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Dr. Theodore J. Lampidis, Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, recently received a Congressional Record in honor of his work studying the combination of two non-toxic drugs to treat cancer. Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen spoke about UM and Lampidis’ research on the U.S. House floor on July 13, 2016.
“One of the leading research universities in the country, the University of Miami has developed a pool of world-class talent and advanced infrastructure that is helping lead the science and tech boom that is shaping South Florida’s future for the better,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen while addressing the Speaker of the House.
“Among the exciting research breakthroughs taking place at Coral Gables is the work of the Lampidis lab at the Miller School of Medicine.
“Dr. Lampidis and his associates have found that, when given in combination with a common cholesterol medication, non-toxic 2-DG therapy effectively kills tumors without the use of harsh, conventional chemotherapy drugs. I congratulate Dr. Lampidis and his lab for their efforts to improve our community, our nation, and our world.”
Previously, Dr Lampidis’s laboratory has gained international recognition and leadership in the exploitation of increased glucose metabolism in cancer cells using the sugar analog 2-deoxy-D-glucose (better known as 2-DG). Cancer cells found in the inner core of all solid tumors – due to the abnormally low levels of oxygen in that location – must rely on the process of glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose for energy, to survive. These cells, by nature of their slow growth, have been found to be the most resistant to conventional cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. Lampidis and his team showed that a false sugar such as 2-DG, which blocks glycolysis, selectively starves these slow-growing cancer cells while sparing normal cells. His latest research is based on a combination therapy using 2-DG and fenofibrate, a well-studied cholesterol medication, to effectively target the entire tumor without the need for toxic chemotherapy.
“I am very thankful to Representative Ros-Lehtinen for discussing our important cancer research at UM in the US House of Representatives,” said Lampidis. “We believe our findings effectively pave the way for using non-toxic treatments for a wide variety of cancers.”
Click here to read about Lampidis’ latest study on 2-DG and fenofibrate.
Theodore J. Lampidis from Brooklyn is a man of many talents: accomplished musician, songwriter, and stand-up comedian (his friends describe him as a cross between Woody Allen and Billy Crystal). This Harvard educated research scientist is also a Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. And he could just be sitting on one of the holy grails of medicine – a universal cure for cancer.
Dr. Lampidis has published more than 100 research papers in respected scientific journals, but it is his latest review article, The Wonders of 2-DG, which is causing a stir in the scientific community and receiving rave reviews from his peers around the world. It is a distillation of his work over the last 30 years into glucose metabolism and its effect on cancerous tumors.
There is an elegant simplicity to Dr. Lampidis’ groundbreaking research which has universal appeal. He is a pioneer in exploring and exploiting the unique usage of glucose in cancer cells using a simple sugar compound called 2-Deoxyglucose (2-DG). His discovery is based on the fact that the cancer cells most resistant to chemotherapy found within the inner core of all solid tumors do not receive enough oxygen (a state known as hypoxia) and therefore must rely exclusively on sugar to survive. Dr. Lampidis hypothesized he could trick these hypoxic tumor cells by feeding them 2-DG and effectively starving them to death. This process (glycolysis) is so fundamental, it has survived a billion years of evolution dating back to a time when there was no oxygen in our atmosphere and the only source of energy that could be used to keep tiny microbes alive was sugar.
Dr. Lampidis’ eureka moment led to two consecutive five-year awards from the National Cancer Institute, which stated in the reviews of his research that “Dr. Lampidis’ work could eventually lead to cures in certain cancers.”
In addition, working in collaboration with Dr. Tim Murray, a world leading expert in the investigation and treatment of children with eye cancer (retinoblastoma), Dr. Lampidis and his colleagues have provided the first proof of principle that 2-DG targets and kills the hypoxic portion of cancerous tumor cells. According to Dr. Murray, “2-DG may turn out to be best thing to come along in this disease in the last 10 years.”
Based on Dr. Lampidis’ work, an FDA-approved Phase I clinical trial was conducted to determine the tolerable dose level of 2-DG. The results of the Phase I trial (which have recently been published) establish the safety of this drug and its remarkable effectiveness in killing cancerous tumors. The next stage is to investigate and develop the most effective combination treatments and drug delivery method before progressing to a Phase II clinical trial.
