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Mirko Beljanski’s Innovative Approach to Helping Patients Suffering from Cancer, Chronic Viral Diseases and Autoimmune Conditions

Michael B Schachter, MD, FACAM, CNS

                Modern medicine continues to struggle with helping patients who develop cancer and chronic viral diseases, such as hepatitis C and AIDS. The most frequently used treatments for these conditions often have significant adverse effects and in many cases little potential benefits. Complementary and alternative practitioners constantly search for innovative ideas and products that they may help their patients without causing undue side effects. With this in mind, I attended a conference in New York City in the summer of 1999 to learn about the work of the late Mirko Beljanski PhD.  I had never heard the name Mirko Beljanski before, but when I got a personal call from an old friend, Patrick McGrady Jr., who urged me to attend, saying I will learn some new things that may very well help my patients, I decided to go.  Patrick McGrady Jr. is a well known author and researcher who offers an information service for cancer patients called CANHELP.

                The presenters were largely from France and Belgium and most of them presented their lectures in French. Fortunately for me and many of the other attendees, we were given headphones and the French lectures were translated into English and the English lectures were translated into French for the non-English speaking French attendees. At the conference, I met Dr. Beljanski’s wife, Monique (who had worked with him in his laboratory for more than 40 years), his daughter Sylvie (who was attempting to carry on her father’s work by educating professionals and the public about his ideas, as well as running a nutritional supplement company that supplied products developed by Dr. Beljanski), and physicians, scientists and patients familiar with Dr. Beljanski.

                I was quite impressed with the both the science presented in the lectures and the apparent benefits obtained by patients receiving the products. Following the conference, I spent a great deal of time reviewing the material and began to use these nutritional supplements with some of my cancer patients.  Again, I was impressed with the results that many of the patients achieved with these nutritional supplements, as I incorporated them into my approach to managing cancer patients, using a wide variety of complementary and alternative approaches, sometimes with conventional treatment administered by surgeons, radiotherapists and oncologists and sometimes instead of these conventional approaches.  As I was impressed with my exposure to Dr. Beljanski’s work, I decided to share this information, since his work is virtually unknown in the United States by physicians, scientists and the public.

 Background of Mirko Beljanski PhD

                Professor Beljanski was born in Yugoslavia in 1923. At age 25, he emigrated to France where he remained the rest of his life. After completing his studies, he was accepted in 1951 as a biologist and researcher with the renowned Pasteur Institute.  For almost 30 years, he studied DNA and RNA biology and made numerous discoveries. As an example, he found that reverse transcriptase exists not only in viruses, but in other types of cells, including bacteria, fungus and fish.  Dr. Beljanski was forced to leave the Pasteur Institute when his innovative ideas drastically conflicted with the Institute’s new director. After leaving the Pasteur Institute, though under funded, he continued his research and continued to publish scientific papers, most of which were in French. He published 133 scientific papers during his lifetime. Tragically, he died in 1998 after several years of persecution in France for his innovative ideas.

                 For almost 50 years, Mirko Beljanski fully devoted himself to scientific research with his wife and research associate, Monique, at his side. In the field of cancer, he worked informally with many doctors in France and Belgium. The patients of these physicians appeared to be significantly helped when Dr. Beljanski’s approach was integrated with their conventional treatment.

 Dr. Beljanski’s Theory of Cancer

                When Mirko Beljanski, PhD, began his career as a molecular biologist in the early 50s at the Pasteur Institute in France, he was convinced that the recent discovery of the structure of DNA would open up major therapeutic possibilities that previously had not been imagined. He became convinced that it might be possible to find therapeutic substances to manage cancer patients that would not have major adverse side effects, unlike all of the chemotherapeutic drugs to treat cancer at that time. DNA is the genetic material of the cell and consists of 2 strands of molecules that are wound together in the form of a double helix. The strands are bound together by hydrogen bonds between the two strands. This hydrogen bonding is considered the secondary structure of the DNA, the primary structure being the arrangement of specific molecules within each strand that reflect the genetic code. The predominant theory of cancer is that changes of components within the DNA molecule (mutations of certain classes of genes) leads to the development of cancer.

