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John Kanzius hopes his machine using radio waves will one day represent a significant advance in treating cancer.
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John Kanzius (CBS)

The Hidden Power of Radio Waves
………To Cure Cancer?

The Kanzius Machine: A Cancer Cure?

April 2008

(CBS) What if we told you that a guy with no background in science or medicine-not even a college degree-has come up with what may be one of the most promising breakthroughs in cancer research in years?

Well it’s true, and if you think it sounds improbable, consider this: he did it with his wife’s pie pans and hot dogs.

His name is John Kanzius, and he’s a former businessman and radio technician who built a radio wave machine that has cancer researchers so enthusiastic about its potential they’re pouring money and effort into testing it out.

Here’s the important part: if clinical trials pan out-and there’s still a long way to go-the Kanzius machine will zap cancer cells all through your body without the need for drugs or surgery and without side effects. None at all. At least that’s the idea.

The last thing John Kanzius thought he’d ever do was try to cure cancer. A former radio and television executive from Pennsylvania, he came to Florida to enjoy his retirement.

“I have no business being in the cancer business. It’s not something that a layman like me should be in, it should be left to doctors and research people,” he told correspondent Lesley Stahl.

“But sometimes it takes an outsider,” Stahl remarked.

“Sometimes it just – maybe you get lucky,” Kanzius replied.

It was the worst kind of luck that gave Kanzius the idea to use radio waves to kill cancer cells: six years ago, he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia and since then has undergone 36 rounds of toxic chemotherapy. But it wasn’t his own condition that motivated him, it was looking into the hollow eyes of sick children on the cancer ward at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“I saw the smiles of youth and saw their spirits were broken. And you could see that they were sort of asking, ‘Why can’t they do something for me?'” Kanzius told Stahl.

“So they started to haunt you. The children,” Stahl asked.
“Their faces. I still remember them holding on their Teddy bears and so forth,” he replied. “And shortly after that I started my own chemotherapy, my third round of chemotherapy.”

Kanzius told Stahl the chemotherapy made him very sick and that he couldn’t sleep at night. “And I said, ‘There’s gotta be a better way to treat cancer.'”

It was during one of those sleepless nights that the light bulb went off. When he was young, Kanzius was one of those kids who built radios from scratch, so he knew the hidden power of radio waves. Sick from chemo, he got out of bed, went to the kitchen, and started to build a radio wave machine.

“Started looking in the cupboard and I saw pie pans and I said, ‘These are perfect. I can modify these,'” he recalled.

His wife Marianne woke up that night to a lot of banging and clamoring. “I was concerned truthfully that he had lost it,” she told Stahl.

“She felt sorry for me,” Kanzius added.

“I did,” Marianne Kanzius acknowledged. “And I had mentioned to him, ‘Honey, the doctors can’t-you know, find an answer to cancer. How can you think that you can?'”

That’s what 60 Minutes wanted to know, so Stahl went to his garage laboratory to find out.

Here’s how it works: one box sends radio waves over to the other, creating enough energy to activate gas in a fluorescent light. Kanzius put his hand in the field to demonstrate that radio waves are harmless to humans.

“So right from the beginning you’re trying to show that radio waves could activate gas and not harm the human-anything else,” Stahl remarked. “‘Cause you’re looking for some kind of a treatment with no side effects, that’s what’s in your head.”

“No side effects,” Kanzius replied.

But how could he focus the radio waves to destroy cancer cells?

“That was the next $64,000 question,” Kanzius said.

The answer would cost much more than that. Kanzius spent about $200,000 just to have a more advanced version of his machine built. He knew that metal heats up when it’s exposed to high-powered radio waves. So what if a tumor was injected with some kind of metal, and zapped with a focused beam of radio waves? Would the metal heat up and kill the cancer cells, but leave the area around them unharmed? He did his first test with hot dogs.

