Low Dose Naltrexone for Cancer

Some background on LDN and Cancer

Thanks to Dr. Raymond Chang for this enlightening discussion. See the original here.

Naltrexone for Cancer

Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist approved and used for management of alcohol and opioid dependency. Low dose naltrexone or LDN (at 1/10th of the dose used for drug rehab) however has been proposed as an off-label therapy for a broad range of immune disorders such as HIV, MS, autoimmune thyroiditis, and colitis, and is one of the more popular off-label treatments for cancer thanks to some promising trials, low toxicity, relative low cost and much internet publicity such as found on the Low Dose Naltrexone Homepage, LDN Science site and a Low Dose Naltrexone Forum. But what is the connection between cancer and opioids? And most importantly, does it work?

Opiates and Cancer

First some background on opioids and cancer. . .

Latest LDN Research

Latest Research discovers mechanism of low-dose LDN on cell proliferative-related disorders.

Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania have discovered the mechanism by which a low dose of the opioid antagonist naltrexone (LDN), an agent used clinically (off-label) to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, exerts a profound inhibitory effect on cell proliferation. It has been postulated that opioid receptor blockade by LDN provokes a compensatory elevation in endogenous opioids and opioid receptors that can function after LDN is no longer available. Using a novel tissue culture model of LDN action, the mechanism of LDN has been found to target the opioid growth factor (OGF, [Met5]-enkephalin) and OGF receptor (OGFr) axis. This discovery, reported in the September 2011 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, provides new insights into the molecular pathway utilized by an increasingly important clinically prescribed agent that serves as a basic biological regulator of cell proliferative events related to pathobiological states such as cancer and autoimmune diseases

Although the antitumor effects of opiod antagonists were first noted by Drs. Zagon and McLaughlin in 1981 . . .

A Short History of LDN

Is it possible that Autoimmune Diseases, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Neurodegenarative Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Wound Healing and Infections, Immune System and HIV/Aids, Allergies and Asthma, can receive relief from an orphan drug?

It's difficult to believe that there may be hope for people suffering from such a diverse array of conditions. Clinical trials have not yet proven the effectiveness of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), but lay trials by people desperate to find anything to reduce their symptoms, are leading more frequently to this old drug.

Low Dose Naltrexone is Naltrexone given in substantially lower doses. The endorphin receptor blockage in the brain gives relief to a wide range of diseases and conditions. Often at the urging of their patients, more doctors are discovering the off-label uses for LDN and no longer resisting its use in the therapeutic regime. Off-label use is permitted by FDA and is a growing practice.

The history of Naltrexone is basic to understanding why it is showing success in the treatment of so many seemingly unrelated diseases and disorders. As with so many other drugs, the best use may not be the original use.