And that’s where he has hit a roadblock. The unfortunate reality is that since 2-DG cannot be patented, pharma companies are not interested in devoting their resources to bring this wonder drug to market. “If 2-DG could be patented, this drug would already be available to cancer sufferers worldwide. That’s the tragic reality,” says Lampidis ruefully.
A dedicated group of volunteers have banded together and established a not-for-profit foundation in 2013 to raise awareness for Dr Lampidis’ groundbreaking work. Their goal is to raise $10 million to accelerate the journey through clinical trials and FDA approval and bring this miracle cure to market.
“Every day, people are out there raising money to cure cancer,” says Leyan Phillips, Executive Director of the Lampidis Cancer Foundation. “The sad reality is that very little of that money ends up going to research scientists who are actually working on a cure. This is where the funding is needed the most.”
Phillips continues, “I find it shocking that some cancer foundation executives earn salaries in excess of $500,000 a year, and have advertising budgets the size of a major corporation. If Dr. Lampidis had a fraction of that funding, we would have a cure for cancer by now.”
Dr. Lampidis’ work has recently attracted support and interest from an eclectic group of celebrities, including Jose Feliciano, the virtuoso guitarist, singer and songwriter, and Mexican TV novella actress Lorena Rojas, herself a breast cancer sufferer. Rojas has been instrumental in raising awareness among the Hispanic community, where cancer has now overtaken heart disease as the single biggest killer.
According to Rojas, “What I love about Dr. Lampidis’ work is that his research offers a universal approach to treating all types of cancer. His work offers sufferers like me hope.”
He also has a fan from an unlikely source in music maestro DJ Irie, the official DJ of the Miami Heat who was recently recognized at an award ceremony in New York as NBA DJ of the Year. “Dr Lampidis rocks!” exclaims DJ Irie, who spent time last month visiting the Professor in his lab to learn more about his research. “I will do what I can to spread the word about his work.”
Whilst the University of Miami has been very supportive of his work, resources are limited due to budget cuts and reductions in federal funding from the National Institutes of Health, and from a team of five post graduate researchers in his lab he finds himself left with just one technician, who has been with him for 15 years.
Despite the lack of resources, he continues to be the global leader in his field, with his research attracting international interest and acclaim from as far afield as Spain and Japan, all inquiring about 2-DG’s availability for further clinical testing.
“Whenever we come up with an idea using 2-DG and cancer, we review the literature and find that Dr. Lampidis has already beaten us to it!” says one of his overseas colleagues who is now collaborating with Dr. Lampidis on rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attacks skeletal muscle tissue.
“We’ve made such great progress over the last few years, the science is solid, and I really feel we’re on the brink of a universal treatment for cancer,” says Dr. Lampidis. “But without funding, there is a risk that cancer sufferers will be unable to access this treatment.”
“We’re hoping that a major benefactor will come along and see the opportunity to leave their mark on the world, to leave behind a legacy for mankind,” says Phillips.
As a call to action, they don’t come much more compelling than that.
With the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget for medical research dropping by 25 percent in real terms over the last decade, researchers are increasingly looking to crowdsourcing to keep their work going. According to a recent article in Time magazine, the U.S. is losing its edge because of belt-tightening that’s limiting medical innovation. The article quotes Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH: “We have investigators in the U.S. who have great ideas, talent, creativity and energy who are frankly at the point of giving up. That means all the talent and investment they represent is potentially being squandered.” This innovation gap has prompted a number of start-ups operating a crowdfunding model to emerge – raising small amounts of cash from lots of different people rather than a large sum from one. Websites like Experiment, Consano and Give to Cure all help researchers to raise funding for clinical trials that may accelerate new drug discovery.
At the Lampidis Cancer Foundation, we have launched a campaign on crowdfunding site GoFundMe.com to raise funding for essential lab supplies to enable Dr. Lampidis to continue his pioneering work using 2-DG as a universal treatment for cancer. It will require a massive collective effort from all of us to bring this treatment to market, which is why your help and support is so vital. As the Time article graphically illustrates, it will take 250,000 people donating just $20 each to fund our Phase II clinical trial. So think about donating a week’s worth of Starbucks to the cause.
Students at the renowned Medical Academy for Science and Technology (MAST Academy), a secondary magnet high school located in Homestead, Florida, have recently launched a campaign to support the goal of the Lampidis Cancer Foundation to raise funds and awareness for 2-DG research and help develop a universal cure for cancer.
