Cancer and PEMF
Disclaimer: Please note that these pages are for general information purposes only. The opinions and information have not been evaluated by the FDA. They should not be considered complete in terms of the physical conditions discussed, or construed as healthcare advice.
Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably with the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue and with the ability to spread throughout your body. If you have cancer, there are three main conventional medical methods to treat the disease: surgery to remove large collections of cells (tumors), chemotherapy which acts like a poison to kill cells, or radiation therapy to burn up cells.
Complementary and alternative medicine is not generally considered part of conventional medicine; however, it has been widely used in the oncology (cancer) field as an add-on therapy to control patient’s symptoms and improve quality of life. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] Some of the complementary and alternative medicine therapies for cancer treatment include acupuncture, cryotherapy, therapeutic touch (Reiki), and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy. [8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]
PEMF therapy presents several potential advantages including non-invasiveness, safety, lack of toxicity for noncancerous cells and the possibilities of being combined with other available therapies. PEMF therapy can be used as an adjunct treatment to chemotherapy and radiation with the aim of reducing their dosage, mitigating any harmful secondary side effects, and enhancing patient’s survivability. [9, 14, 15, 16, 17]
Studies in both the lab and in animals support antineoplastic (anti-cancer growth) and anti- angiogenic (anti-blood vessel growth) effects of PEMF therapy. Several mechanisms of PEMF therapy have been elucidated. For example, PEMF inhibits cancer growth by disrupting the mitotic spindle, a process mediated by interference of spindled tubular orientation and induction of dielectrophoresis. This process changes the way a cancer cell divides into new cells, limiting the cancer growth. Furthermore, PEMF therapy modulates gene expression and protein synthesis interacting with specific DNA sequences within gene promoter regions. This process changes how the cancer cells use their proteins to grow, function and survive. [15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] In addition, PEMF inhibits angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) in tumor tissues, suppressing tumor vascularization and reducing tumor growth. [22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27]
A continuously increasing number of studies are demonstrating the anticancer activity of PEMF, but each study only shows the impact in a specific “window” of action. Each study only explains how PEMF worked uniquely on that cancer, leaving a lot of pieces of information missing from the puzzle of treatment. Many parameters on which the cancer cellular response depends, such as the type of PEMF used, the frequencies and doses, the length of time and frequency of treatment, the genetics that are specific to the type of cancer being treated, are not clearly defined and cannot be generalized (applied) to other cancers. In the presence of such a complex disease, like cancer, more clinical trials are required, but the information so far are demonstrating the clinical application of PEMF could prove an innovative, alternative and/or adjuvant therapeutic approach in cancer treatment.
Dr. Amanda Myers, MD, MSPH
Aura Medical Director
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