Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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Dog Cancer and the Malaria Drug Artemisinin

There is a bit of excitement about Artemisinin in osteosarcoma (the most common bone cancer) care for dogs these days, so I thought I should give you some thoughts.

Artemisinin is used for malaria infections. It is derived from the sweet wormwood, which has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for fever. Presumably things causing fevers (like malaria) would be killed by this herb.

Recently there is interest in artemisinin and related compounds for potential cancer care in dogs. This was started, I believe, in the late nineties due to some personal anecdotes and some science being done in Seattle by Drs Lai and Singh, at University of Washington. Discussion boards on Yahoo and the like spread the word.

It is likely that some of the initial anecdotes were from dog lovers owning dogs with osteosarcoma. This caused a stir in the osteosarcoma community, but the publications so far do not limit artemisinin’s effect to bone cancer cells. Other cancer cells have been evaluated, with some support. However, much of the evidence is from in vitro (test tube) studies, but there are some limited in vivo (in living bodies) data. More on this later.

The way this stuff is suspected to work is by oxidizing iron. Cancer cells take up more iron than normal body cells. The iron gets in through a protein channel called transferrin. The cancer cells have a higher requirement to sustain all the dividing they do.

Oxidized iron, in this form, is pretty reactive. The process turns the iron into a free radical, which reacts with parts of the cancer cell to cause injury. This is one way that artemisinin is supposed to work. Since normal body cells have much less iron, the are less affected by this damage.

It also seems to have the ability to slow the development of the growth of new blood vessels around tumors. Tumors need to be fed because they have very high metabolic demands as they grow a lot. So they cause the body to grow new arteries and veins to feed themselves. This process is called angiogenesis.

Turns out there is pretty good evidence artemisinin slows this process by shutting down the genes that create the new blood vessels. Turn off the genes, turn of the process, less cancer food supply.

We’ll look a bit more at artemisinin in the next post.

Best,

Dr Dressler

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM


Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity. Visit his blog and sign up free to get the latest information about canine cancer. Go to http://www.DogCancerBlog.com.

  • Michael Seebeck

    Check with Dr. Couto at Ohio State. I believe he is doing an artemisin study with greyhounds.

    BTW, a direct injection of aqueous sodium bicarbonate into the tumor site also stops osteo in its tracks because it screws up the pH balance the cancer needs to live

  • Patti Wong

    I have a 12 year-ild Hungarian Vizsla with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. He was diagnosed two weeks ago and had surgery which managed to de-bulk 80% of the tumour, but the rest was inoperable because of its closeness to the ureter openings. my vet has put him on one capsule of Feldene (Piroxocam) a day with cytotec (stomach liner). I have started him on a capsule of Artimisinin a day. My vet is unsure how this would react with the Feldene. Is anyone able to provide me with this answer? I would be extremely grateful as I want Piccolo to have as much pain-free time as possible.
    Thank you.

  • Patti Wong

    I have a 12 year-old Hungarian Vizsla with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. He was diagnosed two weeks ago and had surgery which managed to de-bulk 80% of the tumour, but the rest was inoperable because of its closeness to the ureter openings. my vet has put him on one capsule of Feldene (Piroxocam) a day with cytotec (stomach liner). I have started him on a capsule of Artimisinin a day. My vet is unsure how this would react with the Feldene. Is anyone able to provide me with this answer? I would be extremely grateful as I want Piccolo to have as much pain-free time as possible.
    Thank you.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Patti,
      in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, you will learn that the survival of dogs with TCC of the bladder on Feldene, with or without surgery, is months. The question is, are we worried about losing the itty-bitty beneficial effect of the Feldene? Or are we worried about safety?
      I know of now published or anecdotal interactions between the two drugs.
      You may want to check out the webinars too, as many questions are answered:
      http://www.mydogvet.com
      Best of luck.
      d

  • Izabel & Oreo

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    PLEASE HELP ME.

    My dog Oreo, a 4-year old lab mix, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma of the ribs on September 9. Back then, she was 56lbs and the tumor was approx. 5,5cm, and there were no visible mets in the lungs on the xrays. Upon a CT scan, mets were found in 5 lung lobes, and because of that, along with the fact that she was not showing any signs of pain, we opted out of the rib resection surgery. Our vet assured us that there would not be much benefit to removing the primary tumor if there are mets already present.

    We immediately started her on carboplatin (September 15), along with her regular diet (she is on Hills Z/D food) and cottage cheese and flaxseed oil (we up’ed it slowly to 6 tbps of flaxseed oil a day). But her tumor kept on growing. Since she showed no side effects to the 1st chemo treatment, we did her 2nd treatment 2 weeks and 2 days after the first one (October 1). On that day, her oncologist sais he would probably switch the drug to doxorubicin on her next (3rd) treatment, as the tumor had grown.

    On October 2, we also started giving her apricot seeds, along with small chuncks of pineapple. We grinded the seeds and worked her up to 6 a day (adding one a day), which happened last Thursday, October 8. She is now 58 – 60 lbs, and was walking in the neighborhood for 10 – 20 minutes a day. We have also been giving her vitamins (Nutri-Vet Milti-Vite and Health immune), along with liquid Nutri-Vet Probiotics with Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil.

    On Friday, October 9, after feeding her the Z/D with 2 grinded apricot seed, walking her for 10 minutes and then giving her cottage cheese and flaxseed oil, she felt a bit restless all day – moving around from spot to spot within a few minutes. We had also been noicing over the last couple of weeks that her energy level had been decreasing gradually.

    On Saturday, October 10, her energy seemed to go down considerably. She still ate, but was not as excited about the food as she normally is. Her stomach also felt a little “full” – like there was a small waterballoon in there, versus the normally flabby skin. Since I had walked her the day before within 15-20 minutes of her meal, I was worried about bloating, so I took her to the vet, who said she was not bloated.

