What is Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT) for Cancer Treatment?

High dosage chemotherapy and radiation therapy is the standard ‘best practice’ for treating many of the most aggressive forms of cancer, but many patients want to know what the alternative cancer treatment options are. Of the many alternative, complementary, and integrative cancer treatment options available IPT therapy is the one most talked about lately.

What is Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT)

Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT) is an experimental treatment for chemotherapy symptoms and the negative side effects of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.  IPT itself is not a direct treatment for cancer nor the symptoms of cancer, and is not considered as a therapy under standard medical care.

However, it is hypothesized that Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT) can offer a more targeted chemotherapy approach, using lower levels of chemotherapy, and reduce negative symptoms and side effects from the chemo itself.

How Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT) Works (In Theory)

IPT is based on the idea that administering insulin along with low doses of chemotherapy drugs leads to more targeted and focused absorption of the drugs in to cancerous cells within the body. This idea is based on the theory that cancerous cells are more ‘sugar-hungry’ than non-cancerous cells.

If the cancerous cells are more insulin-sensitive (and more likely to soak up sugar/glucose after insulin-induced blood sugar drop) than healthy cells, and glucose is introduced – saturated with chemotherapy drugs – then the cancer cells are more likely to soak up chemo drugs. It is theorized that using this form of therapy can reduce dosages to one-tenth of the normal dosage and still deliver the cytotoxic (cell-killing) effects.

The History of Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT): Dr. Donato Pérez García

IPT Therapy was pioneered by Dr. Donato Pérez García Sr. in the 1932 in Mexico City. The doctor utilized this therapy in Mexico for years, as did his son and grandson – Dr. Donato Pérez García Bellon and Dr. Donato Pérez García Jr. MD., respectively.

Stephen B. Ayre, M.D., a doctor in Illinois who felt that chemotherapy dosages could be cut by 75%-90% to improve quality of life in cancer patients undergoing treatment, was a big proponent of Dr. Pérez García’s work in Mexico and carried utilized practices based on his theories. In 1986 Ayre gave this form of low dose chemotherapy treatment using insulin its name: Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT).

“In those undergoing treatment with IPT, an overall gentler experience promotes their concurrent use of other important elements in a program of comprehensive cancer care, which includes nutrition for immune system support and mind-body medicine to encourage a healing consciousness.”
– Stephen B. Ayre, M.D.

Warnings and Precautions on Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT)

Even though there is a long list of doctors and clinics in the United States that use IPT therapy, Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT) is still considered experimental, controversial, and falls outside of the standard medical care that “Western Medicine” recommends for the treatment of cancer.

Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT) is Elective, and Not for Everybody

IPT therapy for cancer treatment is not the best option for all patients, just as high dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy is not the best option for all patients. However, many cancer patients feel that alternative cancer treatments such as IPT are right for them.

It should be noted that patients who select to utilize IPT therapy do-so at their own risk.

What are the Risks of Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT)

So, what are the risks of IPT? What is the risk of a patient choosing low dosage chemotherapy, IPT therapy, alternative and complementary treatments over standard best practices for treating cancer under standard medical care?

Risk of Not Using a Treatment Plan that is Aggressive Enough

The biggest risk of IPT from the view of a physician who subscribes to the standard medical care practices is the risk of allowing the cancer to progress due to the chemotherapy dosage not being aggressive enough.

This is also a fear than some patients can have when weighing the options for cancer treatment – do you opt for the more aggressive form of treatment and suffer the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy (fatigue, hair loss, anemia, loss of appetite, damage and death of health cells), or opt for a therapy that minimizes those side effects but could possibly miss the window of opportunity for treatment and remission?

Lack of Clinical Evidence for IPT

This is the more controversial of the risks of using IPT for cancer treatment. Opponents of IPT cite the lack of scientific evidence and studies to support the claims that Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy IPT is an effective form of cancer treatment.

Proponents of IPT, however, argue that evidence of IPT’s potential simply is not being recognized by the medical community. Further, some proponents claim that “mainstream medical circles” actively suppress information and evidence of this therapy’s potential.

Either way, an individual has the right to choose how their cancer will be treated, and IPT is an option for those that don’t believe that high dosage chemotherapy is for them, or want a more ‘comfortable’ form of treatment – without the negative side effects that high dosage chemotherapy brings.

Risk of Hypoglycemia

One of the more immediate risks associated with Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT) is hypoglycemia. Insulin is a chemical that is naturally-occurring in the body, and it used to break down blood sugar and keep sugar levels in the body balanced.

Introducing additional insulin can cause the blood sugar level to drop to a dangerously low level, and that is a concern that many physicians have with IPT. Low blood sugar can lead to shock, coma, strokes and seizures.

‘Cancer Dormancy’ Risk

The goal of all cancer treatments – regardless of whether they are alternative, complementary, or standard care treatments – is remission. Remission is simply a state where the initial cancerous tumor has been destroyed and malignant spread of cancerous cells can be detected.

The fear that many “Western Medicine” physicians have about IPT and cancer dormancy is that the low level chemotherapy treatments will allow the cancer to become “dormant,” and come back more aggressive later. While this is a definite risk, this risk exists with all forms of cancer treatment, including high dose chemotherapy treatments. The risk that cancer will come back after a period of remission is always possible, with IPT or with any other form of modern cancer treatment. 

Reduced Effectiveness of Late State Cancer Treatments

Many opponents to IPT also worry that if the initial IPT therapy fails to completely rid the body of cancerous cells, and if cancer comes back after a period of remission, that the cancer will be more aggressive and more resistant to chemotherapy in later treatments. Once again, this is a risk involved with all forms of cancer treatment, including high dosage chemotherapy.

Cancer can come back after a period of remission, and secondary or tertiary rounds of chemotherapy treatment may not be as effective as the first round of treatment. In fact, that is why ‘Western Medicine’ usually opts for high dose chemotherapy treatments in the beginning – as a way to be more aggressive and to try and kill the cancer in ‘one shot.’

Discussing Your Options for Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy (IPT) with an M.D. Doctor: The Bottom Line

Alternative cancer treatments and integrative medicine practices for cancer treatment are controversial topics in the United States today. All forms of treatment have benefits and drawbacks, and when you are dealing with a potentially life-threatening or terminal disease – as advanced cancer usually is – risks and benefits get skewed.

What one healthy person considers a risk, may not be so risky from the perspective of a person who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, or told they have six months to live. Further, a patient who has accepted their diagnosis may be more concerned with their quality of life or the quality of the time they have left, rather than putting up an aggressive and tiring fight against cancer.

This does not mean they have given up, or aren’t ready to fight for their life; it means that an individual has the right to choose what form of cancer treatment they want to utilize.

It is important to speak to your doctor about the available forms of treating cancer, and what your expectations for your quality of life are, during treatment. IPT and alternative treatments for cancer have their risks, their benefits and their controversies, but may be the option you want to utilize in the fight for your life.