Apocaps … natural cancer treatment or what?

Promising New Canine Natural Health Supplement

Here’s a little report taken from Great Scots Magazine of February 2012. We don’t need to remind you though, that if your Scottie is exhibiting unusual health behavior you must visit your own Vet to seek proper medical advice.
I found this article in a newspaper when we were in Hawaii in November 2010. I clipped it out and then passed it along to some friends with Scotties. One of the Scotties developed bladder cancer and my friend got the Apocaps through Amazon.com and started her Scottie on them. Within two months, the symptoms virtually disappeared. The Scottie has been living with bladder cancer for over a year and is experiencing great quality of life (no other treatment is taking place). I started Dashiell on the caplets this past summer when tests indicated elevated liver enzymes. His energy level has increased and several people have remarked to me how much more energy he has and how good his coat looks. I’m taking him back in at the end the month to have the enzymes checked again and I’m going to be interested to see if the Apocaps have helped in lowering them. And finally, I received word of another friend’s Scottie also diagnosed with with a bladder cancer tumour. Three bottles of Apocaps later and two ultrasounds, the vet cannot find any tumour at all. The Scottie has returned to his normal peppy self. While this may not be a miracle supplement I still think it is pretty incredible that three dogs’ quality of life have improved with the Apocaps. They are expensive $60 for a bottle but compared with vet bills, cancer treatments, etc., they may end up being a bargain in the long run.

Courtesy Great Scots Magazine, February 2012.

Natural cancer treatment for dogs grabs attention of National Institutes of Health

By Lee Imada with Susan Hamman, reprinted with kind permission of Joseph Harvill, editor, owner, publisher of Great Scots Magazine

A Hawaii-based company that early in 2010 began marketing a dietary supplement for dogs, many suffering from cancer, has won a $244,479 federal grant to look into human cancer-fighting applications for its research.

Apocaps, marketed by Functional Nutriments LLC, was developed by Kihei, Hawaii, veterinarian Demain Dressler after years of after-hours research. The supplement invigorates a natural biological process called apoptosis or programmed cell death, according to the product’s description.

“The common problem with all cancers is that apoptosis dies, the cancer cells live and keep growing” said James Jacobson, chief executive officer of the company and Dressler’s partner in this venture. Their product “helps restart the apoptosis process so that cells naturally start committing suicide” he explained.

Old, damaged, cancerous and other “deranged cells” are programmed to be destroyed through apoptosis for the health of the body, explained Dressler. Normal cells have gas pedals and brake pedals, controlled by genes. Cell growth can be halted when needed or turned on in the case of injury. Cancer cells only have a gas pedal.

“We have been able to find compounds in plants that can activate the genes that cause brake pedal to be depressed,” said Dressler, owner of South Shore Veterinary Care.

The development of Apocaps began more than four years ago when Dressler, a graduate of Seabury Hall and the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, looked around his office and saw another dog with cancer. All he could do for the animal was “surgery’ chemo and a trip to the mainland for radiation,” he recalled.

The treatment would be costly, ranging from $5000 to $8000. The average payoff is an increased life expectancy of six months, he said.

Cancer is the No. 1 killer of dogs, with one in three contracting cancer in their lifetimes. Half of dogs 10 years and older will get cancer, and there are 4,200 deaths daily due to dog cancer, he said.

“It’s a massive problem and an epidemic,” said Dressler. He decided to try to do something about it. “I was always stimulated by big challenges. What bigger challenge is there out there than cancer?” he said. “The truth of it is cancer is kicking our rear ends all over the place.”

He poured through thousands of studies on apoptogens for three years to find compounds that were safe, that would stay in the body and that could be administered in pill form at home. Among his rejects were compounds that would be excreted rapidly or broken down by the body, rendering them ineffective, while others required too large a dose before it could kill the cancer.

He contracted with a biotech company to design and fabricate four different compounds. He tested the results on 31 dogs in his clinic. “I got exciting results,” he said, noting that tumours in some dogs shrank.

Dressler also found that Apocaps had anti-inflammatory qualities and served as “chemo-sensitisers” which improve the effectiveness of cancer-fighting drugs.

He got together with Jacobson, the owner of Maui Media publishing company. They had met on a beach in 2003, and Dressler became the veterinarian for Jacobson’s dog. Later Jacobson helped Dressler publish his book, The Dog Cancer Survival Guide : Beyond Surgery, Chemotherapy & Radiation.

With a couple hundred capsules of Apocaps in hand, the veterinarian told his friend: “I have this idea, and it could be really big.”

Jacobson did some research and saw potential in the product. They formed Functional Nutriments with Dressler handling the product development and research, and Jacobson business and marketing.

They decided to market their apoptogen product as a nutraceutical rather than a pharmaceutical. Nutraceuticals, which have a less rigorous certification process and are less costly to bring to market than pharmaceuticals, include high-potency, naturally derived compounds that have health benefits such as fish oils, digestive enzymes and dietary supplements.

A negative of going the nutraceutical route us that Dressler and Jacobson cannot advertise their product as a cancer cure or anti-cancer supplement. It is a “life-quality enhancer,” said Jacobson.

Still, “most of the people who find out about it have a dog with cancer,” said Jacobson. Others are using the pills at half dose to bring more pep and energy to their dogs. “The proof is in the pudding because they are purchasing. ”

The CEO of the privately owned company did not give out sales figured for Apocaps, but said “it’s doing well.” They are receiving orders for Apocaps, which can be purchased on amazon.com from around the world, including places such as India and Britain, he said.

The federal grant, administered by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Human Services, provided a major boost to the company. The $1 billion available, through the Obama health care initiative, was for small companies creating medical therapies with potential to reduce health care costs, to improve U.S. competitiveness or to significantly advance the goal of curing cancer within the next 30 years. The National Institutes of Health reviewed the $10 billion in applicants received for the grants.

The cash grant to Functional Nutriments was the highest a single project cold receive, a news release reported.

These are difficult times for an Act 221 high-tech company, which receives state tax credits,to raise capital. Efforts are under way to partner with and to bring investors on board, Jacobson said. Dressler said he will be meeting EI top officials of the nutraceutical giant Nutramax.

Functional Nutriments employs a handful of people in a “virtual company” setup, Jacobson said. Instead of being under one roof, the company does its research, product production and customer support at different sites on the mainland. Apocaps is produced in a lab on the East Coast.

The grant “enables us to grow the company especially on the science side” and increase staff, Jacobson said.

“The next step is to get a ‘souped up’ Apocaps on the market,” Dressler said. While the company research model currently involves dogs, the veterinarian pointed out that dogs are often used in cancer research, because there are “many similarities between dogs and human beings and cancer,” he said.

“If we’re able to make it work in dogs we ought to be able to make it work in people,” said Dressler, adding that applying their research to humans is the long-term goal of the company.

“This could be a tremendous coup for people facing cancer and chemotherapy and radiation, and we will use dogs as springboards.”

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