    On Saturday (October 10), her breathing pattern started to change – she was shallow breathing for most of the day, with not much play or exercise. Upon excitement, sometimes she would whimper – like she wanted to play but couldn’t.

    Yesterday, October 11, she had diahrrea in the morning. No vomiting. Her breathing changed even more, like she was having a bit of difficulty. She also would not run or play as usual. I started worring this could be cyanide poisoning because of the apricot seeds, so I took her to the emergency room.

    We did chest and belly xrays, and a blood test. Her white blood cell count was actually a bit high (they expected it to be low because of the chemo), so the vet started her on antibiotics. Her belly xray did not seem to show anything wrong, but her chest xrays showed the intensity of the cancer. We could not exacly determine the size, but it looks like her primary tumor (was originally on the 7th rib; now it looks like 7 – 9 ribs) looked like it was approximately 20cm in size (4 times the size of 1 month ago). She also had some fluid on her chest (not in the lungs), but not enough to tap it. She also seemed to have a mass that we could not identify 100%, but looks like it could be a met in the lung. The mass (if this is correct) is very significant now and my best guess is that it is around 5cm in diameter. I believe this may be why her breathing is not normal.

    Upon arriving home last night, we also gave her some Tramadol, for possible pain. She slept without moving much, still shallow breathing, and if she lies on her side the breathing gets faster and louder. Standing up is not so bad.

    I AM DESPERATE. It has only been one month, and I am not sure what else I can do.

    This morning (October 12) I gave her 2 pills of 100mg Artemisinin, and will give one of Artemix at night. Is this the correct dosage, or should we be more aggressive for a 60 lbs dog? I read about doing this for 5 days, then not do it for 2. Is this what you would recommend?

    Is Z/D ok with it? What about the antibiotic (she is now taking Metronidazole)? We are also not sure if we should do her next chemo treatment, as doxorubicin has many side effects.

    Do you have ANY suggestions or ANYTHING we may try? PLEASE HELP!!!!

    Thank you in advance.
    Izabel & Oreo

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Izabel- this is very grim news. You are looking at referral to a surgeon who can handle en-bloc resection (large removal of body wall) and you should inquire as to the possibility of any oncologist in your area who might be involved or willing to do aerosolized platinum compound chemotherapy (inhaled by your loved pooch). It is dicey stuff for the oncologist involved but there are publications of an apparatus that can be constructed to get high concentration chemo into the lungs. You may also want to check into nebulized methyl jasmonate, also last resort stuff. Do a google search on it. It can be dissolved and used in a Vick’s nebulizer. Very, very experimental with no real veterinary (or human) track record but a good theoretical basis. It may also be time to start doing a life quality analysis, which is detailed in the e-book I wrote.
      Best of luck,
      D

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Izabel,
      I am sorry to hear this hard news. This week’s webinar is on OSA, and I thought it might help you since you have a pretty open-ended question that is tough to answer in a concise blog post. The webinar will be recorded:
      http://www.mydogvet.com
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Jo Anne

    Dr Dressler: Purchased your book about 3 months ago when our dog was dx’d w/hemangiosarcoma. It helped a lot and we had a good 2.5 months before having to put him to sleep. Sadly t say, my 14 yr old 60 lb female was dx’d with osteosarcoma. I have her on artemisinin. I am alos giving her piroxicam, and tramedol for pain. I want to start her on K-9 Immunity but am afraid that there may be a poor outcome due to the combination. I was wondering what you may think about this combo. I am considering amputation of her affected right front leg so as to maintain her pain free for as long as possible, but I am concerned about her age.
    Her x-rays show no metastisis. I won’t do chemo but will continue artimisinin and k-9 Immunity (if that is a good combo).
    Please, any ideas would be helpful.
    Thank you.
    Jo Anne

    • Dr. Dressler

      Jo Anne,
      sounds like you folks are really getting hit hard with dog cancer. I am so sorry. Remember that dogs over 10 have a 50-50 chance of dying from cancer, so you are not alone. Yes, art and K-9 immunity is fine. You also may want to tune in to the webinar on OSA today, which is recorded:
      http://www.mydogvet.com
      best
      Dr D

  • http://watchironman2online.org Donte Volper

    Would you like to post a guest post on my blog?

  • Caron Castaldo

    Hello,
    Can you please, please help????
    My 12 yr old Rotty/mix was just diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on her skull & we are interested in starting her on Artemisinin & Artemix.
    But, the latest study I could find on this was dated in 2007 (give 100mg capsule during the day & 1 capsule of Artemix in the evening for a 70 lb dog) (2 weeks on & 1 week off).
    Are there any current updates on this study? Can we also give a low dose aspirin instead Tramdol?

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Caron,
      The jury is still out on the best way to use artemisinin in it’s various forms, including the dosing and frequency. I would venture to state that you may be able to double the dose of artemisinin/artemix, under the guidance of your veterinarian of course, My opinion is to shorten the “on” cycle, as stated in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, since the intestinal absorption of these compounds seems to shut down after roughly a week or so of administration. One option is a week on and 5 days off.
      As far as the low dose aspirin goes, you would want to give a higher dose than what I think you are referring to, which is 81 mg per tablet. You should double check with your vet about dosing your specific dog as there may be health issues to consider that I am not aware of . There are also much more effective pain killers that are sort of close to aspirin but help more that your vet can offer, like Metacam or Deramaxx. You can combine these with other pain meds like Gabapentin and Amantadine.
      People are using Artemisinin combined with substances in Apocaps as well.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Rae

