Right now my conservative answer of the viability of this treatment is: it looks promising in theory, but it is too early to tell.
I look at VIABILITY of a cancer treatment along 2 general lines:
Promise of the cancer treatment and Scalability of the cancer treatment.
What makes any cancer treatment promising includes, but are not limited to:
Specificity — treatment must differentiate between abnormal cells and normal cells and be specific primarily if not solely to abnormal cells
Tolerability — treatment must be tolerable to patients such that the physical and emotional cost of receiving treatment does not exceed the benefits of receiving treatment (this is where we get into quality of life v. quantity of life debates)
Long term feasibility — treatment must be useful in the long term, both in terms of length of treatment as well as long term side effects. It is not uncommon for a cancer patient to keep one cancer in check with a cancer treatment, only to experience a secondary cancer due to the cancer treatment. This to me is trading one cancer down the road for getting rid of the cancer present in the body right now, and that’s not a good trade-off.
What makes a cancer treatment scalable includes, but are not limited to production concerns of:
Ease of production — treatment must be produced in large quantities with (relative) ease. If it is very complicated or difficult then the treatment becomes “too expensive” to produce thereby limiting affordability to a few.
Standardization of product — treatment production must be standardized so that from batch to batch you have fidelity of treatment “strength”. Autologous cancer vaccines for example, are not standardized because these require as raw materials the patient’s own tumor cells: every patient therefore gives rise to his/her own unique cancer vaccine. If it works, that’s great, but it will likely work only for that one patient.
Stability of product — treatment must endure distribution such that the treatment can get from one location (manufacturing) to the patient without losing its treatment strength. If you take out a vial of drug and it degrades within 5 seconds, it’s not going to do much good in a larger population.
I am not an expert in RF ablation therapy. But I can use the above rough criteria on the Kanzius cancer treatment and say “show me the human clinical trial data”.
I’m a stickler for wanting human clinical trial data, because I cannot tell you how many therapeutic interventions that look promising in preclinical (in vitro and in vivo) models that end up failing in human trials.
So when I see press releases from researchers who talk about preclinical data to generate a ton of buzz for themselves, I go a bit crazy. Because I see this as drumming up unproven hope for patients whose lives are literally on the line, and now you get the alternative (I’m NOT talking about complementary) therapy quacks flying in to prey on these patients by offering them large doses of colloidal silver or ginger pills or whatever pills that they will then talk about being “completely safe”. OK I’m digressing in this paragraph at this point, let me steer myself back to sanity.
The human clinical trials of RF ablation therapy will show us the degree of promise that this modality will deliver over the long term. It is too early to tell, and I fully support moving into human clinical trials to yield the data that we need to make any definitive statements.