Updated May 28, 2017
DMSO is a natural liquid derived from trees. It is a by-product of paper manufacturing. DMSO is also a solvent that is used to mix certain drugs into water, even though they may be insoluble in water. It is also used as a carrier to bring drugs in to the body through the skin. DMSO is currently approved as a preservative for bone marrow and organ transplants, and for treatment of a bladder disease called interstitial cystitis. It is also a generic drug (not patentable), which means there is little interest among drug manufacturers in researching it as a treatment for cancer and other diseases, because of its low profit potential.
There are many publications on DMSO dating back to the 1960s. DMSO has been found to be effective as a cancer treatment, a pain treatment, a treatment for inflammation, and a treatment for brain swelling due head injury. DMSO reduces swelling by removing water from cells, and reducing water leakage from blood vessels in tumours. It does not have a “rebound effect” when it is stopped (no sudden worsening of symptoms), unlike steroid medication such as dexamethasone. It does not have any of the serious side effects of steroids like muscle loss, immune suppression, and stomach ulceration. DMSO also appears to reduce the risk of seizures, as long as no overdose is given. DMSO works as a cancer therapy by promoting differentiation (a process of transforming primitive rapidly growing cells into more normal-behaving cells that do not grow). DMSO also has been demonstrated to stimulate a tumour suppressor protein called HLJ1, which reduces tumour cell invasion and metastases.
This website is full of information about DMSO: http://www.dmso.org/
It was created by Dr. Stanley Jacob, one of world experts on DMSO, and a physician who was heavily involved in DMSO research from the 1960s.
MEDLINE (the largest medical database in the world) contains information on published DMSO cancer research. This database can be searched any anyone interested in finding DMSO publications: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=%28cancer[MeSH+Major+Topic]%29+AND+dmso[Title]
Several publications demonstrate that DMSO works in a variety of cancers. In lab studies, DMSO has been shown to work as a cancer treatment for melanoma, colon cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and lymphoma.
There are 2 published human intravenous DMSO cancer studies by Dr. Hoang and his colleagues: one for prostate cancer and one for gallbladder / bile duct cancer. In these studies, DMSO was combined with sodium bicarbonate (“baking soda”) and administered by intravenous infusion up to 5 days per week. These studies demonstrated significant improvement in clinical symptoms, blood tests, and quality of life. There were no major side effects from the infusions.
In the bile duct cancer study of 9 patients, there was relief of bile duct obstruction, improvement of liver function and the 6 month progression-free survival was 100% (the cancer stabilized for 6 months in all patients). The duration of the study was only 6 months, so it is possible that the benefits of therapy would continue for a longer period.
In the prostate cancer study of 18 patients, 8 were newly diagnosed and 10 had been treated previously, but conventional therapy had failed. All patients had metastases to the bones. After 1.5 months of therapy, all patients experienced over 30% reduction of their pain scores, and none of the 6 patients who needed morphine before therapy needed to continue it. There was improvement of fatigue in 78% of patients, improvement in urine flow in 83%, improvement in spinal cord compression in 60%, and improvement in urinary bleeding and swelling in 100% (of those that experienced these issues before therapy). The only side effects noted were mild headache or chills during the infusion, which could be prevented by slowing down the infusion.
It is important to note that the benefits of therapy persisted after DMSO infusions were stopped. This indicates that the therapy was not simply controlling symptoms (like pain medication), but had effectively treated the cancer.
Based on the existing published research and our own experience, it appears DMSO may work on any cancer type.
Dr. Ba Hoang, MD, PhD visiting the Medicor Office in Mar 2015 to teach Medicor staff about DMSO for cancer therapy.
At Medicor, DMSO is currently administered by intravenous only (in combination with sodium bicarbonate) since the only published human data demonstrating its positive effects as a cancer treatment involves intravenous use.
