Dr. Masahiko Higashiyama and Dr. Kazuyuki Oda, both doctors at the Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases in Osaka, Japan were like doctors in other countries. They went to work each day, diagnosed cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma, did their best to treat it, and all the while knowing that really, it wouldn’t be long before the patient succumbed to the disease.- as there were very few to no chances of mesothelioma being cured.
By the time that someone is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the disease is at an advanced stage. Surely treatments such as immunotherapy, molecular-targeted therapy, and gene therapy are ones that could be tried, but expecting long-term survival in the patient just isn’t practical. Cases mesothelioma fully cured of this are exceptional
Meet Mr. X, Mesothelioma Patient
Dr. Higashiyama and Dr. Oda’s patient was 73-years old. He had a 75-pack-year history of cigarette smoking. In his 30s, he was exposed to asbestos.
Right there the situation didn’t look good to the doctors. Asbestos has a latency period and then hits the patient hard with mesothelioma later. Plus the fact that this man was smoking, and thereby weakening his own lungs and immune system from the bad habit, didn’t help the situation- aiding in finding a cure for mesothelioma.
The patient – who we will call Mr. X – was admitted to have surgery on the mesothelioma in his right lung. However, the tumor was very aggressive and the doctors opted for a lesser surgery. Meanwhile the mesothelioma stayed in the mediastino-hilar region close to the esophagus and right main bronchus.
The pathology report wasn’t good. Mr. X had Stage IV cancer. He did get chemotherapy and three months later the imaging studies showed that the tumor wasn’t progressing- yet the mesothelioma was not cured.
But now we know that chemotherapy never touches the cancer stem cells. In fact, it kills the body’s own stem cells and leaves the resistant cancer stem cells growing. And that was made evident five months later when Mr. X felt poorly and his chest pain wouldn’t go away. X-rays showed his airway was narrowing but this time he refused chemotherapy and radiation.
Mr. X Gets An Idea – and Goes for It! (What the Heck, It Is His Life…)
The next month, Mr. X took his situation into his own hands. He began taking a mushroom extract containing Agaricus blazei Murill Kyowa (ABMK). This is an edible mushroom in the category of medicinal mushrooms. It’s found commonly in Brazil. The mushroom may also be called Agaricus brasiliensis and its nicknames are almond mushroom, God’s mushroom, and mushroom of the sun.
Mr. X also engaged in parasympathetic nerve stimulation therapy in another hospital. The parasympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that calms us down, rather than getting us all revved up ready to fight or flee from a stressful situation. The nerve stimulation therapy is a type of acupuncture treatment for immune system modulation, that is, allowing the immune system to correct itself – on the way to the stage of mesothelioma cured.
God’s Mushroom and Acupuncture Start Giving Positive Benefits
Two weeks later, he started to improve quite distinctly. Four months later, the tumor had significantly decreased and finally completely disappeared on the chest CT scan.
Mr. X continued doing what he was doing for the next three years. His doctors saw complete tumor disappearance during his 29-month follow-up.
About 15 months later, there was evidence that the cancer stem cells were at work again, causing a tumor to grow slowly but Mr. X didn’t give up. He kept doing his treatment.
The doctors concluded that ABMK – his mushroom extract – inhibited the growth of the tumor by modulating the immune system and also shutting down the growth of new capillaries that could feed new ‘sprouted’ cancer cells.
Other researchers have reported that ABMK increases natural killer cell activity in gynecological cancer patients. The acupuncture treatment could provide a beneficial effect by enhancing the immune system cells’ functions. However, no one has reported what happened in Mr. X with either of these treatments before.
The doctors couldn’t sufficiently explain how Mr. X’s mesothelioma tumor disappeared. However, they believe that some immunological reactions of his body to the tumor were at work.
Mesothelioma Cured: What Can We Learn From This?
The case of Mr. X is inspiring. Very few mesothelioma cases are given an extended life after their medical treatment, yet Mr. X lived for quite a few years after his medical treatment.
His case offers some hope to patients with mesothelioma who are given a death sentence. It’s difficult to deal with any death sentence, whether it’s two months or a year or even 5 years. Mr. X has shown us that having the courage to step out and think outside the box and do something that may make a difference – may indeed make a difference for oneself and others in the future.
Higashiyama, M., et al. Malignant pleural mesothelioma with long-term tumor disappearance of a local relapse after surgery: a case report. J Med Case Reports 2009 Mar 27;3:6800. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2726485/
Hetland, G., et al. Effects of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on immunity, infection and cancer. Scand J Immunol 2008 Oct;68(4):363-70.