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Induced Remission Therapy (IRT)

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

IRT's chief promoter, Sam Chachoua, claims that cancer is a manifestation of the body's protective response to infectious organisms. He also claims to have developed vaccines and other technologies with a "preliminary test efficacy (greater than 99%) against cancer and AIDS." One Web site promoting IRT states:

His vaccines include tagging agents capable of attaching themselves to the cancer cells and making them immunologically tempting targets as well as a battery of specific, non-toxic therapies. The shrinkage of large cancer lesions within days and the disappearance of symptoms can be expected and delivered. [1]

Another Web site states that IRT "seeks to correct disease at the genetic blueprint level" and can bring about:

The regeneration of new heart tissue, new cardiac valves, brain tissue in Alzheimer's; the clinical improvement and new growth of healthy tissue in systems thought aged, damaged and unsalvageable, placed this therapy in an unparalleled bracket. Reversal of emphysema, cardiac disease, MS, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, AIDS, ALS, diabetes, asthma, organ failure, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, gulf war syndrome, Parkinson's disease, inflammatory and degenerative diseases (with impact even on genetic diseases). [2]

The site also states:

At its biological horizon, Induced Remission Therapy is represented by vaccines and sera that both target the cause of disease and correct cell damage at its genetic level. Cancers are allowed to then activate differentiation cycles or fulfill a programmed cell death. This allows for removal of diseased tissue and return to normal structure without trauma or toxicity. . . .

Induced Remission Therapy also optimizes the body's disease fighting capacity by optimizing immune function, repairing immune and regenerative capacity and by use of super antigens allowing invisible diseases to become highly visible and vulnerable to the patients immune armada. Super antigen tagging is the medical duplication of an infrequent natural event where disease that is hidden from the immune system acquires protein markers of a microbe that allow it to be seen and destroyed. IRT does this at the level of gene expression. It seeks to render an illness susceptible to the patient's immune and repair capacity.

The two sites included pairs of x-ray pictures claimed to show how cancer masses disappeared after IRT was administered to about a dozen cancer patients. However, most of the pictures are too indistinct to be certain what they mean. In some, even if all tumor cells in the depicted problem areas had been instantly killed by the treatment, there is no known biological mechanism whereby the resultant dead tissue could have been disposed of within the time periods indicated between the "before" and "after" pictures. In some cases, differences in lightness or darkness of the pictures could reflect differences in the way the films were taken. In one case (alleged to be a cancer of the liver), differences in the shape of the patient's body and spinal bones suggest that the films are from two different people. Neither Web site provides details about how Chachoua's treatment is done, the specific lengths of patient survival, or the extent to which patients had conventional therapy.

Chachoua portrays himself as a conspiracy victim whose work has been undeservedly ignored and/or suppressed by the medical profession [3]. However, his theories run counter to current understanding of cancer biology and immunology. Despite extensive investigation, only a few instances have been found in which human cancers are associated with infectious agents. No convincing evidence is available to show that Chachoua's treatments could work as claimed. On April 4, 1999, I searched MEDLINE, AIDSLINE and CANCERLIT databases for "Chachoua S" and found no record of any scientific publication under that name.

References

  1. Researcher finds new method to treat AIDS, cancer and heart disease. United Technologies, Int. Accessed April 4, 1999.
  2. Dr. Sam Chachoua. Accessed April 4, 1999.
  3. Induced Remission Therapy: Our best hope against cancer? Nexus New Times Magazine. Part 1, Dec 1997. Part 2, June 1998. Accessed April 4, 1999.

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