In a recent news piece on ABCnews.com, it was reported that “…..Many of our body’s internal processes are cyclical. There are daily patterns, like waking and sleeping, monthly patterns, like a woman’s menstrual cycle, and even seasonal patterns, like those that cause seasonal-affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months. But doctors are only recently beginning to understand these rhythms’ impact on other conditions well enough to more effectively treat their patients. The idea that medical treatments can be improved based on when they are given to a patient is called chronotherapy. And by making use of this good timing, doctors are finding that they are more effectively treating a wide-range of diseases such as asthma, arthritis and cancer, all while reducing side effects.”
According to Dr. Michael Smolensky, co-author of the book The Body Clock Guide to Better Health, “When cancer medications are given in a chronobiological manner, patients may be able to tolerate higher, more potent doses than would be possible otherwise.”
Keith Block, MD, one of the nation’s leading cancer specialists has been using chronotherapy with his patients since 1999. “This method of administering chemotherapy is revolutionary and has demonstrated in large randomized trials its potential to improve survival,” states Dr. Block, Dr. Block, who is also Medical/Scientific Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care and Optimal Health in Evanston, Illinois. “Current research indicates that Cis-Platin is best given between 4 and 6 pm, as opposed to the evening, as advised in the ABC News piece.. Adriamycin should peak at 4 am, with a 4 to 6 am infusion window. We have found that often patients receiving chronotherapy reduce what would have been recurring side effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. This is important because the debilitation caused by chemo can cause patients to reduce or even stop treatments that could otherwise help them win their battle with cancer.”
Randy Lopez was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer at 35. Fighting for his life, he underwent chemotherapy that left him weak and debilitated. In less than a year, he received more devastating news – the cancer had metastasized to his liver. The prognosis was grim. In fact, Lopez and his doctors believed he was running out of time. After working with Dr. Block and undergoing chronotherapy, Lopez, now 42, is cancer free. He will attend the September 30th national meeting of the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) in New York where Dr. Block will address the CCA and explain how even though time was not on Randy’s side, timing was literally the key to his successful recovery.
One of the main problems with this type of treatment has been logistics – figuring out how to deliver chemotherapy in exactly timed doses. Dr. Block has brought technology to the U.S. that administers chemotherapy via a pump designed to precisely time up to four channels of infusion simultaneously to the individual needs of a patient. Highly portable and small enough to fit in a fanny pack, patients are able to maintain full mobility, play sports, and enjoy a full night’s sleep – while receiving their specifically timed cancer therapy.
Keith I. Block, MD is co-founder and Medical/Scientific Director of Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care and Optimal Health in Evanston, Illinois (www.blockmd.com). Block uses research-based treatment methodologies that combine the best of western medicine with complementary treatments in nutritional pharmacology, psychotherapy, meditation, exercise, yoga, etc. Block is editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal, Integrative Cancer Therapies, published by SAGE Science Press and indexed in MEDLINE and Index Medicus. He serves as Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, and as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pharmacognosy (the branch of pharmacology that deals with drugs in their natural state and with medicinal herbs and other plants) in the College of Pharmacy at UIC. In addition, Dr. Block is involved in collaborative research with university facilities in the United States and Israel.