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With the level of education needed in order to obtain a degree from medical school, it seems nearly impossible for a man, without a college education, to develop the base plan of a new form ofcancer treatment.John Kanziusdid not have the experience of a doctor, but he did have the determination of a man battling through a deadly form ofleukemia. He had the drive to use his time left on earth to attempt to discover a better way to treat his disease -- a disease that kills over half of a million people on average per year within the United States alone. With this man's courage and creativity, and scientists' knowledge and expertise, cancer research is transforming, providing a new and exciting outlook for the future of cancer patients.
Before one learns about the specifics of treating cancer, one must first understand what cancer is. "Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues" (National Cancer Institute). A healthy human body has thousands, even millions of cells that die and are replaced every day. When one cell dies, another grows, taking its place in an orderly fashion, but sometimes cell division and growth malfunctions within the body. This malfunction, of which cell division occurs rapidly, is caused by a deviation in the DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, the so-called "blueprint" for cell division. The uncontrolled growth of mutated, cancerous cells often results in a mass of cells in one area, which is called a tumor (MedlinePlus). Cancer begins within the cells of a system, and may spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems; the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis (National Cancer Institute).
Since the discovery of cells in the 19th century, the knowledge and information in regard to diagnosing and treating cancer has grown exponentially. Cancer is commonly found by the patient, as it can be identified by a tumor, as was previously mentioned. The next step in diagnosing a tumor is to discover whether or not the tumor is benign or malignant. Malignant tumors are cancerous, whereas benign tumors are not. Urine, blood, and bodily fluids may be taken for lab testing, and often help in the process of diagnosing a patient with cancer (MayoClinic). A single test cannot be used to diagnose cancer, but rather a series of tests, including a variety of the following: complete blood count, a bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy, a spinal tap or lumbar puncture, a lymphangiogram, an ultrasound, a biopsy of the tumor, bone scans, x-rays, a computed tomography scan (commonly called a CT scan), an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), blood tests, and surgery. Following the diagnosis of cancer, a variety of treatment options are available to the patient, including surgery, laser therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy (Rush University Medical Center). Each of these treatments shows promising results, yet the death toll of cancer victims within the United States remains over half of a million in 2009 alone. Amongst all of these treatments, a new and promising breakthrough has recently emerged within the field of medicine and cancer research - a novel radio frequency wave cancer treatment - thanks to John Kanzius.
The following is the story of John Kanzius as was described by John Kanzius on 60 Minutes, a program on CBS news. John Kanzius grew up in the world of radios, and before his retirement, he was a radio and television executive from Pennsylvania. At the age of 57 he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Throughout his life Kanzius endured many rounds of chemotherapy, which made him sick and sleepless, but it was not his own condition that influenced him most to search for a new and better way to treat cancer, it was the young children that he had seen at the hospitals who looked "hopeless and broken." Since his youth, Kanzius had been involved with radios, and knew the "hidden power" that they held (The Kanzius Machine). One night, awake and sick from yet another round of toxic chemotherapy, the idea of eliminating cancer cells by way of radio waves came to Kanzius. He immediately set out to accomplish his dreams and thoughts that night, with the use of his wife's pans and his own radios.
Kanzius knew that radio waves could not hurt human beings, but what he did know was that metal heats up when it is exposed to high-powered radio waves. He performed his first test on a hot dog; he injected a specific area with copper sulfate, and watched to see if only the injected area would heat up, and only that specific area. When his desired results were achieved, Kanzius decided to bring his idea to the next level, and invest $200,000 into a more advanced version of his original machine that acted on the same principles. His main goal was to discover a way to treat cancer without any of the harmful and toxic side effects that come alongside chemotherapy and radiation - two of the most common and effective ways of treating cancer thus far.
Today, his machine is in two major research laboratories: the University of Pittsburgh and M.D. Anderson. Dr. Steven Curley, a specialist in cancer research, began testing Kanzius's ideas and inventions following its addition to the research facilities. Next, another incredible idea was presented by Kanzius to Dr. Curley: the injection of something smaller than just simple metal particles, but rather nanoparticles made of metal or carbon, into the cancerous cells. Millions of the nanoparticles could fit within a single cell, allowing the injection to single out specific areas, perfectly. In August of 2005, Kanzius and Curley tested their theory; in only 15 seconds, the nanoparticles were as hot as could be.
Dr. Curley continued research, and tremendous amounts of progress were made using the radio wave technique along with the injections of gold nanoparticles. He had successfully "fried" liver cancer cells in lab rats with minimal side effects following the treatment. Dr. David Geller showed 60 Minutes how he injected a tumor of cancerous cells with the gold nanoparticles, and killed them with radio waves, rendering only the cancerous cells damaged, while the surrounding tissue remained healthy and untouched.
The next challenge that stands in the way of the potential cure for cancer is the fact that the nanoparticles can only be injected directly into the cancerous cells, such as in a tumor, and not into the smaller undetectable cancer cells that metastasize to other parts of the body. Often, it is these cells that pose a threat to the patient, rather than just the tumor (The Kanzius Machine). Dr. Curley is attempting to construct molecules programmed to seek out and attach the nanoparticles to the cancerous cells that are metastasizing to other body systems. Thus, the molecules could be injected directly into the bloodstream, the molecules would inject the nanoparticles into any cancerous cells, and then, the "Kanzius Machine" along with its high-powered radio waves would eliminate the cancer cells, with no side effects.
During the time that advancements were being made to his original ideas, John Kanzius was attempting to slow down his own leukemia. Without approval from his doctor, Kanzius made the decision that he would attempt to treat himself, following 36 rounds of toxic chemotherapy. Kanzius knew that his doctor would not approve the treatment, and that clinical trials and approval of the FDA would take longer than Kanzius had to live (The Kanzius Machine). After his treatments, his blood word improved, and things seemed bright for the future of both his health, and his invention. A few months after, lymph nodes within his stomach swelled to an abnormal size. Kanzius then attempted the "double whammy" as he called it; a simultaneous treatment of both chemotherapy and his own radio wave treatment. A week later, Kanzius found himself in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital on the brink of death; his body had literally shut down. Luckily, Kanzius recovered, and when he recovered, a CT scan revealed that his lymph nodes had in fact shrunk after the administration of both treatments, but according to the overseeing doctors, "not a significant amount." Three months later, on February 18th, 2009, John Kanzius passed away at the age of 64 from pneumonia, as a result of the chemotherapy treatment.
Since the death of John Kanzius, Dr. Curley has continued the research, and it more enthusiastic about it than ever, calling the project, "the most exciting thing that he has seen in 20 years of cancer research" (The Kanzius Machine). The project has been nationally recognized, and it increasingly receiving more support. On December 16th, 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation in Erie $700,000 in funding for the progression of the project. In addition, Governor Edward Rendell contributed a Department of Community and Economic Development grant of $500,000 on the behalf of Pennsylvania in support of the project (Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation).
Without any background in science, nor medicine, or even a college-degree, John Kanzius used his determination and desire to establish an amazing idea, that shows tremendous promise for the future, with only a few of his wife's pots and pans, his knowledge of radios, and a hot dog. John Kanzius is truly an admirable figure, as his one idea grew and evolved with modern medicine, and is now providing insight into a bright future for both cancer research and cancer patients.