    Dr Dressler:
    First of all I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the help and hope that you provide to those of us fighting cancer with our dogs. Your book, posts and other resources have been a great help. Thank you especially for the personal responses you provided to some of my questions in this forum.
    On June 12th my beloved Beatty lost her fight with osteosarcoma of the rib, just 3 days shy of 3-months post op. I had been treating her with K-9 Immunity, artemisinin, arginine and metronomic protocol (cyclophosphamide, previcox, and doxycycline). I have alot of the supplements left and would love to help out someone in need, as this gets very expensive and alot of us financially strap ourselves in order to do everything possible to fight on behalf of our dogs. I have found nothing but dead-ends as far as leads for forums/blogs, etc. that may help me find someone to give the supplements to. Do you have any suggestions for matching me up with someone? Although Beatty didn’t beat the odds, I would love to think that maybe the supplements could help another dog fight their fight.
    Thank you

  • lani

    My 85 lb akita-shepherd mix was diagnosed 3 weeks ago yesterday with osteosarcoma. He had his leg amputated 2 wks ago today, started doxirubicin, and carboplatin today. I started giving him arteminisin-Holley brand a few days ago. Is 100 mg., twice a day sufficient? Are the cheaper brands as good? He had a bone scan and ultrasound which saw no spreading in his lungs or other joints? Please advise me, and should he have no or low iron also?

  • Lisa

    Hi I was hoping to get some advice and dosage recommendation for my almost 13 yr old black lab mix that was just diagnosed with an aggressive form of osteosarcoma she has a large tumor on her knee, we had radiographs taken and then 2nd opinion by a specialist who also read them, they say that there is no tx that I can do as she has 3-6 months to live! I am hoping artemisinin will give her some more time! She is my baby I have had her since she was 6 weeks old and I cant imagine her not being here anymore, please any advice that you can give me would be so much appreciated! thanks
    Lisa

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Lisa,
      have you read the Guide? This is your best resource to provide the long answer that the question deserves. If this were my patient, I would be using the Dog Cancer Diet, Apocaps, immune stimulants, pain control, as well as artemisinin. If you can take the time to read the Guide it will serve you very well during this time, and you will be doing a lot to help increase your companion’s life quality and quantity. To get a vet to help you, check out this site.. Here is some info on artemisinin.
      Best,
      D

  • lani

    Can you respond to my question, please Dr. Drexler?

  • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

    Dear Lani-
    sorry to hear about your loved one. On another note- who is this Dr. Drexler guy anyway? Only joking.
    Artemisinin is discussed in some detail in the Guide- did you get it? First- please take all steps under vet supervision. Second, the dose of artemisinin varies and there is little consensus on the form that is best. The doses are also across the board, but a reasonable dose for your dog is more like 300 mg twice a day. Don’t worry about the iron issue as there is new data now that says it does not matter all that much. Give it 5 days on and then stop for 5 days. Give it with some omega 3 supplement, but not with a huge meal.
    Best,
    D

  • Jane Rhoades

    My dog, Pumpkin, now a 13 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (rescued at age 8), was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in February 07. This is an invasive oral cancer. It was in her jaw bone and the vet said it was not a cancer to respond to chemo or radiation. He said as long as she could eat, fine. When she stopped, bring her in to be put down. He predicted the tumor would grow rapidly and she’d have about a month to live in 2007. Pumpkin’s tumor did grow very fast in the next two weeks. It was the size of a golf ball in the very back, under her lower jaw bone. We switched her to soft foods and started the Artemisinin daily after reading stories online. She took (1) 50 mg capsule a day for about 15 days. I started to worry that I was harming her so I stopped. Her tumor had been bleeding constantly and she drooled which her breed doesn’t normally. The bloody drooling stopped in days and the tumor turned gray. It was gross, but her breath smelled like rotting meat. She started to walk funny. Then, she started to go lame. I had switched her to an all raw meat dog food. We changed her back to her regular food because I later read there could be a problem with bacteria in the food processing production. I wondered if the food was the problem. She got to the point where she stayed where you put her. She even peed laying down because she couldn’t stand up or walk well. She never stopped eating. She loves to eat. Gradually, the tumor shrank then disappeared. Her mouth completely healed. She started to move around the room, then around the house. At the end of July, she started to climb the stairs again. We never thought she’d ever do stairs again. She was completely back to her old self. She hadn’t even barked since January ’07, but started at the end of July again. I think she probably had a week or two too many of the Artemisinin, but I was desperate and not sure of dosage or what would really work for her.

    A year later, I took Pumpkin for her rabies shot. The tumor began to grow again. This time, I started the Art pills, but gave them to her 3 days apart. I gave her a total of 7 pills, and stopped. The tumor stopped growing and disappeared again. I will not give Pumpkin any more rabies shots. This was January ’09 and Pumpkin was better than ever. Her jaw was crooked from this second round of tumor growing at the jaw juncture, but she’s still a chow hound and doing great. I believe that because I was more careful with the dose, and started it quickly, she did not have any trouble walking this time.

    I encourage anyone with a cancer pet to give ART a try. Pumpkin was given a death sentence and we felt we had nothing to lose with ART being such an inexpensive gamble.

    Pumpkin is very old now. She doesn’t do stairs any more, but still loves to eat. I give her one ART pill monthly for good measure. There is no evidence of her tumor by touch. We are convinced the ART saved her. We have been blessed by these extra years with her.

