A Historical and Theoretical Perspective of (IPT)

Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT) is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Low Dose Chemotherapy. It is a controversial cancer treatment procedure originally practiced by Dr. Donato Perez Garcia and has been continued by his son, Dr. D. Perez Garcia Bellon. However, IPT must be distinguished from those procedures that employ lower doses of chemotherapy on a daily basis and do not use insulin as part of the treatment. There is disagreement whether low dose chemotherapy is overall more effective than high dose chemotherapy, but the use of insulin with low dose chemotherapy is considered to be more effective.

Low Dose Chemotherapy

The primary thrust of low dose chemotherapy is to reduce the incidence and severity of the harsh side effects of chemotherapy. Critics worry that the long term effect may lead to an early resistance of the cancer to the chemotherapy agent. Resistance usually always occurs in conventional high dose chemotherapy, so the argument is really which treatment will kill proportionally more cancer cells and how much more time will the patient gain before the drug becomes ineffective. Can the low dose approach result in a remission of the cancer and how long will it last? A critical question should also be what is the patient’s quality of life during the time gained by both of these approaches?

Research on the low dose regimen is in progress and has sufficient financial backing to provide some answers to these questions. The use of this treatment regimen in early stage cancer patients will determine the true effectiveness of this approach.

Insulin Potentiation Therapy

IPT has been around since the 1930s.  Its use has been criticized because (1) it does not have a mechanism of action acceptable to current scientific dogma, (2) it does not have comparative clinical studies to support its claims, and (3) it was not invented in the US. Let us address these three criticisms.

1. The original theory in simplified form is as follows:

“Cancer cells have high metabolic rates because they are growing, and cancer cells can only use glucose as an energy source. Thus, cancer cells have more insulin receptors on the cell surface and will have a more intense reaction to insulin than normal cells.  Therefore, if the patient is given insulin, the blood glucose level will go down and the cancer cells will momentarily be starved for glucose. If both glucose and a chemotherapy drug are given while the cells are starved for glucose the cancer cell membranes will open for glucose and more of the chemotherapeutic agent will also enter the cell. Under these conditions a lower dose of chemotherapy will be as effective as a high dose.”

This mechanism does not fit with current knowledge, so if the explanation does not work, why consider IPT?  Because IPT works. Therefore, we need a new interpretation to satisfy those who are more interested in theory than in actual results. There is a simple explanation which does fit with much what we know about chemotherapy. Chemotherapy only kills active cells, the more active the cell the more toxic the drug. The most rapidly growing normal systems in the body are also the most sensitive - blood, digestive and immune. All cells are activated by insulin, at least for a short time. Since cancer cells have more insulin receptors, they are more strongly affected and thus the chemotherapy drug is much more toxic than it would be to normal cells.

2. There are no comparative studies between IPT and the same chemotherapy drug alone (high dose). The cost of the study would be excessive and no agency will foot the bill. Pharmaceutical companies are not interested. The medical establishment is only interested in FDA approved drugs given exactly as the FDA approved label states. Some medical schools are studying IPT. This may create more interest when they are completed, but these studies will take several years. In the meantime patients have no government, FDA or AMA guidelines to follow.

3. There is a bias in favor of US medical discoveries, and those from certain European countries. Mexico is down on the list of “acceptable” countries for medical discoveries. Had IPT come from Canada it would be established today. Japan has provided critical development with cancer vaccines and important discoveries in cancer immunology have come from Italy.    

The Immune Recovery Centers have extensively reviewed the information on low dose chemotherapy and insulin. We believe that IPT, as it is currently used, is an effective alternative to high dose chemotherapy. We agree that data supporting IPT is not available, namely the kind of data the scientific community desires. However, there are also no data to reject IPT outright. We have examined the current procedures of Dr. Donato Perez Garcia Bellon and find they have the potential to become an accepted treatment option. We also believe that incorporating IPT and immune therapy in a protocol individualized for each patient has much promise.

The Immune Recovery Centers of America are interested in the low dose chemotherapy approach, because it offers less immune damage than the high dose treatment.  It also allows a simultaneous treatment with chemotherapy and immune therapy. Theoretically, low dose chemotherapy combined with immune therapy makes sense. IPT combines the low dose approach with the additional activity of insulin.

IPT should be most effective if given in the initial treatment of cancer, and not after all other options have been tried. Today’s standard regulatory approach is to try new therapies last, after other treatment options have failed.  At that time, unfortunately, the most effective chemotherapeutic agents to fight a particular cancer will have failed, and, therefore, there would be no reason to believe that IPT would now render these agents active once more. Thus, any such study of IPT under present guidelines would be biased against IPT. This is also true for immune therapy, where the guidelines dictate that immune therapy is tried last, after chemotherapy and radiation have totally destroyed the immune system. Any study conducted of either approach under the conventional guidelines is guaranteed to fail.

Many patients will opt for IPT after having exhausted all conventional options, although they might not be the ideal candidates for this treatment procedure. However, there is evidence that immune therapy can sensitize some cancers to chemotherapy. There are studies which indicate that some natural products act in concert with some chemotherapy drugs (resveratrol and etoposide). Therefore, these treatment combinations may aid even those patients, who did not initially respond to chemotherapy.

We strongly believe that any procedure for chemotherapy which avoids immune damage should be utilized. A concerted attack on cancer cells from several approaches offers more promise of success. We feel that the potential of immune therapy as a first stage treatment of cancer is essentially being ignored by the medical community. The combination of immune therapy and IPT deserves careful consideration.