Green light for human tests of revolutionary cancer treatment

01-03-2001

The Ministry of Health has approved clinical trials of what is considered a possible breakthrough in cancer treatment. But while the general public has great expectations from tests, medical experts warn that many problems connected with the treatment are still unresolved and that its effects have yet to be proven. Olga Szantova has the story.

The method, called de-vitalization, is based on cutting off the blood supply to malignant tumors, causing them to die off, instead of the conventional practice of surgically removing them. Professor Pavel Klener, chairman of the Czech Cancer Society says that in principle this is not really a new treatment.

And it's precisely because the shriveled tumor remains in the body that experts are worried over the possible negative effects of the method, despite the fact that it has been used on animals in a research center in Northern Bohemia for years. The doctor in charge there repeatedly stressed that it could be successfully used in treating cancer in humans, that he actually had saved the lives of 20 patients by using it, albeit illegally. But Professor Klener says that there are no written case studies to back that claim. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health has now approved the clinical testing of the surgical de-vitalization method in four Czech hospitals.
The tests will be closely followed by medical experts and, of course, by the general public. But when does Profesor Klener think we'll know whether this really is a major break through in the treatment of cancer?

01-03-2001