  • Marc

    Is there any risk with taking artemisinin with diltiazem in my great dane?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Marc,
      I am not aware of interactions between these medications. However, there has not been formal assessment of this combination. Please assess with your veterinarian.
      Dr D

  • Jo Morgan

    HI There
    My 8yr old Greyhound was just diagnoses with early Osteosarcoma to the leg.
    He has currently started prednisone and I am giving him vitc with bioflavins 2000mg 2x per day. I have also researched the low carbohydrate high protien diet with the addition of Omega3′s. I would like to start Matty on artemisinin as well as Fosamax (aldenronate).
    I live in Australia so will need to buy the first online. Can you please tell me the dosage of both of these. I have been looking but cannot find any clear answers. My vet is open to whatever I choose to do, I will not be putting him through chemo or ampuations. I just want to help support and with luck slow the cancer so we can be as pain free and comforrtable as possible.
    I look forward to hearing from you
    Kind Regards
    JO

    PS Matty is about 70kg oops 70lbs I mean…

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Jo,
      I do not use bioflavins when using artemisinin, nor do I use oral vitamin C at all in combating canine cancer. Much has been written about both vitamin C and the use of antioxidants combined with pro oxidants in this blog and also in more detail in the Guide.
      Under veterinary supervision, common doses for artemisinin for a 70 lb dog from roughly 350-700 mg daily. I tend to use the higher dose, but this should be under instruction from your vet…
      Hope this helps
      D

  • Jessica DeMartin

    I have a 10yo Belgian Shepard, Lucky, who was diagnosed 3 months ago with Osteosarcoma in his jaw. He was given two weeks, and continues to shows no sign of stopping. I give him Tumeric and Essiac Tea daily. In reading about Artemisinin, aka, wormwood, and the success that is happening in people and pets and would like to start Lucky on that as well. However, I have found there are different types of wormwood. I have only been able to find the “common wormwood” or artemisia absinthium, and have read that the “sweet wormwood” or artemisia annua, is type used for cancer. Does anyone know anymore on this?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Jessica,
      Briefly, the artemisinin you can find on places like amazon, vitashoppe, etc, tend to be derived from sweet wormwood in my experience.
      I believe it would be wise for you to take advantage of some of the research that has already been done for you in an effort to help with this very serious issue. First, I assume you have considered all of the options, including surgery, chemo, radiation, and discussed those with professionals to get all the data you need concerning pros, cons, and increases in life expectancy and life quality (or lack thereof). I am hoping you have defined what your priorities are for your dog (life quality during treatment, life expectancy, minimizing side effects, etc) and addressed any biases in the approach to the cancer. I hope I am not going overboard with all of this but I just wanted to be sure. Of course, don’t forget diet,the combination apoptogen (curcumin/luetolin/apigenin/silymarin), neoplasene, doxycycline, modified citrus pectin, pamindronate, and so on as some choices that might help as well. These are outlined in this blog and in detail in the guide. Don’t forget veterinary supervision with these medical choices- hope this helps!
      Best
      D

  • Lani

    Dr. Dressler, my boy is doing well, showing no spreading to the lungs, and his bloodwork good. His platelets are arond 170-185 every 3 weeks, which says they should be 200 or more. My vet says, nothing to worry about. He takes 3.75 mg of Luekeran daily, and 300 mg. total artemisinin. So are you saying maybe he should be taking 600 mg. per day? He has been on this art. for almost 9 months-non stop, should I start giving more-600 mg.s a day, or give 5 days on then 5 off? Any response will be appreciated. Thanks, sorry about misspelling your name above!

  • http://www.dogcancerblog.com/dog-cancer-and-the-malaria-drug-artemisinin/ Julie

    Dr. Dressler,
    Question on using artemesinin in hemangiosarcoma. Will it cause toxicity to the new red blood cells? My dog is moderately anemic post splenectomy and I would like to use Art, but she needs more red blood cells. Since it targets iron, can iron supplements be given when it is used?
    thank you,

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Julie,
      Bone marrow or red cell injury is not typical of artemisinin, but there are reports of this happening in people rarely.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10212898
      Are you seeing a veterinarian who has used art?? This is advised. The iron should be spaced out by at least 4 hours from art dosing in my opinion. Are you using the other strategies also??
      Best,
      D

  • Lani

    My boy’s platelets were 150 last week, it says normal is 200-500. I wrote above also more in detail. I am kind of worried, should I be? Thank you.

  • Jessica DeMartin

    Hello All,

    I wanted to write again and say THANK YOU for all the wonderful nutrition tips that were provided in this book, as well as tips and encouragement from everyone on this blog. My shepherd Lucky, (soulmate and best friend) was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his jaw in Feb, and passed end of July. He was given 2-6 weeks and well out lived that time frame. I immediately changed his diet, put him on herbs, sweet wormwood, essiac tea, and red clover. He also got weekly reiki and heaping amounts of love daily. At 11 years old he was out running, biking, and hiking me until his last few days. I attribute the extra months of living we had to all of these health practices. This has changed my entire perspective on cancer.

    Good Luck to all of you and your furry loved ones!

    Jessica

  • Joe

    wow im so happy i found this site. My doberman was diagnosed with mammary cancer. She is 12 years old and i had the tumors removed alst week. She seems fine and will be going in to have the stiches removed this weel. The vet suggested possible chemo but im concerned with her age.

    I have now discovered this “Artemisinim” and was wondering if it would be effective for mammary cancer. Nothng has spread to her vital organs but the vet mentioned something about possible signs on the lymph nodes, i was so shocked with the news i missed some of the info ( I will learn more this weekend)

    Thank you. Gypsy has been with me for 12 years and i love her dearly.

