Published by Josef M. Issels, MD
The Issels Treatment was developed by Josef M. Issels, MD., leading pioneer of
integrative cancer medicine.
Dr. Issels was the first to integrate conventional and alternative/ complementary
treatments into a comprehensive treatment program that focuses on both the cancer
tumor and the internal bodily environment which promotes the tumor growth.
In 1951 in Germany, Dr. Issels was the first to open a hospital for conventionally
incurable cancer patients specializing in comprehensive immunotherapy. In 1970 the
hospital grew from 80 to 120 patient beds and expanded its extensive research
facilities, including the immunological, microbiological, dental and hyperthermia
departments. The hospital's programs included research on tumor vaccines,
mycoplasma and bacterial vaccines inducing fever, hyperthermia, etc. Ninety percent
of the patients treated at the hospital had exhausted standard cancer treatment.
From 1981 until 1987, Dr. Issels served as an expert member of, and advisor to, the
Commission of the German Federal Government in the Fight Against Cancer. He
presented many papers to national and international medical congresses and within
programs of continuing education. He also published three monographs.
The diagram below explains the concept of the comprehensive Issels Treatment that
focuses on both the cancer tumors and the internal bodily environment which
promotes the tumor growth. Within this concept each treatment modality has its
clearly defined task to fulfill in the endeavor to eliminate the tumor and restore the
body’s innate cancer fighting properties.
Explanation of the diagram:
Explanation of the diagram:
Pre-and postnatal endogenous and exogenous causal factors (I) can lead by
mutagenic, toxic, sensitizing or neural effects via the transit mesenchyme to
secondary damages to organs and organ systems and so to functional disturbances
of the neural, hormonal, excretory and defense systems (II).
These secondary damages and especially the disturbance of the detoxification
system deteriorate the internal environment and can lead to complex metabolic
disturbances which are common to all chronic disease and cancer.
Further constant influence of the causal factors and the persistence of secondary
damages can produce a functional imbalance and deteriorate the defense and repair
mechanisms. Depending on inherited constitution and disposition, this can develop
into a chronic degenerative disease and a "tumor-milieu," (III) the ideal medium for
cancer cells and micro-organisms found in cancer to grow. The body has acquired
the tendency to produce malignant tumors.
With the manifestation of the tumor (IV), the cancer disease enters the recognizable
phase. At this time, conventional cancer treatment begins with the weapons directed
against the cancer tumor and its symptoms (V).
According to the concept that cancer starts as a locally confined growth, all measures
concentrated on the tumor alone seem causal and exhaustive.
Treating the tumor alone is not treating the condition that is producing it: the
underlying cancer disease. Consequently, there is a high rate of relapse.
According to the comprehensive concept, however, cancer is considered a systemic
disease from the onset and the tumor as its late stage symptom.
Following this concept the Issels Treatment has two lines of approach which are of
equal importance and complement each other.
1. A non-specific basic therapy aiming to eliminate causal factors, repair
damages of the early stages, normalize the internal environment, and restore
the body's regulatory, repair and defense mechanisms.
2. A specific therapy directed against the malignant tumor itself, such as
surgery, radiation, chemo, hormone therapy, and cancer vaccines.
The non-specific basic therapy corresponds with the etiological path leading to the
immuno-insufficiency and the cancer disease. It is modified to suit the individual
patient's needs. It consists of:
Elimination of causal factors, such as head foci of infection including dental,
alveolar and tonsillar foci, malnutrition, abnormal intestinal flora, fields of
neural disturbance, physical and chemical exogenous factors, endogenous and
psychological factors.
Desensitization of the organism which has been sensitized by causal factors
by administration of autohemolysates and colloids.
Treatment of secondary damages, metabolic disturbances, the impaired
detoxification and the resulting defense weakness, by general measures, such
as nutritional immunotherapy, hyperpyrexia or fever therapy, oxidative
therapy, enzymatic therapy, phytotherapy, neural therapy and organ therapy
(glandulars), as well as substitution/supplementation according to individual
The basic therapy is a long-term one without any toxic side effects and aims at the
regeneration of the "big resistance," which comprises all the defense zones:
1. The extracorporal zone consisting of the physiological obligatory microflora on
mucous membranes which is responsible for the basic immunity of the
2. The epithelial zone consisting of all epithelial surfaces which performs
defense, filtration, excretion and absorption.
3. The lympho-reticulo defense zone which performs the important tasks of
phagocytosis, antibody production and detoxification. On this zone,
immunotherapy is mainly centered today.
4. The reticulo-histiocytary zone which is the pluripotent mesenchyme
embracing almost half of the body weight. It has been neglected in cancer
research and treatment, although it is of great importance to all defense
processes due to its various functions:
the stemcell function;
the transit function that intervenes between all nerves, organ cells, blood,
lymphatic and intestinal cells;
the homeostatic function;
the defense, detoxification and storage functions.
These defense zones are successive, are closely interrelated and are under neurohormonal control.
The blockade of only one function of one of these zones, for example of the
excretion, or even the blockade of the control system such as the autonomous
nervous system may contribute indirectly to a lowering of the defense potential.
During treatment, it was repeatedly observed that by the elimination of head foci, or
with a fever therapy a blockade of the neuro-hormonal functions was broken.
Dr. Issels' cases revealed that even in an advanced stage of malignant disease an
immune reaction with complete tumor remission can be achieved.
Experience has shown that comprehensive immunotherapy opens up the following
therapeutic possibilities:
Treatment of cancer of all kinds and stages offering a considerable chance of
recovery even for patients in advanced stages who have exhausted all
standard treatments.
Follow-up treatment to help prevent recurrence after standard cancer therapy
through restoration of the patient's defense and repair functions (the World
rate of recurrence after standard treatment is 50%).
Non-toxic preventive treatment for patients at risk, and those with
precancerous diseases.
Preparatory treatment prior to surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy to
reduce the risk of complications and in qualified cases, to render inoperable
tumors operable.
Treatment of chronic degenerative diseases which are untreatable by
standard methods.