Good-Bye Chemotheraphy? Retired Broadcaster Designs Possible Breakthrough Cancer Cure
"Nanotechnology"--the very word sounds complicated to your average human being. But a 63-year-old leukemia patient from Florida who never earned a college degree recently designed a method using nanotechnology that may make chemotherapy an archaic treatment of the past.
"It's a kick-ass cancer cell generator," cancer survivor and inventor John Kanzius said of the device, which doesn't have a real name.
Kanzius is a former broadcasting executive from Pennsylvania, and has a background in radio and physics, but no medical training. Inside his Sanibel Island garage, the retired broadcaster built the machine that may be on the verge of a major medical breakthrough.
The method works by a patient first receiving an injection of gold nanoparticles, which would attach themselves to the cancer cells. The patient would then enter the machine and receive a dose of radio frequency waves, which would heat the nanoparticles and surrounding cancer cells to a temperature high enough to kill the cancer cells, but would leave nearby cells untouched. The machine doesn't use radiation, and it's non-invasive.
As Kanzius explained, the machine basically makes cells act like antennae to pick up a signal and self-destruct. Many researchers are currently working on a similar type of medical nanotechnology for treating cancer, where the most difficult part is finding a way to target the cancerous cells with nanoparticles.
Now, many scientists are using Kanzius' machine in their research, including the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Steve Curley and others are testing the device on animals. Curley told CBS News that the device "has the most fascinating potential I've seen in anything in my 20 years of cancer research."
"If we can come up with ways of delivering these particles to the cancer cells, but not to normal cells," Curley said, "this treatment will work. There's not a doubt in my mind. Any kind of cancer, anywhere in the body!"
Kanzius said that he was inspired to investigate the potential of nanotechnology and radio waves after receiving 24 rounds of chemotherapy, and wishing that others--especially children--wouldn't have to endure the same treatment.
"Particularly young children walk in with smiles, and then you'd see them three weeks later and their smiles had disappeared. I said to myself, 'We're in a barbaric type of medicine,'" Kanzius said.
Currently, Kanzius has been working on the device in Erie, Pennsylvania, where the city is excited about the potential of his work. In mid-August, thousands of people supported a motorcycle rally where all the money earned is going toward Kanzius' research.
"It's amazing that in the very near future someone is going to stick a pin on a map and say this is where cancer was cured," said Ralph Pontillo, head of the Erie Manufacturers Association. "And that pin is going to be Erie, Pennsylvania. That blows your mind and that is inconceivable."
Earlier in 2007, Kanzius attracted media attention when he claimed that he had developed a way to efficiently produce energy by burning saltwater. This technology was actually an offshoot of his cancer technology research, and used a radio frequency generator to release oxygen and hydrogen from saltwater to create an intense flame. The benefits of the saltwater device are controversial, since it currently consumes more energy than it creates.
Kanzius owns a patent for his medical device, called an Enhanced Systems and Methods for RF-Induced Hyperthermia, and he predicts that human testing could begin in the next two years. In the meantime, Kanzius must continue with his chemotherapy.