydrogen ions from chemical reactions in the vicinity of the electrodes."  This matches part of the EChT mechanism description in Björn Nordenström's 1983 BCEC text book, and the description of the so-called EAT procedure appears to match EChT exactly.  Nordenström is only referenced once in the September 2002 Procedure Brief of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.  Other than the Nordenström reference, EChT is not mentioned at all. (see: www.surgeons.org/asernip-s_net-s/procedures/Electrolytic%20Ablation%20of%20Tumours.pdf )

Electrode configuration and placement for EChT varies with respect to location, type of cancer and size of the tumor.  The X-ray radiograph (first photo, at the right) shows four of eight platinum electrodes inserted through the skin and into the tumor mass of a 58 year old Chinese lung cancer patient (courtesy of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China).  This particular tumor (adenocarcinoma, diagnosed using bronchoscopy) did not respond to chemotherapy.  The size of the tumor was 8.5 cm. by 9.0 cm.  The patient was not a candidate for surgical treatment because of hypertension and diabetes.  The tumor completely disappeared 10 months after the patient received his final EChT treatment.  After insertion of the electrodes, the output voltage was increased to the 4 V - 5 V range, and finally to the 7 V - 9 V range.  The electric current increased with voltage, usually from 40 mA to 60 mA (10 mA to 15 mA per electrode pair), and finally from 80 mA to 100 mA (20 mA to 25 mA per electrode pair).  EChT therapeutic efficacy was better for the lower current levels, with 20 mA (5 mA per electrode pair) being the lower threshold for therapeutic effectiveness.  

The second photo, at the right, is a CT scan for a large (8.5 cm. by 9.0 cm.) primary liver cancer (the tumor is located on left side of the photo) showing two of the eight platinum electrodes inserted into the affected region of a 73 year old Chinese liver cancer patient (courtesy of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China).  Initial treatment with invasive tube chemotherapy was not successful, and alpha fetoprotein (AFP) levels increased significantly.  After EChT treatment, the tumor size decreased and the patient's AFP levels decreased to 80 ng/ml.  Also, after treatment, the necrotic tissue reabsorbed within 4 to 5 months, and the tumor completely disappeared in 9 months.  A voltage of aproximately 8 V was applied, with currents of 100 mA to 120 mA (25 mA to 30 mA per electrode pair).

The Journal of the IABC (Vol. 1, January-December, 2002) provides an overview of the results and therapeutic efficacy for EChT, alone, or in combination with other cancer therapies.  In his paper, "Clinical Effectiveness Report for Approximately 11,000 cancer Patients With Various Kinds of Tumors Treated With Electrochemical Therapy (EChT), Dr. Xin, Yu Ling has reported some impressive results.  Most of the patients treated had one of the following forms of cancer: esophageal cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer, cancer of the head and face and metastatic lymph node cancer. In one part of the study involving a population of 7642 cases of malignant tumors, less than 10% of the Chinese cancer patients were stage I, approximately 34% were stage II and approximately 57% were in the stage III and IV categories.  Almost 70% of the tumors treated were larger than 5 cm. 

The five year survival rate for EChT treated cancer patients has been approximately 69% for the combined stage I and stage II categories.  If the large numbers of stage III Chinese cancer patients, with very large diameter tumors are included, the five year survival rate is 53%.  Complementing EChT with various combinations of herbal therapy, low-dose chemotherapy and low-dose radiation therapy can provide 9% to 14% increases in clinical effectiveness and five year survival rates.

The National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Cancer Statistics Review indicates that the five year survival rate for all cancer patients treated in the U.S. is approximately 62%.  However, the U.S. statistics appear to be heavily weighted by a large percentage of state I and stage II cancer patients, and they also appear to be influenced by a large percentage of cancer patients with tumor sizes significantly less than 5 cm.

For U.S. lung and bronchus cancer patients, the NCI SEER Statistics Review reports a five year survival rate of 14.5%, with a 21.9% five year survival rate for patients under the age of 45 and 12.6% five year survival rate for patients 65 and older.  The five year survival rate for lung cancer patients treated with EChT alone was 28.4%.  The much higher five year survival rates for EChT treated lung cancer patients can be increased even further (apparently, up to an increase of 14%) if herbal therapy, low-dose chemotherapy or low-dose radiation therapy are administered along with EChT.

Australian EChT (or EAT) treatment results, for non-operable liver cancer patients, indicate that 6 of the original 9 patients treated were still alive 3 1/2 years after their initial electrotherapeutic treatment.  Seven of the nine patients showed complete ablation of their liver tumor, with no recurrence in the treated area.  Five year survival rates for liver cancer patients treated in China are approximately 15%, whereas the five year survival rate for liver cancer patients treated with conventional therapies in the U.S. is approximately 5%.  It appears that, in treating liver cancer patients with EChT, the results achieve in Australia will also be superior to those achieved with conventional liver cancer therapies in the U.S.