    Joe

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Joe,
      artemisin has some interesting anti cancer effects, but we need to define what we mean when we say “effective. First, there is little research in canine mammary cancer and artemisinin (like many natural compounds). Secondly, if you are asking whether artemisin can cure or prevent cancer, I would say the answer is no, not really. However, by using the steps in the Guide, including not only natural compounds like artemisinin, but also diet changes and lifestyle changes, other apoptogens, anti metastatic supplements, and appropriate veterinary care, we can often extend the lifespan of our dogs with cancer. Each tool adds to the next.
      Best
      Dr D

  • debra

    My Golden Pyrenees mix, Luna (just turned 7) was just diagnosed with anaplastic sarcoma, giant cell type, high grade. Her blood tests were good, there was no cancer evident in a lung x-ray and she generally is otherwise in excellent health. I purchased hundreds of dollars of supplements between the time the biopsy was done and now, a week later, when we have the results.(She was originally thought to have OSA, but now has been diagnosed with Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma). I got an OSA drop mix ( from McDowell, in (Australia)),(now that she has MFH not OSA, is it bad to give her these drops?) as well as their Maritime French Pine Bark drops from the same place air shipped, K-9 Immunity Plus Transfer Factor, Noni drops from Nutrimedix and tons of artemisinin (that I have been taking for my chronic Lyme disease). I also bought a dry mix of blue-green algae, spirulina, millet, etc. but I tried giving that to her mixed into cottage cheese, and she wouldn’t take it–since she is a big dog, I had to give her 2 1/2 tablespoons of the mix and that meant a large volume of cottage cheese–2 cups or so, but after the first try, even my “treat motivated puppy” turned her nose up at this.( I have also bought homeopathic stuff— cell salts, heckla lava, and something else I read about on a blog post, but they haven’t arrived yet).

    I have read that administering artemisinin should be on a cycle or pulse regimen. If so, and if the immune supports that I’ve gotten Luna (the McDowell supplements and the K-9 Immunity) would be contra-indicated when she is on the artemisinin, should I be giving her a week of artemisinin (1,000mg per day–she is 115 pounds), followed by a week of these immune boosters, on and off, or should I limit the artemisinin to just a week or two based on what Jane Rhoades with Pumpkin said? Does artemisinin really work that quickly–especially if there is no other cancer present? What do you think of the homeopathic items? Do they work? Are they contra-indicated when I use the artemisinin–are they contra-indicated with the K-9 Immune plus Transfer factor? Luna is currently on a salmon/chicken low carb diet and takes salmon oil too daily. Anything that you could tell me about the benefits/detriments of alternating immune therapy with artemisinin and dosing/protocols, if the homeopathic items work and when I could fit them in if they are beneficial, would be helpful. Our whole family just so desperately loves Luna and want her to be around for a few more months or even years that I’ll do almost anything–but at the same time, I don’t want to injure her (neuro-toxic effects of long term or high dose artemisinin???), and with the limited info on these supplements (or their interactions with one another) even my vet is stumped..Please help.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Debra,
      wow! That’s a lot of questions. First, I am sorry to hear about what is happening with your dog. Here is some info:
      Aretemisinin should be pulsed, 5-7 days on then 5-7 days off.
      No, immune supplements are not contraindicated with artemisinin- this substance does not work by immune suppression.
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/dog-cancer-and-the-malaria-drug-artemisinin/
      BUT, maritime pine, algae, Noni, etc could interfere via their antioxidant effects.
      One of the challenges you are facing is you have encountered a lot of supplements and have no reference for what has evidence for efficacy, interactions, and side effects. Luckily this has been done already for you in the Guide, which you really should read. Maritime bark: low priority. Same with Noni. Discussed in Guide.
      I can’t find what is in McDowell’s drops, so cannot comment. Maybe he will give you a list, and if so I can do my best.
      Blue green algae has little anti cancer effect.
      You would be better served with neoplasene, curcumin, luteolin, silymarin, beta glucans, etc.
      Please be sure to have veterinary supervision.
      All my best
      Dr D

  • Farzin Firooznia

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    I hope this e-mail finds you well. As you can suspect from the subject, I am unfortunately writing in response to finding out that our dog has cancer. We are owners of a Bernese Mountain Dog (Ruby – female, 6 yrs 9 mos; 94 lbs). She recently began limping and we confirmed via bone biopsy this week that she has stage 1 osteosarcoma in her left hind leg (knee). As of now, her lungs and abdomen appear clear. The Vet and oncologist have recommended amputation and chemo as the gold standard course of treatment.

    We are obviously devastated but trying to keep level-headed and understand options for extending Ruby’s quality of life for as long as it’s “quality”. Ruby’s breeder referred me to the BoneCancerDogs website and I came across all the references to Artemisinin. I’m hoping that I can bother someone to help me understand what, if any, role this could play in Ruby’s treatment, if it should be done in conjunction with amputation and chemo, and how I would go about figuring out the proper dosage, etc.

    I am going to purchase your book tonight and start reading on the iPad, but any guidance would be appreciated.

    Can you please advise? We are looking at amputation in the next 6 days or so.

    Thanks in advance,

    Farzin Firooznia

  • Geoff

    HI Dr Dressler

    my Golden Retriever has Lymphoma.I was not sure whether i can give apocaps during the day at the given dose and then artemix at night ? is this safe ?
    She is having DCA 2 times a day as well..

    Thank you

  • http://www.diamondpetservice.com Jennifer Powers

    Dr. Dressler,
    I just wish vets and scientists could agree on the proper artemesinin protocol because opinions that differ drastically really do no good. According to Dr. Singh’s protocol, artemesinin should be given at night only away from all other antioxidants and given with Vitamin D3. Then in the am and lunchtime, a low dose of Vitamin C and Vitamin E should be given to the dog as this is supposed to counter the bioavailability of the Artemesinin. He instructs to give the dog this for 8 weeks straight; so I am very curious as to why you recommend pulsing it 5 days on and 5 days off. I believe you also mentioned giving it in the AM or PM, but since cancer grows worst at night, that is why it is strongly recommended to give at night, 4-5 hours after the last meal. You mentioned writing another blog on Arte but I can not find anything else further than this one blog thread. Since I have a dog with OS in the jaw with 3 months projected from his regular vet, I am looking to find something that will help increase his odds and time with us. But getting confused with whether to go with the protocol the scientist who has been studying this since the 90s says and what a vet says is becoming very overwhelming.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Jennifer,
      I am sorry to hear about your boy’s tumor.
      the absorption of artemisinin shuts down after about 5 days, so pulsing can trick the body into absorbing it more.
      The facts are that little real clinical work has been done in real life dogs with real life cancers comparing different treatment protocols, so we are forced to use the information we have in the best way we have. A study would be great contrasting dosing protocols but we don’t have it. In the absence of this study, you will need to consult with whomever you feel most comfortable with and go with your gut. I would focus on other supplements as well. I hope you have read the Guide, as you will need more than just artemesinin…I hope this helps
      Dr D

