July 28, 2003, Updated September 12, 2012

An Israeli research team has found that the combination of electrical stimulation and chemotherapy makes cancerous metastases disappear. Reuters reported the story which appeared in numerous papers across the U.S.

Electrical shock may help destroy tumor, study finds

August 1, 2003

Jolting tumors with a low dose of electricity may make them more susceptible to chemotherapy, Israeli researchers said Friday. They said they had cured up to 80 percent of laboratory mice of cancer using their low-voltage field, depending on the type of cancer. They hope to begin human tests later this year.

“Judging by what we’ve seen so far, virtually no type of cancer is able to withstand the initial treatment,” Yona Keisari of Tel Aviv University said in a statement.

Cancer researchers are quick to warn that it is often much easier to “cure” a laboratory mouse of cancer than it is to treat people.

Lab rodents used in cancer research are specially bred to be susceptible to cancer and are artificially infected with tumors, while human cancers develop slowly and for various reasons.

But Keisari believes his team’s findings, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, are especially significant.

“In order to mimic the clinical situation we start our treatment only after there are established metastases in the lungs and liver of the animals, as is the situation in advanced stages of human cancer,” he said.

A metastasis is a cancerous cell that had spread from the initial tumor to somewhere else in the body.

“What we discovered is a very efficient method to destroy the primary tumor in situ by using a combination of electrostimulation and conventional chemotherapy.”

He said the electrical charge stimulates the body’s immune response. “This response eradicates distant metastases primarily in the lung and the liver,” he said.

“If one will search carefully the scientific literature, one will find that it is very difficult to cure even mice with established lung metastases.”

Keisari’s team tested mice with a variety of tumors that had spread, including breast, colon, prostate and melanoma.

They gave the mice standard chemotherapy agents such as cisplatin, taxol or 5-fluorouracil, then applied a low voltage current.

He said his team was seeking approval for clinical trials in human cancer patients in October or November.

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