Life Extension Magazine July 2002
Prostate Cancer Success
It was in May of 1999 that Miller Quarles sent his blood test results to Life Extension for an independent evaluation. While his doctor did not think there was any problem, Life Extension was concerned about imbalances in Miller's testosterone/estrogen ratios. Even though Miller had a long history of elevated PSA levels, Life Extension suggested a more elaborate test that measured the percentage of free PSA in the blood. When the results of this test came back, there was a strong indication that Miller had prostate cancer. Life Extension immediately suggested that Miller go to his urologist for a biopsy. The biopsy confirmed that Miller indeed suffered from prostate cancer. The only good news was that it was caught at an early stage.
For those who don't know, Miller Quarles is the founder of the Curing Old Age Disease Society (COADS) and relentless pursuer of the scientific equivalent to the fountain of youth. Miller's contributions to anti-aging research have generated international publicity. Miller was 84 at the time of his prostate cancer diagnosis and was by no means ready to give up without a fight.
Miller's doctor suggested external beam radiation treatment that can produce complications such of incontinence, impotence and life-long pain. These side effects were unacceptable to the still vigorous Miller Quarles. Life Extension informed Miller that there was an alternative drug protocol that was showing a high percentage of success. Just nine months after beginning this elaborate drug treatment protocol, Miller was in complete response.
Miller, now 87, continues to receive a clean bill of health from his doctors. By the time Miller convinced his doctor to prescribe The Foundation's complex drug protocol, his PSA had risen to 12. Today, Miller's PSA registers a negligible 0.1 and his doctor has pronounced the cancer cured. Life Extension prefers to say that Miller is in complete response and that quarterly PSA tests should be performed to make sure there is no recurrence.
"I'm a happy person anyway, but having my cancer cured has made me elated," he said recently from the COADS office in downtown Houston. "It means that everything I've been working toward hasn't been in vain-it would have been sad to find the fountain of youth, but die of cancer." Miller was just two weeks away from his first of 42 scheduled external radiation treatments when he was able to persuade his doctor to try drug therapy first.
Using protocols based on published scientific findings and the clinical experience of practicing oncologists, Life Extension recommended a therapy to reduce the size of the prostate tumors and potentially eradicate the cancer altogether. It involved a combination of four prescription drugs: Lupron injections (every four months), Casodex (50 mg in the morning), Mevacor (20 mg morning and night) and Lodine (400 mg morning and night). Mevacor is one of a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that has been shown to inhibit the activity of RAS oncogenes, a family of proteins charged with regulating cancer cell growth, and Lodine is a highly effective COX-2 inhibitor. Cancer cells use COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) to rapidly propagate. Lupron suppresses testosterone production and Casodex blocks testosterone receptor sites on prostate cancer cells.
Miller began this regime in January 2000 and continued it religiously for nine months. "This was the combo that was supposed to not only stop the cancer, but also cure it," Miller says. "And it did." He says he never felt at all sick from the cancer and the only side effect he noted from the hormone treatment was a daily hot flash that lasted about two minutes.
Of course, Miller kept up his regular formidable daily intake of vitamins and supplements at the same time. He typically takes some 35 tablets a day, ranging from antioxidants, such as vitamin C, lycopene and grape seed extract, to chromium picolinate to support healthy blood sugar, and garlic extract to assist the liver and pancreas in breaking down food. For the past decade or two, Miller made sure to include a roster of cancer-fighting agents, such as melatonin, saw palmetto and soy extract. But, Miller, whose PSA levels were high for years before his actual diagnosis (his biopsies over the years repeatedly came back negative) believes that he had a long-standing weakness in his prostate. "All these good treatments may prevent cancer," he says. "But they couldn't cure it once it had taken hold."
Still, his overall regime, including the anti-cancer agents, likely contributed to the general robust health that Miller enjoyed, even during the bleak days of his diagnosis and the stress over deciding on treatment options. "I wouldn't even have known I had cancer-I still played tennis three or four times a week," he recalls. "And, I never missed a day of work at COADS."
Since Miller last recounted his daily vitamins and supplements in 1999, he has made some significant additions-namely GLA-DHA and ascorbyl palmitate, also at Life Extension's suggestion. These are designed to address what appeared to be micro-capillary deficits that were impeding the flow of blood to his feet and ankles. Miller was finding that after walking only a block or two, his feet would "fall asleep," then tingle uncomfortably as they "woke up." After just a few days on the new treatment plan, he noticed that his feet were feeling better. "There really isn't anything else wrong with me," he says. "I still do pretty much what any 40-year-old would be doing."
That includes plenty of exercise. Miller, who was Houston's reigning tennis champion in the 80-to-85-year age group for several years, has now claimed that title in the 85-to-90 division. He also exercises his mental capacity as often as possible, by playing "duplicate" bridge. Duplicate bridge is the same as the traditional card game, only everyone plays the same hands. That means that points aren't awarded for a "good" hand but for how well you bid and play those hands. The challenge comes in remembering all the cards and in playing offense and defense at the same time. Miller is rated an advanced master. "I use this to test my mental capabilities and as a way to keep me thinking," Miller says. "To keep your mind active, you have to use it a lot-so I use the hell out of it!" He gives considerable credit to the array of supplements he takes for mental acuity, including ginkgo biloba, vinpocetine and zinc.
Staying healthy and alert means that Miller can devote as much attention as possible to his life's goal of curing old age. COADS is the non-profit organization that Miller started to raise money for life extension research. In 1999, that research had already contributed to the ground-breaking "telomere" theory of aging, which holds that a string of material-the telomere-on the ends of all chromosomes, determines the age limit of the individual. Every time a cell divides and the DNA replicates, it uses up a little more string until there is nothing left. A long string would mean many cell divisions were possible before death, while a short string would mean the opposite. This wearing away of the string is the aging process and culminates in death.
In the past few years, researchers that Miller knows and in whose companies he invests have made even more discoveries. For one thing, they learned that an enzyme-called telomerase-causes a cell to make its own telomeres. This was found by examining a variety of cancer cells, all of which showed high levels of telomerase, in addition to long telomeres. It seems that too much telomerase can cause cancer.
But the third discovery was more heartening. Scientists isolated the gene that makes telomerase, determining that it is in chromosome 5 of the DNA molecule, which is found in virtually every cell of the human body. That means if scientists can learn to control the gene so it makes a limited amount of telomerase-not enough to cause cancer-they could keep replacing the string so it never gets shorter. So far, scientists have estimated how to put enough telomerase into a gene to replenish the amount usually used up in a two-year period.
"You could take a pill every two years and that would keep your string at the same length," explains Miller. "And that would stop aging." The next step would be to actually add to the length of the string, Miller explains, which would make the body's cells act younger and reduce aging. "We are close to announcing that this can happen," he says. "That's going to be the fountain of youth-and I intend to be around long enough to enjoy it."