  • Tracy

    Hi Dr. Dressler–
    Thank you for all your wonderful information. In your book, you stated that artemisinin was not recommended for dogs with brain tumors due to the possibility of rare brainstem toxicity. Is this still your recommendation? My dog has a nasal adenocarcinoma that has moved towards her brain and optic nerve. She received radiation and is doing well so far. Would artemisinin not be a good option for her due to the tumor’s movement towards her brain? I do not want to miss out on the benefits of this supplement, but certainly don’t want to cause more harm than good. Thank you for your help!!!!
    Tracy

  • K. MARX

    I wish to subscribe to news letter.

  • donna

    Our dog Timber was developing lumps on the back of his neck and down his shoulders when we started giving him artemisinin once a day. Within 1 week, the lumps started to go away and no new ones formed. Now he only has a couple small lumps or tumors that are not growing in size. We lost Timber’s son last January to canine osteosarcoma. They are Rottweilers and we feel that Timbers’ lumps were/are probably tumors from the same cancer gene that took his son Apache from us. We’d tried the artemisinin with Apache, but the osteosarcoma was to advanced and aggressive to treat. We had the pills left over from then and hoped they could help Timber. When we started him on them, he was showing the same symptoms as Apache of depression, appetitie loss and the quickly spreading lumps. The artemisinin not only stopped the tumor growth, but it also gave us back our Timber. Within days, his appetite and spirit were back with us again. We are ever so thankful!

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      :)

  • Doryan

    Is it safe to use artemisinin on a dog with a 2nd degree AV heart block? My chow chow was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and I was told by Dr. Lai that artemisinin can be effective against CLL. Dr. Lai also mentioned that artemisinin can have an effect on the electrical activity of the heart, so I want to make sure it is safe before trying it. Do you think it would be safe to try?

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Doryah-
      I have not seen this in clinical practice but it does not mean the possiblity does not exist. Whenever we are in the realm of steps that do not have clinical trials there is always some degree of risk…even with clinical trials. There are other items that can be used in place of artemisinin to induce apoptosis (apoptogens). Have you read the Guide? Discuss Apocaps with your vet. (Always confirm all steps with your veterinarian.)
      Best
      Dr D

  • Doryan

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    Thanks for your reply. For now, I have decided against trying the artemisinin because I am afraid to take any risks. Yes, I just received your book and have been reading it. What I’m finding is there is not a lot of info re chronic lymphocytic leukemia in dogs. I was told not to give antioxidants by regular vet as his immune system is already overly stimulated. Another Chinese medicine vet said it would be okay, so it’s getting confusing. Are the Apocaps antioxidants? Do you feel that natural treatments for CLL are different than other forms of cancer? thanks, Doryan

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Doryan,
      here is information about antioxidants and pro oxidants you should read:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/anti-oxidants-versus-pro-oxidants/
      apocaps is more of a pro-oxidant therapy.
      As to the general treatment recommendations in the Guide, these hold for most cancers including CLL as many of the cancer pathways and effects in the body are shared between cancers…which is why the book uses these strategies specifically- to address shared paths.
      Best
      DrD

  • Doryan

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    Are Apocaps appropriate for chronic lymphocytic leukemia? I just read in your book that they are good for any type of cancer. Since his lymphocyte count is already high (B cells are cloning) I am afraid of overstimulating. Can I get your opinion re this? I don’t believe my vet is aware of Apocaps or if they are appropriate for CLL.

  • Gemma

    Hey there, I was wondering whether the process Artemisinin put’s the cancerous cells through, could cause inflammation or pain at all? My Rottie Bitch has had a slow growing tumour in a Carpal bone. Xray’s around 4 weeks ago showed the growth was mostly Soft Tissue, but the bone had some reaction. Although it’s not in a long bone, it’s believed that this is an Osteosarcoma.
    Amputation is not an option, with her always having an Arthritic hind leg on the same side. Bonnie was not lame with it originally. I started Artemisinin 2 weeks ago. The growth has grown marginally, but she is reluctant to weight bare now. I do understand that the pain can come on suddenly and gradually worsen.
    We have taken the chance of taking her off the Pred’s she was on every 3rd day for the Canine Atrophic Masticatory Muscle Myositis she was diagnosed with around 3 years ago. This was to see whether NSAID’s would be able to mange her pain. We started Metacam on Friday last week, and are using Tramadol but we’re having no joy. Are there any pain med’s you would recommend? I want to give her every chance at a pain free, comfortable time with us, for as long as she is here.
    I know there are no miracle cures, but the tumour seem’s so small – she’s such a happy, healthy dog barring the obvious.

    Thank you,

    Gemma

  • Pat

    My dog was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma. I was interested in your blog.

    Thanks

  • Tony

    Can we use Apocaps and Artesiminin?

    • Susan Kazara Harper

      Hello Tony, The easy answer is yes, you can use both Apocaps and Artemisinin but in a rotational basis (not on the same days), but the longer answer actually lies in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide on pages 170 through 175. Artemisinin is a powerful apoptogen and can potentially cause nausea in some dogs. In all cases, please make sure you consult with your veterinarian about the nutraceuticals you wish to use. Good luck!