DMSO has been studied in humans and found to have some mild side effects, which depend on the dose. Our experience so far suggests that IV DMSO is safe to use in cancer patients under close supervision. IV DMSO is a prescription drug in Canada. It cannot legally be sold for human use unless it is under prescription from a licensed physician. Lab grade DMSO is sold legally online from various chemical manufacturers and is not suitable or approved for human use. It is definitely not suitable for intravenous use.
Common side effects of DMSO include sedation, headache, nausea, dizziness, and a garlic-like smell. In our experience, with the doses of DMSO that we use, and the modest infusion rates, most patients do not experience any of these side effects, except all patients experience the garlic-like smell.
DMSO AND CHEMOTHERAPY
There is very little data on combined therapy with DMSO and chemo. One study indicates that DMSO can inactivate platinum chemo drugs. As a result, we generally do not recommend combining chemotherapy and DMSO on the same day. Your Medicor doctor will advise of the correct timing of DMSO and chemotherapy to ensure safety.
DMSO CLINICAL TRIALS
There is no record of any clinical trials of DMSO use as a cancer therapy:
Since DMSO is a generic drug (not patentable), it has low profit potential. As a result, there is little interest among drug manufacturers in funding costly DMSO research.
In order to determine if DMSO is effective in treating your cancer, we recommend at least 6 to 8 weeks of treatment. For slow growing cancers, longer treatment is needed. If your cancer responds to DMSO, therapy ideally may be changed to a combination of oral medications which work in a similar way to DMSO. The oral medications may continue indefinitely. If you experience significant side effects, treatment will be stopped and may be restarted later, or changed to something else.
The approximate cost of a DMSO infusion is $200 – $300 depending on the dose. Infusions are administered at the Medicor office only. Physician fees are covered by provincial health insurance for every province except Québec. Patients with a Québec health card are responsible for payment of physician fees, because there is no agreement between Québec and Ontario governments for payment of physician fees. Reimbursement of these fees can be requested from le Ministère de la Santé. Most blood and imaging tests are covered by government insurance for Canadian patients with a valid health card. Patients with no Canadian healthcare coverage must pay physician fees and blood/imaging test fees.
STARTING TREATMENT AT MEDICOR
Please obtain your pathology report confirming the diagnosis of cancer type (if applicable), your latest CT scan or MRI (if applicable), and your latest blood test report. If you do not have a pathology report (e.g. if you did not have a biopsy), we require some documentation confirming the diagnosis of cancer.
You can call us at (416) 227-0037 or email us at email@example.com to make an appointment to discuss your individual case. We will do our best to respond to your request promptly. A valid Health Card from any province (except Québec) is required for a free consultation. Patients from Québec must pre-pay for consultation since the Minstère de la Santé does not properly pay Ontario doctors for insured services. Insured patients are only required to pay for the medication, as it is not covered by Ontario Drug Benefits.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR DOCTORS WHO INFUSE DMSO
Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a highly polar organic reagent that has exceptional solvent properties for organic and inorganic chemicals. Use in organic synthesis includes the oxidation of thiols and disulfides to sulfonic acids. Other reactions involving DMSO include the hydrolysis of epoxides, the thioalkylation of phenols, and the oxidation of primary alcohols, primary halides, and esters of primary alcohols to aldehydes.
DMSO is miscible in water yielding a clear, colorless solution. DMSO is a very hygroscopic liquid and should protected from exposure to moisture. DMSO is also soluble in ethanol, acetone, ether, benzene, and chloroform.
DMSO supercools easily and remelts slowly at room temperature. DMSO may arrive as a solid instead of a liquid. The solidified DMSO can be reliquified by warming to room temperature without harm. DMSO is stable up to 100°C. To prepare a sterile filtered DMSO solution, use a teflon or nylon membrane. Cellulose acetate membranes are not recommended.
Compatibility with various materials
Compatible: LDPE, HDPE, polypropylene, polypropylene copolymer, polymethylpentene, nylon, teflon FEP
Moderately compatible: polystyrene, ECTFE/ETFE
Incompatible: polysulfone, flexible and rigid PVC tubing, polycarbonate