Anthroposophic medicine and antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global health problem - Studies show the significant potential from anthroposophic and other integrative medicine approaches to safely reduce antimicrobial use. Find  IVAAs statement  here.

Have as well a look at the presentation prepared for the CAM Interest Group, European Parliament, Bruxelles 1April 2014 

In November 2015, on occasion of the "Antibiotics Awareness Day", the IVAA together with EUROCAM published the position paper

 The role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in reducing the problem of antimicrobial resistance

Studies on Anthroposophic Medicine in the Field of Clinical Oncology

Mistletoe in Cancer – an Overview 2014

22. August 2014 – Dr. med. Gunver S. Kienle, IFAEMM Freiburg,

Mistletoe extracts (Viscum album L., VAE) are among the most widely used integrative cancer care treatments, particularly in Europe [1-5]. They are an old herbal remedy [6,7], but were introduced into cancer treatment in 1920 by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman, founders of Anthroposophic Medicine [8]. Viscum album is a hemiparasitic shrub, growing on different host trees. Different mistletoe preparations are available for the treatment of cancer (currently Abnobaviscum®, Helixor®, Iscador®, Iscucin® and Lektinol®). They are available from different host trees such as oak, apple, pine and others. They are applied parenteral, particularly subcutaneously, but also intravenously, intratumorally, intrapleurally, intraperitoneally and else.

Several pharmacologically active compounds have been isolated from VAE, such as mistletoe lectins (ML I, II and III) [9], viscotoxins [10,11], oligo- and polysaccharides [12,13], lipophilic extracts [14] and various others [6,7]. The most prominent properties of VAE are their cytotoxic and growth-inhibiting effects, in vitro, on a variety of human tumour cell lines, lymphocytes and fibroblasts [6,7] . The cytotoxic effects of VAE are mainly due to the apoptosis-inducing mistletoe lectins [15-17], while the viscotoxins induce necrotic cell death [16,18]. VAE are also recognized for their immune-modulating activity: In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated activation of monocytes/macrophages, granulocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, T-cells (especially T-helper-cells) and the induction of various cytokines [6,7]. VAE also possess DNA stabilizing properties, they reduce chromosome damage and improve DNA repair [19-22]. VAE show antiangiogenetic effects [23]. In animals, VAE displays potent antitumor effects when administered either directly into the tumour or systemically [6,7,24].

Clinical effectiveness of mistletoe extracts in cancer has been investigated in a great number of studies, among these 43 prospective randomized controlled trials [25-71]: They predominantly report significant clinical benefits. With regard to quality of studies and consistency of results, the best evidence concerning efficacy of mistletoe therapy exists for the improvement of quality of life and improved tolerability of cytoreductive therapies (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery) [72,73]. Regarding survival, a well-designed randomized controlled trial has recently shown a highly significant benefit in advanced pancreatic cancer [26]. Other studies showed similar results [74-77]. Effectiveness seems to depend on the duration of the mistletoe therapy, in addition to factors relating to dosage, host tree and choice of preparation. Tumour remissions have been repeatedly observed after local application of high dose mistletoe extracts. This finding is consistent with the preclinical research on cytotoxicity and treatment of tumors in animals. During customary low-dose mistletoe therapy, tumour remissions are rare exceptions. Tumor remissions have therefore been reported primarily in case series and single cases. (e.g. [24,78-85])
Highly individualized and comprehensive treatment – individually adjusted and selected dosage, preparation, host tree, injection site, rhythm of administration, and supplementation with other interventions – is regarded to lead to far better health outcomes, according to highly experienced practitioners. This still needs to be investigated. [86,87]
Clinical application of mistletoe extracts is safe, even in high dosages [6,8,88-91].

Reference List


More studies on Misteltoe treatment:

Tröger W, Galun D, Reif M, Schumann A, Stankovic N, Milicevic M: Quality of life of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer during treatment with mistletoe—a randomized controlled trial. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2014, 111:493-502

Tröger W, Galun D, Reif M, Schumann A, Stankovic N, Milicevic M: Viscum album [L.] extract therapy in patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer: a randomised clinical trial on overall survival. Eur J Cancer 2013, 49:3788-3797

Mansky PJ, Wallerstedt DB, Sannes TS, Stagl J, Johnson LL, Blackman MR, Grem JL, Swain SM, Monahan BP: NCCAM/NCI Phase 1 Study of Mistletoe Extract and Gemcitabine in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 2013: 964592

Kienle GS, Grugel R, Kiene H: Safety of higher dosages of Viscum album L. in animals and humans - systematic review of immune changes and safety parameters. BMC Complement Altern Med 2011, 11:72

Anthroposophic supportive treatment in children with medulloblastoma receiving first-line therapy. Seifert G, Rutkowski S, Jesse P, Madeleyn R, Reif M, Henze G and Längler A. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2011;33(3):105-10 

Retrospective analysis of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer under palliative treatment and additive intratumoral application of viscum album l. F. Schad, D. Buchwald, A. Merkle, S. Popp, M. Kroez, H. Matthes:  J Clin Oncol 29: 2011 (suppl; abstract e14538).

Influence of Viscum album L (European Mistletoe) Extracts on Quality of Life in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review of Controlled Clinical Studies.Kienle GS and Kiene H. Integrative Cancer Therapies 2010:1-16. 

Molecular mistletoe therapy: friend or foe in established anti-tumor protocols? A multicenter, controlled, retrospective pharmaco-epidemiological study in pancreas cancer. Matthes H, Friedel WE, Bock PR, Zanker KS. Curr Mol Med 2010; 10: 430-9.

Durable tumour responses following primary high dose induction with mistletoe extracts: Two case reportsOrange M, Fonseca M, Lace A, vonLaue HB, Geider S. European Journal of Integrative Medicine 2010;2:63-69.

Anthroposophic Medicine in Paediatric Oncology in Germany: Results of a Population-Based Retrospective Parental Survey. Alfred Längler, Claudia Spix, Friedrich Edelhäuser, David D. Martin,  
Genn Kameda, Peter Kaatsch and Georg Seifert. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2010 DOI 10.1002/pbc. 

The influence of self- and autonomic regulation on cancer-related fatigue and distress in breast and colorectal cancer patients - A prospective study.Kröz M, Zerm R, Kuhnert N, Brauer D, Laue HBv, Bockelbrink A, Reif M, Schad F, Feder G, Heckmann C, Laue von S, Willich S, Girke M. European Journal of Integrative Medicine 2009;1(4):182. 

Evaluation of quality of life/life satisfaction in women with breast cancer in complementary and conventional care. Carlsson M, Arman M, Backman M, Flatters U, Hatschek T, Hamrin E. Acta Oncol. 2004;43(1):27-34. 





Last update 13.7.2016©IVAA 2016


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