“I’m going to inject it with some copper sulfate,” Kanzius explained, demonstrating the machine. “And I’m going to take the probe right at the injection site.”

Kanzius placed the hot dog in his radio wave machine, and Stahl watched to see if the temperature would rise in that one area where the metal solution was and nowhere else.

“And when I saw it start to go up I said, ‘Eureka, I’ve done it,'” Kanzius remembered. “And I said, ‘God, I gotta shut this off and see whether it’s still cold down below.’ So I shut it off, took my probe, went down here where it wasn’t injected. And the temperature dropped back down. And I said, ‘God, maybe I got something here.'”

Kanzius thought he had found a way attack cancer cells without the collateral damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Today, his invention is in the laboratories of two major research centers – the University of Pittsburgh and M.D. Anderson, where Dr. Steven Curley, a liver cancer surgeon, is testing it.

“This technology may allow us to treat just about any kind of cancer you can imagine,” Dr. Curley told Stahl. “I’ve gotta tell you, in 20 years of research this is the most exciting thing that I’ve encountered.”

That’s because Kanzius impressed Curley with another remarkable idea: to combine the radio waves from his device with something cutting edge – space age nanoparticles made of metal or carbon. They are so small that thousands of them can fit in a single cancer cell. Because they’re metallic, Kanzius was hoping his radio waves would them heat up and kill the cancer.

“If these nanoparticles work then we truly have something huge here,” Kanzius told Stahl.

Enter Rick Smalley, another cancer patient at M.D. Anderson and the man who won the Nobel Prize for discovering nanoparticles made from carbon. As luck would have it, Dr. Curley was called in one day to examine Smalley. Before leaving, he asked him for some of his nanoparticles.

“I proceeded to tell him what I wanted to do and that I thought they would heat. He looked at me with sort of a studied long look and didn’t say anything. And then he looked at me and said, ‘It won’t work,'” Curley remembered. “And just laughed and said, ‘Well, look, I’ll give you some. But don’t be too disappointed.'”

So Dr. Curley brought a vial of those precious nanoparticles to John Kanzius.

And on an August day in 2005, Curley and Kanzius put them to the test. Would the metallic nanoparticles heat up enough to kill cancer?

“So we take the nanoparticles, we put ’em in the radio field. And in about 15 seconds, they’re boiling and heating and Steve Curley couldn’t contain himself. He called Rick Smalley and he said, ‘Rick, you’re not going to believe this. He just blew the smithereens out of your nanoparticles,'” Kanzius recalled.

Smalley’s response? “The only thing that I got out of him after this pause was, “Holy s…,'” Curley recalled.

Not long after that day, Smalley died of lymphoma. Once a skeptic, he had become one of Kanzius’ biggest supporters.

“He didn’t expect it, but he embraced it to his death bed when he told Dr. Curley this will change medicine forever. Don’t stop, no matter what you do,” Kanzius told Stahl.

And they haven’t stopped. They’ve already shown that the Kanzius machine can heat nanoparticles and cook cancer to death in animals. Dr. Curley with rabbits, and in Pittsburgh, Dr. David Geller demonstrated to 60 Minutes how he used nanoparticles, made from gold, to kill liver cancer cells grown in rats.

“Now what we’re going to do is inject the nanoparticles,” Dr. Geller explained. “Directly into the tumor.”

In the study the rats, anesthetized to keep them still, were exposed to the Kanzius radio waves. Dr. Geller later examined their tumors under a microscope.

“What you can see is that cells are starting to fall apart. You see white spaces in between them. The body of the cell is shrinking, the cells are starting to die,” Geller pointed out.

“And can you tell from this whether the area surrounding the tumor had any destruction?” Stahl asked.

“Grossly inspecting the animal, we did not see not see any damage to the surrounding tissue,” Geller said.

So far, the Kanzius method has only been applied to solid, localized tumors in animals. The ultimate goal is to treat cancer that has metastasized or spread to other parts of the body. Those undetectable rogue cells are what most often kill people with cancer and the trick is finding them.