2-DG is the focus of Dr. Theodore Lampidis’ groundbreaking cancer research at the University of Miami. He discovered that those cancer cells within a tumor that are resistant to standard chemotherapy can be effectively targeted and killed by using 2-DG, a simple analog of glucose. Furthermore, Dr. Lampidis has recently found that by combining 2-DG with fenofibrate, a commonly used cholesterol medication, the entire tumor can be killed without the need for toxic chemotherapy.
Even though Dr. Lampidis’ work has recently received Congressional recognition, 2-DG cannot be patented, so pharmaceutical companies are not interested in funding research that they can’t make money from. And federal funding for cancer research has suffered a sharp decline in recent years.
Max Losner, Senior Class President at MAST, commented: “MAST students represent the future of scientific research and discovery. It’s up to us to step in where industry is failing, and raise the flag for viable cancer treatments like 2-DG. We plan to spread the word through social media, and encourage other students at schools and universities to join our cause.”
“We are delighted and honored to have the recognition and support of the very talented students at MAST @ Homestead,” said Dr. Lampidis, after giving a lecture on the fundamentals of 2-DG to the students. “Their enthusiasm is infectious, and the Students for 2-DG! initiative will undoubtedly make a significant impact in our fight to bring this universal cancer treatment to benefit patients worldwide.”
Follow us at: @Studentsfor2DG
RE: Project Moonshot – Developing a Universal Cure for Cancer Using 2-DG
March 8, 2016
Dear Vice President Biden,
Allow me to first express how sorry I was to hear about the untimely death of your son Beau from cancer. Please accept my sincere condolences. We have all lost too many family members and friends to this devastating disease, and finding a cure must become a global priority.
I was immensely encouraged to read your recent, timely announcement regarding Project Moonshot, and your call to arms to the global scientific community to accelerate the search for a cure for cancer. This is something that I have devoted my professional life to, and am writing to ask for your assistance to provide the final breakthrough.
Our laboratory has gained international recognition and leadership in the exploitation of increased glucose metabolism in cancer cells using the sugar analog 2-deoxy-D-glucose (better known as 2-DG) as a universal treatment for cancer. Until three years ago, our work had received almost continuous funding in the form of grants from the National Cancer Institute, who themselves have stated in their reviews of our lab’s research that “Dr Lampidis’ work could eventually lead to cures in certain cancers.”
I, as well as a growing number of research scientists and physicians from the global community (many of whom have endorsed this letter) believe that the biochemical principles supporting 2-DG as a universal treatment for cancer are as fundamental as the physical laws governing gravity.
The following brief paragraph will explain why.
Molecular biology has demonstrated that all the major genes (oncogenes) responsible for driving cancer also have a pathway by which they increase glucose uptake within all tumor cells regardless of their origin. These findings support and explain results from millions of PET scans demonstrating that glucose is taken up more by tumors than normal tissues. Our discovery is based on the fact that the cancer cells most resistant to chemotherapy found within the inner core of all solid tumors do not receive enough oxygen, and therefore must rely exclusively on sugar to survive. Feeding these hypoxic tumor cells a false sugar such as 2-DG effectively ‘starves’ them to death. We have proven this time and again in in vitro and in vivo studies.
Unfortunately, despite a very promising and successful Phase I clinical trial, we have hit a major roadblock in our funding. The sad reality is that given the non-patentable nature of 2-DG and the resulting dis-incentive to the pharmaceutical industry, not to mention politics and conflicts of interest within grant setting bodies, our funding has dried up. Thus, we have had to resort to philanthropy and the tireless work of volunteers to raise awareness of our cause of bringing this universal cancer treatment through the remaining phases of clinical trials to make it available to patients. It will take the vision and support of individuals in positions of authority to achieve that. I believe that you are ideally positioned to lead the way and champion a cause that will benefit mankind immeasurably.
Three weeks ago, a review article titled “Energy disruptors: rising stars in anticancer therapy” was published in a Nature sponsored journal citing our work and extolling the virtues of 2-DG as an anticancer agent. The authors conclude their discussion of 2-DG questioning: why are there no further clinical trials at NIH with 2-DG? This unsolicited and non-biased endorsement adds to the growing interest in the scientific community in 2-DG as a universal treatment for cancer.
I have attached a link to a review paper we published last year titled, “The Wonders of 2-DG” which explains the science in more detail.