                 One of Dr. Beljanski’s key discoveries was that the secondary structure of DNA in cancer cells differed from normal DNA in that it contained some permanently open loops, as a result of carcinogenic substances interfering with the hydrogen bonding between the two strands of the double helix.  These permanently separated sections allowed more carcinogenic substances to come between the two strands of the double helix and lead the DNA to uncontrollable replication and further deregulation of the cancer cell, resulting in rapid and uncontrollable growth of cancer cells. He referred to the cancerous DNA as destabilized DNA, since the hydrogen bonds did not hold the two strands together in a stable manner. So, when cancerous DNA was exposed to carcinogenic substances, it replicated rapidly, while non-cancerous DNA replicated only slightly. This could be shown experimentally by adding substances to cancerous DNA or normal DNA and measuring either the increase in growth of the DNA or light absorption of the materials, as the more unstable the DNA, the more light that it would absorb (hyperchromicity). Once carcinogens had destabilized normal DNA to the point that it became permanently destabilized (had become cancerous DNA), further exposure to carcinogens would increase the destabilization, making the cancerous DNA more unstable. In other words, cancers cells could become more aggressive and bizarre as they were exposed to more carcinogens.

Development of the Oncotest: A Screening Test to Determine if a Substance Has Potential for Stimulating Cancer

                These observations resulted in Beljanski developing a test to screen substances for carcinogenicity, a test he patented as the “Oncotest”.  Carcinogens resulted in the rapid replication of cancerous DNA, but affected normal DNA only slightly.  He found that known carcinogens, such as many pesticides, clearly showed carcinogenicity on the Oncotest. He found that well known chemotherapeutic drugs to treat cancer showed carcinogenic potential.  Furthermore, he found that high doses of natural hormones, such as estradiol and testosterone had carcinogenic potential, even though they did not cause mutations, which is one of the criteria used for determining cancer potential in other cancer screening tests. 

The Development of Products to Help Cancer Patients

                He then wondered if he could use the Oncotest to find substances that would inhibit the growth of destabilized cancerous DNA, but not affect the replication of normal DNA. After years of research, Beljanski discovered two tropical plants (Pao Pereira and Rauwolfia Vomitoria) whose extracts possessed the ability to inhibit cancerous DNA, but not affect normal DNA under test tube conditions. In addition, he found that these extracts penetrate membranes of deregulated cancerous cells where they concentrate in the nucleus and nucleolus, while they fail to penetrate normal cells. The reason that these molecules penetrate cancerous, but not normal cells relates to the electrical charges of these molecules and the fact that normal cells and cancer cells differ in their cell membranes electrical characteristics. These extracts adhere to open DNA and RNA purine bases. The cancerous cell, unable to access its own memory, just stops working properly and dies. In vitro, these two natural extracts inhibit a wide variety of cancer cells but do not affect the healthy cells. Multiple experiments with animals confirmed these in-vitro results and some human case studies also confirmed the value of this approach.

                In experiments with these products, Dr. Beljanski was able to isolate what he believed to be the active molecule in each extract. In both cases, they were alkaloids with similar molecular structures, both of which had bipolar electrical charges (one part of the molecule was negatively charged and the other was positively charged). The compound from Pao Pereira is called flavopereirine (also called PB100 in some experimental papers). The one from Rauwolfia is called alstonine (also called BG-8 in some experimental papers). The molecule Alstonine is somewhat larger than flavopereirine and is incapable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier and therefore of no use in brain tumors.

                While working with these compounds, Beljanski was able to establish some basic principles. They seemed to be totally non-toxic in the doses used to achieve results in animal studies and when used as nutritional supplements in people. Both Pao Pereira and Rauwolfia extracts tend to be synergistic when used with low to moderate doses of chemotherapy and radiation in that they appear to reduce side effects from these modalities and improve therapeutic benefits. He was able to show this in test tube experiments and in animal studies. Limited clinical observations in people taking these compounds seemed to confirm these findings. The Rauwolfia extract appeared to be slightly more helpful than Pao Pereira in hormone related tumors, such as prostate and breast cancers, as long as the patients were not taking any form of hormone or anti-hormone treatment, such as tamoxifen or estrogen. When hormone or anti-hormone treatments were used, only the Pao Pereira extract was used. In most cases, the two have been used together for support of cancer patients, although only Pao Pereira is used in patients with primary brain cancers because Rauwolfia doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier as mentioned above. Pao Pereira extract is available commercially as PAO V of PAO V FM (a little stronger) capsules. The dosage is usually 2 to 10 capsules daily (depending on the severity of the situation) in divided doses with or without meals. The Rauwolfia extract is available commercially as ROVOL V capsules and the dose is similar.