“If we can’t target the microscopic cells this is not going to be a cure,” Curley said.

That’s why Curley is trying to use special molecules that are programmed to target cancer cells and attach nanoparticles to them.

He showed Stahl an animation of how he hopes the targeting will work in people one day, with a simple injection of gold nanoparticles into the bloodstream.

“What we’re seeing here is an example of a gold nanoparticle in this case with an antibody on it, so the antibody would be the targeting molecule,” Curley explained. “You can see it is tiny compared to a normal red blood cell just imagine all of these billions of these gold nanoparticles circulating through the body and then once they get into the blood vessels going to the tumor, these nanoparticles would go through and bind on the surface of the cell.”

“The cancer cell. It wouldn’t bind on a normal cell,” Stahl observed.

“That’s right, they would bind only to the cancer cell. Now here’s the nanoparticles in the cell, here comes John’s radio frequency treatment. The cells get hot and they’re destroyed,” Curley said.

“Gosh, it does look like one of those science fiction movies,” Stahl remarked.

“Right now it is a little science fiction,” Curley agreed. “We’re not quite to the real time yet, but it’s got a lot of promise.”

Even if all goes well in the lab, it’ll be at least another four years before human trials can start. But John Kanzius says he’s afraid he doesn’t have that much time. So to help speed up the research, he’s been raising millions of dollars and getting press coverage about his invention.

“Now I can’t count the number of times the journalistic community, has done stories on a cancer cure,” Stahl said. “I did one in 1973. …How many times have we seen these things work in the Petri dish, work with animals. And then you get them into humans and they don’t work.”

“Dozens,” Curley replied.

But if this one does work, it most likely won’t be developed in time to help the man who invented it. John Kanzius may have the option of a bone marrow transplant that could buy him more time, but after six years of chemo it would be another grueling ordeal.

“Did you ever say, ‘I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m not going to put myself through it,’?” Stahl asked.

“Yes. I said that-only about a year and a half ago,” Kanzius replied. “I changed my mind because I think with all the research that’s going on with the institutions, that maybe, I’d like to be around for the first patient to get treated and just have a smile.”

“Oh my God,” Stahl said.

“And then I don’t care anymore,” Kanzius replied.

Harvard Medical School – Neck pain is no stranger to many of us. Doctors estimate that seven out of 10 people will be troubled by neck pain at some point in their lives. For one in 20 sufferers, the discomfort can significantly limit the ability to work and play. Surprisingly, movement may be the key to relieving neck pain.

If you’re like many people, you’ve never lifted weights in your life and you may wonder why start now? As you age, muscle tissue and strength dwindles, but weight or strength training can reverse this process. It can also lighten your heart’s workload, boost levels of good cholesterol, help prevent and treat diabetes, ease stiffness from arthritis, lead to weight loss, and improve your mobility. While it’s clear that there are plenty of reasons to include strength training in your routine, you may not know where to start.

Strength training can relieve chronic neck pain

Most of us are troubled by neck pain at some point in our lives. The most common culprit is overuse or misuse of muscles and ligaments. Today’s computer-dominated workplace can be especially tough on necks, because so many of us sit for long periods with shoulders slumped and heads extended toward monitors.

Considerable study has been devoted to the treatment of chronic neck pain. The choices include medications, chiropractic manipulation, electrical nerve stimulation, massage, and various forms of exercise. Results so far have been inconsistent and difficult to compare, and the quality of research has been uneven. Still, there’s mounting evidence that certain exercises designed to strengthen neck muscles can help break longstanding cycles of neck pain.

A randomized trial has found that women with work-related neck pain experienced significant and long-lasting relief by regularly practicing five specific neck muscle–strengthening exercises. General fitness workouts, by contrast, reduced the pain only slightly. Results were published in the January 2008 issue of Arthritis Care and Research.