I would welcome an opportunity to meet with you and your team to discuss the importance of this work and the urgent need for your assistance to ensure that this viable cure for cancer is not overlooked.
Theodore J. Lampidis, Ph.D.
The following have endorsed this letter:
Timothy G. Murray, MD MBA FACS, Founding Director, Miami Ocular Oncology and Retina (MOOR) Miami, FL; Metin Kurtoglu, MD, PhD Medical Oncologist, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey. Mark A. Lehrman, PhD Professor of Pharmacology, UT-Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Luis E. Raez MD FACP FCCP, Chief Hematology/Oncology & Medical Director, Memorial Cancer Institute, Hollywood, FL. Frederic Bost, PhD, Research Director, INSERM U1065, C3M 151 Route de St Antoine de Ginestière, Nice, France. Jiyong Liang, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Systems Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Houston, TX. Bilikere S Dwarakanath, PhD, Professor, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, India. Javier Cortes MD PhD, Head, Breast Cancer and Gyn Tumors, Ramon y Cajal University Hospital, Madrid, Spain; Investigator, Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Barcelona, Spain. Steven J. Melnick, Ph.D., M.D., Chief, Department of Pathology and Clinical Laboratories, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL. Jean-Ehrland Ricci, PhD, Research Director, INSERM U1065, C3M, 151 Route de St Antoine de Ginestière Nice, France. Guillermo DeAngulo, MD, Associate Professor, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL. Branko Cuglievan MD, Pediatric Oncology fellow, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Cristina Munoz-Pinedo, PhD, Group Leader – Oncology Program, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Barcelona, Spain. Steven Vanni, DO, DC, Neurosurgeon, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Associate Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery, Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Miami, FL. Katherine B. Philips, PhD, Health Care Education Manager, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Alexandria, VA. Jonathan C. Maher, PhD, Scientific Director, Biopharmaceutical Professional, Chicago, IL. Keith Webster, PhD, Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Director, Vascular Biology Institute, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL. Guy J. Leclerc, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Miami, FL. Regina M. Graham, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Director UMBTI Research Laboratory, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL. Gilles M. Leclerc, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Miami, FL. Cheppail Ramachandran, PhD, MBA, Sr. Research Scientist, Department of Pathology, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL. Medhi Wangpaichitr, PhD, Research Scientist, Miami VA Healthcare System, Miami, FL. Mitchel A. Gregg, MD, Diplomat, American Boards of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, Chief of Radiology, Gastro Health, Miami, FL. Daniel James Snyder, FACHE, CEO, Asia Pacific Partners, Mumbai, India. Leyan Phillips, Executive Director, Lampidis Cancer Foundation, Miami, FL.
Photography courtesy of NBC Nightly News
As we embark on another year where cancer is expected to surpass heart disease as the number one death-causing disease in numerous states in America including Florida, it becomes imperative to find more effective and less toxic treatments. Just last week, President Obama designated Vice President Biden to spearhead “Moonshot” – yet another program dedicated to curing cancer.
It is difficult to believe and accept that the sugar analog 2-deoxy-D-glucose, better known as 2-DG, still is not approved for clinical use. We and many others have shown 2-DG to be much less toxic than standard chemotherapy, and have proven it to be more effective against a broader range of tumors than any other known treatment. We have set the clinical groundwork for 2-DG to help cancer patients by successfully completing an FDA-approved Phase I Clinical Trial, but without further pre-clinical work to bring it through the required subsequent trials it will remain stalled in development.
Last year, several laboratories reported on the unique effectiveness of 2-DG in cancers where it has not been tried before. A recent example is a report titled Antileukemic Activity of 2-Deoxy-d-Glucose Through Inhibition of N-Linked Glycosylation in Acute Myeloid Leukemia with FLT3-ITD or c-KIT Mutations (published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, October 6, 2015). AML is a particularly deadly form of leukemia that not only affects adults but now has become the second most common cancer in children.
In collaboration with three other labs this past year alone, we have reported on the effectiveness of 2-DG in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) as well as rhabdomyosarcomas – both cancers that afflict children as well as adults. Moreover, in addition to its direct effect on these types of tumor cells, we have shown that 2-DG also acts as an anti-angiogenic drug – shutting down the blood supply required for a tumor to grow and survive
The evidence for using 2-DG to treat cancer is growing year by year. And yet it remains mired in academic medicine. 2-DG can’t be patented. Therefore pharma companies can’t make money out of it. No profit means no interest from industry. The only barrier preventing 2-DG from progressing through the next phase of clinical trials is funding. That’s why we are relying on the general public to bring this pioneering treatment protocol to patients.