  • Amber Schooley

    Does artemisinin work on lymphosarcoma? I have seen studies including bone, skin, breast, and even prostate cancer, but I don’t see much on lymphosarcoma

  • Joanna

    This is very interesting. i have just ordered Artemix, the compound studied by D
    rs. Lai and Singh at Wash. State. I also just started my dog on Apocaps. He has adenocarcinoma in the lung which spread to his elbow joint. He’s had five rounds of vinoralbine/palladia, which worked , then stopped working on the week they “rested” him. The new protocol being tried is carboplatin (given 2 weeks ago). I stated the Apocaps last week — so far 2 a day because he’s also on piroxicam, although my oncologist said there was no need to reduce the Apocaps dose. I’m trying to play it safe, however, due to his sensitive stomach. I’m increasing the Apocaps to 3 per day for a few days and see how that goes. But I’d like to add the Artemix — what say you, Dr. Dressler — you are the only one out there who “speaks” to we guardians who find ourselves in an often frustrating morass of double-talk. I don’t want to keep this see-saw of chemo going. He’s scheduled to alternate the carbo w/ adriamycin next week … until that stops working. So, I’d like to try and use nutraceuticals that won’t conflict with the “science,” but at the same time, do a complete switch to nutraceuticals like Apocaps, Artemix and maybe K-9 Immunity in the next few weeks. I honestly do not believe my boy will have a better quality of life living week to week on poisons at this point.

  • robert smith

    Hello,

    Good to see someone speaking out with science instead of pharma salesgirl presentations. Thank you for offering something that actually has the potential to kill some of the cancer stem cells, which pump out chemo, and are responsible for the mets.

    Have you considered dichloroacetate (DCA)for dogs? This site has some very interesting information on DCA.

    Also, my website has some research posted on artemisinin from the U. of Wasahington. They called it a magic bullet against cancer. They are currently working to combine it with transferrin outside the body to “increase the selectivity of killing” by a huge amount. It also will allow them to patent it of course.

    Also on the DCA site is another compound used for mesothelioma, it changes the ratio of copper to zinc from 5 to 1 (cancer), to 1 to 5 (normal)

    The interesting thing about DCA is that it reverts cancer cells to aerobic glycolysis. Cancer cells run on anaerobic glycolysis and thats why they show up on a PET scan so well. Cancers way of processing sugar is fast but very inefficient, so that’s why the radioactive sugar compounds show up so well in PET scans. (Mohammed Kashani-Sabet et al UCSF) So reverting the cells to aerobic glycolysis won’t support cancers programmed growth rate. This might conflict with artemisinin which relies on the fast growth rate and high iron demand to kill the cells. Perhaps pets could be given a small dose of it during their artemisinin off weeks.

    Feel free to contact me Dr. Dressler, and thank you for this good information.

    Robert Smith

  • robert smith

    Here is the DCA site, http://www.thedcasite.com

    Here is my rough site of notes and studies:
    http://www.geocities.com/prime3end

  • Kim

    Hi,
    I am trying the artemisinin on my siberian husky, Buster. He was diagnosed with a chrondrosarcoma in April of 08. Had his leg amputated as a result of the tumor. It was to be low grade, stage 1 with only a 25% chance of it spreading.(chemo & radiation resistant according to Univ of Penn) X-rays as of 12/23 shows it has spread to his lungs.

    I am also trying Avemar.. have you heard of this? It is to reduce the glucose uptake of tumor cells. Would this conflict with the artemisinin if given far apart? (12 hr time difference)

    I have heard, not to give with vitamin C… within a 2hr time frame.

  • robert smith

    Lots of good stuff below, the culmination of years of looking. There are probably 100 ways to treat cancer without killing the patient. Nobody will take the risk. The physicians financial/legal security is given more important than the patient living or dying, even when they know the diagnosis is fatal. The drug companies profit more important than a cure. The costs of trials to bring most curative treatments to patients are impossible to fund unless they are patentable by pharma. My Thanks to the friends who helped me with this list.

    DCA::
    The first one is on dichloroacetate, used experimentally to restore normal sugar utilization in babies born with a rare cell metabolic disorder,, and experimentally to attempt to restore function to heart cells that have gone senescent (Dr. Mikelakis, U of Alberta). He has a brain cancer trial.

    The site details people who are taking the chemical in water at various dosages and with other supplemental. The site ,, on the left side,,has an interesting copper chelator that has low toxicity and there are claims that copper chelation stops mesothelioma. But the chemicals here have patents that ran out years ago, so no drug company will sponsor the $200 million dollar clinical trials required by FDA. DCA does have side effects which are fairly well studied, confusion, loss of gait, peripheral neuropathy, even death if one ignores the side effects. Simply quit taking it when effects tell you to. Its a daily oral dose in water. But the side effects are generally reversible with time, sometimes in only a few days. People here are using it with chemo. U of Alberta is doing a brain cancer human trial, and the Medicore clinic in Toronto is giving it to their patients with government approval or at least tolerance. http://www.thedcasite.com

    LDN
    Here is that info on LDN – there are tons of links on these posts. The doc in Scotland who is using LDN for MS is Dr. Tom Gilhooly – the conference will be in Europe for the first time next spring:
    LDN is used to treat addiction at doses of 50 to 75mg , here its used at only 5mg.

    http://www.glasgowldn2009.com

    Here is the Mercola link (many of the comments below his article are also interesting):

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/01/06/can-ldn-really-help-multiple-sclerosis-rheumatoid-arthritis-and-other-autoimmune-diseases.aspx

    Here is the latest thread on the DCA forum:
    http://www.thedcasite.com/dcaforum/DCForumID10/374.html

    From all I’ve read about LDN, I really think this stuff could help you – it enhances immune function. There is a forum for LDN, maybe you could post there to find a doctor near you who’s used it for MS.