The study

Danish scientists at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen recruited women engaged in repetitive work, mostly at computer keyboards, at banks, post offices, administrative offices, and an industrial facility. All complained of neck pain lasting more than a month during the previous year. They were eligible for the study if physical examinations showed they had trapezius myalgia — chronic pain and tightness in the muscles that run down the back of the neck and fan out toward the shoulders.

Participants were divided randomly into three groups. One group received strength training focused on neck and shoulder muscles. The second group received general fitness training, which consisted of riding an exercise bike without holding onto the handlebars. The third group was given only health counseling. The two exercise groups worked out for 20 minutes three times a week for 10 weeks.

The women rated pain intensity in the trapezius muscles immediately before and immediately after each training session and two hours after each workout. The strength training group experienced a 75% decrease in pain, on average, during the intervention as well as during a 10-week follow-up period involving no workouts. General fitness training resulted in only a short-term decrease in pain that was too small to be considered clinically important, although the researchers did suggest that even a little reduction in pain severity could encourage people to give exercise a try. There was no improvement in the health counseling group.

This study isn’t the final word on relieving chronic neck pain. The number of participants (48) was small, and most of the women were under age 60. The results may not apply to women who are older or have conditions that limit their ability to strength train. Still, the findings suggest that performing specific muscle-strengthening exercises may be a helpful strategy for many women with chronic neck pain. (The researchers have investigated the effectiveness of each exercise with electromyography, which measures muscle-generated electrical activity. Results will be published in the journal Physical Therapy.)

Five Exercises (check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise regime)

Strength training in the Danish study consisted of five exercises that involved the use of hand weights to strengthen neck and shoulder muscles. Three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), for 20 minutes per session, participants performed three of the five exercises, doing three sets of eight to 12 repetitions (each set lasting 25 to 35 seconds) for each exercise. The exercises changed from session to session but always included dumbbell shrugs. The weight load was gradually increased during the study, roughly doubling in 10 weeks.

This was an intensive program and study participants were carefully supervised. So before you embark on a similar regimen, consult a physical therapist or exercise specialist who can help design a program for your needs and make sure that you’re doing the exercises correctly. In the exercises pictured here, the starting weights in parentheses are those used in the study. For each exercise, you should start with a weight that allows a maximum of eight to 12 repetitions.

1) Dumbbell shrug

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a weight in each hand, and allow your arms to hang down at your sides, with your palms facing your body. Shrug your shoulders upward, contracting the upper trapezius muscle, hold for one count, and lower. Repeat eight to 12 times per set. (Starting weight: 17 to 26 pounds.)

2) One-arm row

Stand with your left knee on a flat bench and your right foot on the floor. Hold a weight in your right hand. Bend your torso forward, placing your left hand on the bench for support. Allow the weighted hand to hang down toward the floor. Pull the weight up until your upper arm is parallel with your back, pause, and then lower it. Repeat eight to 12 times per set. Switch to the left side, and repeat. (Starting weight: 13 to 22 pounds.)

3) Upright row

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the weights down in front of your thighs, with your palms facing your body. Slowly bring the weights straight up, as if you were zipping up a jacket. Slowly lower the weights to their original position. Repeat eight to 12 times per set. (Starting weight: 4 to 11 pounds.)

4) Reverse fly

Lie on a bench at a 45-degree angle. Hold a weight in each hand and allow your arms to extend down toward the floor. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, lift the weights up and out to the side to about shoulder level. Slowly lower the weights. Repeat eight to 12 times per set. (Starting weight: 2 to 6 pounds.)

5) Lateral raise

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Lift your arms up to the sides until they are parallel with the floor. Your elbows should be slightly bent. Slowly lower your arms. Repeat eight to 12 times per set. (Starting weight: 4 to 9 pounds.)

For more information on strength training, order Special Health Report, Strength and Power Training, at www.health.harvard.edu/SPT.