                During his lifetime, Dr. Beljanski developed four nutritional products helpful to cancer patients. The first two described above appear to have direct anti-cancer effects as described above. The next two have no direct anti-cancer activity, but rather appear to reduce serious side effects associated with conventional treatment of cancer, namely radiation, chemotherapy and even surgery.   

                It is well known that radiation and chemotherapy by suppressing the bone marrow may lower white blood cell (leukocyte) counts in cancer patients leading to infection and sometimes death. Another negative effect of chemotherapy and radiation in some patients is to lower the platelet count, leading to an excessive bleeding tendency. The production of white blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow requires the presence of certain specific types of fragments of RNA called RNA primers. RNA is similar to DNA and both of them work together to keep cells healthy.

                During experiments on the regulation of the cell, Beljanski discovered a way to reproduce those RNA primers specific to the multiplication of white blood cells and platelets. He was able to extract these RNA primers from specific strains of E.coli bacteria.  He found in both animal studies and some pilot human studies that patients receiving these RNA primers would have their platelets and WBCs rebound after dipping from chemotherapy and/or radiation. In the medical literature, these products have been called RLBs or BLRs, which stands for Restorers of Leukocytes by Beljanski or Beljanski Leukocyte Restorers. Commercially, this product is available as Real Build. The powder contents of the cone of Real Build are dissolved under the tongue as a nutritional support for the bone marrow one to three times per week, while chemotherapy and/or radiation are given.

                Ribonucleases are enzymes in the cell that break down RNA. When a patient receives radiation, the concentration and activity of ribonucleases increase within the cells and appears to contribute to the development of damage to normal tissues from radiation in the form of scarring or fibrosis. Fibrosis in the lungs or heart can lead to impaired functioning of these organs. Fibrosis in the abdomen may lead to intestinal obstruction and other complications. Consequently, it is important to reduce fibrosis formation as much as possible. In studying the regulatory role of ribonucleases, Mirko Beljanski discovered amid the rarest components of Gingko Biloba an extract, which is able to regulate over activated ribonuclease. This selective extract from Ginkgo Biloba differs from the commercially available Ginkgo Biloba, which has been used to improve circulation and brain function. The Beljanski extract of Ginkgo Biloba is available commercially as Ginkgo V and is usually used in doses of 4 to 6 capsules in divided dosages for patients undergoing radiation.  Since surgery sometimes leads to the development of abnormal scarring, the Ginkgo V may also be helpful in preventing complications of surgery when taken following the surgery.

The Development of Products to Help Chronic Viral Illnesses Such as HIV and Hepatitis C and Possibly Autoimmune Conditions

                Dr. Beljanski found that the Pao Pereira extract by combining with purine bases in cells infected with certain viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis C similar to the way it does with cancer cells was able to kill these cells. This was not true for the Rauwolfia extract, which appears to not influence cells infected with viruses. In some preliminary pilot clinical studies, the Pao Pereira could be given for months or years at a time with no apparent negative side effects and both clinical and laboratory improvement or stabilization.

                Just as ribonuclease is elevated and/or overactive in cells damaged from radiation, it is also elevated in virally infected cells. Consequently, the Beljanski Ginkgo Biloba extract appears to be useful for patients suffering from chronic viral illnesses, as this extract tends to normalize ribonuclease activity. So, the combination of PAO V and Ginkgo V may be beneficial as nutritional support for patients suffering from viral illnesses.

                Cells in patients with autoimmune diseases also appear to have dysregulated ribonuclease activity and Ginkgo V may also be helpful for them as a nutritional support. To the extent that viruses may play a role in autoimmune diseases, PAO V may also be useful, along with Ginkgo V for patients with autoimmune conditions, although much more research needs to be done in this area.

                The late Prof. Mirko Beljanski has made great scientific contributions to our understanding of basic life processes, cancer, viral illnesses and autoimmune diseases. His work also has major practical implications in supporting normal physiological functions and improving one’s health.