Learn more or donate now at lampidisfoundation.org.
It’s really very simple. The high rate of mutation giving rise to too many different types of cancer cells in a growing tumor has made it nearly impossible for so-called “tailored” or “targeted” therapy to succeed. Billions of dollars have been spent so far using this approach with modest to little benefit to most cancer patients treated.
So why not come up with a new strategy that is based on a more rational approach?
For more than 30 years the results from literally millions of PET scans has shown us that tumors take up more glucose than normal surrounding tissues. But only more recently has the reason for this increased glucose uptake in tumors become known.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly when one thinks about it, the same genes that are driving cancer (oncogenes) have been found to be responsible for directing a cancer cell to take up more glucose.
Using sophisticated techniques such as NMR and Mass Spec it has been shown that the glucose molecule is not only a vital energy source but provides the building blocks required for a cell to replicate.
Thus, increased glucose metabolism is the universal trait that investigators have long been seeking in their quest to find a feature common to all cancer cells regardless of their tissue origin or genetic (oncogene) profile.
Our approach, therefore, using the analog of glucose, 2-deoxy-D-glucose , better known as 2-DG, takes advantage of this natural window of selectivity that increased glucose uptake provides in cancer vs. normal cells.
We have provided proof of principle that 2-DG works in many different tumor cell types when grown in the lab in vitro (in dishes) and have advanced our ideas in vivo (in tumor animal models). Our results have taken 2-DG all the way up to and including completion of an FDA-approved Phase I human clinical trial.
So why isn’t this universal treatment for cancer not already helping cancer patients suffering from this devastating disease world-wide?
There are many answers to that question, but the major obstacle that has slowed the development of 2-DG is that it is not patentable.
Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry is not interested in providing the financial resources required to put it through the next phase of clinical trials needed to make 2-DG a frontline treatment.
Other obstacles, less obvious but perhaps equally important, preventing 2-DG from reaching patients are the unwillingness of those in control of funds to devote the resources to treatments that they are either not part of or, for personal or political reasons, are against.
Although our lab and this work has attracted and been awarded National Institutes of Health Grants for more than 20 years, the funding from these sources is dwindling and we have therefore turned to philanthropy to get us to the next step. So please take a moment to explore our website further to learn more about our work and to see why we are asking you to join us in helping bring this universal treatment to benefit cancer patients world-wide.
A new paper by a well-respected research scientist has just been published today in an equally well-respected journal (PLoS ONE), adding to the overwhelming case for 2-DG to be used as a universal treatment for cancer. In this article, the investigators demonstrate that by delivering 2-DG chronically in the diet, a lethal form of cancer, Ehrlich’s Ascites tumor, can be inhibited in mice.
There is now more than enough third-party evidence to back up the results from the Lampidis Lab, which itself has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications on the mechanisms by which 2-DG exerts its remarkably selective effects on a wide variety of cancer types. We are confident that we are indeed on the right track, and must redouble our efforts to overcome the obstacles of enabling 2-DG to be used to treat cancer patients world-wide.
It has become quite clear that because 2-DG has such widespread application in so many different cancer types, regardless of their tissue of origin as well as their oncogenic profile, the pharmaceutical industry is not interested in seeing this universal cancer treatment progress from the Phase I human clinical trials we have been through. Unfortunately, since no-one owns the compositional patent rights to this drug, there is little monetary incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to provide the financial resources required to bring 2-DG through the next phases of human trials to make it available as a frontline anti-cancer agent.
I firmly believe that the biochemical laws behind why 2-DG is a universal, relatively non-toxic treatment for cancer, are as solid as those physical laws responsible for gravity. There is an axiom in science that most of us live by and want to believe: “The truth will prevail”. Our hope is that one day this will apply to 2-DG finally being approved for patient use.
Hopefully, with the help of those reading this blog and reaching out to friends, associates and relatives to join us, the day that 2-DG can be made available to treat the millions that are now suffering from this devastating disease will come sooner rather than later.
Here’s a link to the research publication: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26135741