    My friends sister is seeing her breast lump shrink using this, she refuses biopsy:::::::::

    “””I really think it is fantastic stuff – my mom, sis and dad are all taking it for various things – arthritis, prostate cancer, immune boost… my sister may have breast cancer. She’s going to treat this as though she has it, (supplements, diet, LDN, monitoring) but not have a potentially cancer spreading biopsy done. The suspicious lump seems to be shrinking now.”””

    LDN has also been used with lung cancer. I think probably 50% or more of the population could benefit in some way from LDN. I mean there are really no side effects, except a stronger immune system. Who couldn’t use that?

    Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn

    Here is Dr. Blackburn’s website, she won the Lasker Prize for discovery of telomerase 18 years ago, twice considered for Nobel in medicine, will win it when treatment results.
    She details that around 60 genes associated with growth are switched to growth mode when telomerase is overexpressed as in cancer, and another 144 genes are also switched and they are still being studied. Telomerase is an enzyme which adds nucleotide repeats to the ends of DNA so they can live through the ravages of being ripped apart in cell divisions. The Hayflick limit is the number of times a cell can divide before the next cell division cuts into real DNA and kills the cell, or, offers the opportunity for a cancer episode.
    Cancer cells evade death from the normal hayflic limit of 25-200 replications by overexpressing telomerase , which lengthens the telomere tails. They are like the protective ends on your shoelace which prevent the shoelace from coming apart. Emotional stress shortens telomeres as Blackburn found in her study of caregivers of sick children. The caregivers blood telomere lengths were measured and compared against the caregivers’ subjective assessment of their stress level at the time of each blood test. By contrast, one company is using a telomerase promoter, to actually lengthen telomeres in healthy cells to prevent aging and cancer. Even to reverse aging. Another company, http://www.geron.com
    uses a telomerase promoter to grow gene-stable stem cells which will be used in human therapies to repair the pancreas in diabetes, repair heart wall damage, and repair spinal cords in the human trial just approved last week. Bush turned them down previously of course. Dr. Blackburn quit Bush’s bio-ethics panel, when she realized that science would be secondary relative to religious dogma. She was/is vocal about this, so bless her heart. Telomerase is a master cancer gene, switching many other genes to switch to cancer mode when telomerase is OVERexpressed probably due to a mutant telomerase.

    Dr. Blackburn on wikipedia:::: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Blackburn

    Dr. Blackburn’s website::: http://biochemistry.ucsf.edu/labs/blackburn/

    Dr. Blackburn’s lecture::: http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/discoveryseries/speaker.html?sid=31

    Mohammed Kashani-Sabet detailed that in melanoma, cells switch to anaerobic glycolysis the moment telomerase is overexpressed, and, that by inhibiting telomerase he was able to see melanoma cells die and even regain normal pigmentation. He details that this discovery also illustrates why PET scans show metastasis so well. Because glycolysis uses so much sugar to support the energy needs of a cancer cell, that it takes in a lot of the radioactive sugar injected into PET scan patients. This is on my long messy website.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/103/30/11306.abstract

    8 glycolysis genes shut down when telomerase is inhibited: http://www.oncolink.org/resources/article.cfm?c=3&s=8&ss=23&Year=2006&Month=7&id=13312

    Here is an interesting one, its on the DCA website but it’s a different approach completely. This reportedly allows the immune system to recognize cancer as an enemy. Cancer cells disable the immune system by a known mechanism, perhaps there is a fetal similarity with an exact mode of action but I’m not certain about how the fetus signals friend instead of foe to the immune system of the mother.

    Here is Dr. Robert A Weinberg who switches only a few genes and causes cancer in many human cell types, without using a carcinogen. It’s a tool used by many researchers around the world but is not being used by any EPA or government agency to determine if any of today’s chemicals cause switching of any of these very few genes.
    One of the genes he turned on is the gene for telomerase, another he turns off,, is a tumor suppressor gene(maybe the one switched by sodium phosphate???) the other gene he uses is a mutated oncogene.
    Dr. Weinberg’s MIT website: http://www.wi.mit.edu/research/faculty/weinberg.html

    His winning of the Otto Warburg prize: http://www.openpr.com/pdf/28377/Prof-Robert-A-Weinberg-receives-the-Otto-Warburg-Medal-sponsored-by-QIAGEN.pdf

    Dr. Laird, published in Nature Genetics, in 2008 “””” Cancer is a disease of an embryonic stem cell”””” link:

    to his abstract in Nature Genetics::: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v39/n2/abs/ng1941.html

    press on the study:: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-01/uosc-usi010807.php

    Artemisinin, the extract of the wormwood bark, called a magic bullet against cancer by the U. of Washington:

    A link to a little about Otto Warburg, the first link is most inclusive, , 1000 scientific papers and won a Nobel Prize,, what the heck!! :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Heinrich_Warburg

    my website: http://www.geocities.com/prime3end some preventive and treatment researc articles and papers, very messy site.

  • pam

    Hi Kim
    Have you joined the yahoo artemisinin and cancer site, theres a lot of info on there from people treating their animals with Artemisinin, it’s very active and informative.
    Pam

  • Dr. Dressler

    Kim,
    there is no substantiated artemisinin protocol, only people’s best guesses and opinions. There have been no true clinical studies nor protocol development. So we are left with opinions, which is often what we deal with in cancer care.
    Having said that, if you want to maximize Artemisinin effect, I would avoid Vit C by mouth all together. It does not reach the blood levels you need for cancer cell death anyway when taken by mouth. Please check out the post on Vit C in this blog.
    I need to check on the Avemar thing, not sure.
    I am sorry to hear that it spread with such a low probability of this occurring. Horrible.
    Take care and try to give Buster what he needs during this difficult time. More ideas coming in the e-book which should be out soon.
    D

  • Dr. Dressler

    Thanks! I’ll look into the DCA, already familiar with the transferrin stuff..
    D