Between 1998 and 2003, a number of papers have appeared in Chinese medical journals describing the introduction of direct electrical current into various tumors, using percutaneously applied platinum electrodes; as Electro-Acupuncture Therapy (another EAT designation).  No mention of EChT or Nordenström's contributions are made in the abstracts of these papers.  An examination of the abstracts from these journals indicates that the techniques and protocols described in the treatment of malignant tumors and hemangiomas are identical to EChT techniques and protocols.  Referring to this as "Electro-Acupuncture Therapy" appears to be misleading and inappropriate.  Cancer and hemangioma tumors do not conveniently locate themselves on acupuncture points and meridians.  Even if the attending physician is incorporating a "needling" protocol during treatment, Electro-Acupuncture Therapy (EAT) would not be the proper term to use to adequately describe the primary mechanisms of treatment and healing that are associated with this process.

With respect to clinical efficacy, the statistics on five year survival rates for cancer patients treated with EChT look very promising when compared with other therapeutic techniques.  In the U.S., approximately 540,000 deaths per year are caused by cancer.  The up-front costs associated with this disease are in excess of $200 B annually (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 120th Ed., U.S. Department of Commerce, 2000).  If we utilize economic acceleration and amplification factors, the federal government's "value of a human life in the work force" (Forbes, Vol. 158, 1996) and the value of older working and retired citizens; cancer deaths represent a productive effort/spending loss for the U.S. economy of approximately $150 B to $200 B annually.  Along with the loss of loved ones, pain and emotional trauma; cancer imposes enormous economic costs and losses every year.  The previous clinical results indicate that, for the treatment of localized tumors, EChT can help to mitigate those costs and losses.

In their May 29, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine article, "Cancer Undefeated," Dr. John C. Bailar III and Heather L. Gornik state, "Despite decades of basic and clinical research and trials of promising new therapies, cancer remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality.  Observed changes in mortality due to cancer primarily reflect changing incidence of early detection.  The effect of new treatments for cancer on mortality has been largely disappointing."  A July 27, 2003 Associated Press article, "Cancer Cure Seems as Distant as Ever," indicates that the effects of new treatments for cancer are still disappointing.  In that article, Dr. John Glaspy, medical director of UCLA's Surgical Oncology Center states, "Right now, in the short run, we can bring an occasional miracle and have an overall small benefit, but there has not been a major improvement in what happens to them (cancer patients) ultimately."  Comments like these from people who are actively engaged in oncology demonstrate that the standard allopathic medical approach toward cancer treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.) has proven to be woefully inadequate.  Obviously, a very different therapeutic technique (and attitude) is required in order to enhance cancer patient survivability and quality of life.  For more than 20 years, the use of EChT in the treatment of cancer has proven that electrotherapy can provide a major improvement in what ultimately happens to cancer patients. 

Costs for EChT treatment vary, but patients returning from China and Germany have reported EChT treatment costs in the range of $6,000 to $7,500 (U.S.).  Treatment durations varied from one to two weeks, with some patients requiring a repeat visit. Comparing costs and benefits with chemotherapy, EChT appears to be a bargain.  Information from Medscape and various medical journals indicate that the basic costs for a week of chemotherapy can be more than $27,000 per week, involving average treatment durations of 7 to 12 days, with several repeat visits.

EChT in combination with low-dose conventional cancer therapies appears to provide a far superior combination of results from the standpoints of: 1) clinical effectiveness and five year survival rate, 2) cost, 3) quality of life for the patient, 4) reduced stress on the health care practitioners who are administering treatment, 5) ability to administer repeat treatments (no noticeable resistance for multiple EChT treatments), 6) side effects and 7) compatibility with other cancer therapies and 8) a very high benefit/cost ratio for the patient, the patient's insurance carrier and the treatment facility.

From: B.E.W. Nordenström, Biologically Closed Electric Circuits, Nordic Medical Publications, Stockholm (1983); J. C. Bailar and H. L. Gornik, New England Journal of  Medicine, Vol. 336, May 29, 1997; G.Z. Liu, Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Biologically Closed Electric Circuits, October 26-29, 1997; G.D. O'Clock, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 12, Third Quarter, 1997; Y.L. Xin, et.al., Journal of the IABC, Vol. 1, January-December, 2002; P.J. Rosch and M.S. Markov (eds), Bioelectromagnetic Medicine, Marcel Dekker, New York, NY (2004); G.D. O'Clock, Electrotherapeutic Devices: Principles, Design and Applications, Artech House, Boston, MA (2007).