Akita Rescue Society of America


Cancer Prevention

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Preventing Cancer...a new program



Artemisinin is now used successfully to treat some forms of cancer.  I highly recommend joining the group Artemisinin for Cancer if you are fighting cancer in your dog/cat.  The support you’ll find there is amazing.  There are some brilliant folks who offer advice and support that will get you through these hard times. 


However, if you have a dog that is healthy but you have concerns about cancer because of the number of cases in your breed or a high incidence of cancer in your lines, or any other reason, then you are encouraged to participate in this informal group of people using Artemisinin for prevention.  Join us at:


Dr. Henry Lai, at the University of Washington, one of the original researchers who discovered the benefits of Arte in treating cancer, recommends using Arte as a preventative.  He takes it himself! 

Artemisinin is derived from the sweet wormwood plant (Artemisia annua L). Sweet wormwood has been used in herbal Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years, and is eaten in salads in some Asian countries.  Artemesia is a simple plant that grows in Southeast Asia; it has been used it for years to treat intestinal parasites and the World Health Organization recommends it as a safe malaria treatment. 

“Malaria is a parasite (Plasmodium) that infects the iron-rich red blood cell and accumulates iron. While the body avidly shields iron in a bound-up state (hemoglobin, enzymes, etc.), excess iron accumulates in the parasite, and the accumulation allows some iron to spill out of the bound state and become free. When the Artemisinin products contact the iron – boom! A huge burst of free radicals is unleashed, virtually blowing up the cell harboring the free iron and destroying the parasite,” writes Dr. Robert Jay Rowen in his article “Artemisinin and Cancer.”

Its use in the treatment of cancer is credited to Drs. Henry Lai and Narenda Singh, bio-engineering professors at the University of Washington, who reported on the active agent of this Asian herb (Artemisinin). They said the herb “might provide a safe, non-toxic, and inexpensive alternative for cancer patients.”

Cancer cells have the highest concentration of iron in their cells because they need that iron to stimulate growth, get a good blood supply going and eventually kill the host!  “Because they multiply so rapidly, most cancer cells need more iron than normal cells to replicate DNA. To facilitate that, cancer cells have inlets on their surface, known as transferrin receptors, in greater numbers than other cells. Those receptors allow quick transport into the cell of transferrin, an iron-carrying protein found in blood. In creating the compound, researchers bound Artemisinin to transferrin at the molecular level. The combination of the two ingredients appears to fool the cancer cell.” (http://www.news-medical.net/?id=7694)

An article appearing in Life Sciences in 2001 by Drs. Singh and Lai at the University of Washington detailed the rapid and complete destruction of a radiation-resistant breast cancer cell line in vitro.  The destruction occurred within 8 hours and had little effect on normal cells. 


Artemisinin has two semi-synthetic derivatives: Artesunate and Artemether.  A paper published in Oncology in 2001 described the cytotoxic effects of Artesunate against a wide variety of cancers including melanomas, breast, ovarian, leukemia and colon cancers. The growth of all of these cancers was inhibited by 50%.


The use of Artemisinin in preventing canine cancers was an idea discussed on the Artemisinin For Cancer group.  We had all used the Arte to treat cancer, with varying degrees of success and with the assistance of Dr. Lai and Singh.  Because we did get a lot more time with our dogs—my Leonberger, Jazzie, lived 13 months longer on this treatment—we thought of using it to prevent the growth of cancer perhaps as it begins to form at a cellular level. 


Because cancer may not have formed, or may be in the earliest undetectable stages of formation, using Arte daily is not necessary.  The idea is to use it periodically throughout the life of the dog on a monthly basis to destroy the onset of cancer as the cells begin to divide and grow before symptoms manifest the disease.




For the purposes of prevention, it is suggested that we use two forms: the pure Artemisinin available from Holley Pharmaceuticals in combination with the powerful synthetic, Artesunate, available from WellCare Pharmaceutical.  You can get this mail order, and they are reasonably priced.  Far cheaper than treating an existing cancer!


The source for the highest quality Arte used at Washington State University is Holley Pharmaceuticals.  Here is their website:





A source for Artesunate recommended by Dr. Singh is WellCare Pharmaceutical Co.




These supplements come in 50mg capsules; the Artemisinin comes in 100mg capsules as well.  These are the only two companies recommended because their quality control and the products are pharmaceutical grade which means 99% pure.




Artemisinin and its derivatives cannot be absorbed consistently, therefore, it is pulsed when treating cancer; for example, 5 days on and 7 days off.  This program will begin with loading and turn into a pulsing, 3 days on 27 days off. 

"Summary (Loading and Continuation Dosing):

7 days on (Artemisinin and artesunate)
7 days off (no usage)
7 days on (Artemisinin and artesunate)
21 days off
3 days on
27 days off
3 days on
27 days off
(Continue the "3 days on, 27 days off" as a maintenance regimen)"


The amount to give is 1 to 3 mg per pound.  I am using 1 mg per pound for Abbie. I will increase that amount to 2mg per pound after a few months. 

The researchers recommend evening dosing at 10:00 p.m. since cancer cells grow faster at night. 

No anti-oxidants should be given before using the combination of Artemisinin and Artesunate because anti-oxidants destroy free radicals in cells and it is the action of free radicals by Artemisinin that destroys the cancer cells.  Some anti-oxidants like vitamin E have a long life in the body.

Since you have 7 days between the loading periods and 27 days a month when you are not using the Arte, give whatever additional supplements you wish during those “off” periods but avoid using them when using Arte.  Also avoid feeding liver since it is rich in iron, as is peanut butter.  Hey, my dogs always loved peanut butter!

Give the Arte/Artesunate
with some natural fat to enhance absorption. Any iron present from residual food may neutralize the supplements; therefore, no liver or other high iron foods should be fed for 6-8 hours before the dose.  Milk is one of the few foods with minimal iron. Whole milk, cottage cheese or yogurt, contain ample fat to enhance absorption; I use butter.  The butter is used to wrap around the small capsules and get those into Abbie who hates pills of any type!

The most recent research on Artemisinin has yielded results that offer the promise of better absorption by adding another supplement to the regimen: Curcumin.
Curcumin is the ‘active’ ingredient of the Indian/Asian curry spice Turmeric. Curcuma Longa, is a member of the ginger family and is found throughout Southern Asia, even growing wild in the Himalayas.  It has many cancer killing effects alone but when combined with Artemisinin/Artesunate, it enhances the absorption.  For more information on curcumin in cancer, read this article:


You need to give 3 times as much curcumin as Artemisinin.  For example, if you give 500mg of Artemisinin, then give 1,500mg of curcumin.  The curcumin is given throughout the day.

Dr. Rowen tells his patients that cancer could be like the malaria parasite. If just one cell remains, it can find its way back. “Thus, as in malaria, although the parasite is cleared in a few days, prolonged treatment best prevents relapse. And the beauty of this treatment is that it is non-toxic, so you can continue taking it indefinitely with no expected sided effects.”


Dr. Lai and Singh have been very good about sharing their expertise with dog owners.  They have only asked that we keep records and keep them informed in return.  The application of these forms of Artemisinin in treating and in preventing cancer in dogs can be extrapolated back to humans.  That means, perhaps someday, taking simple capsules a few days a month will prevent breast and prostate cancers. 

Please stay with the group to post results.  If you are using these supplements, we need to know if any form of cancer develops.  The researchers are hard at work to find ways of more specifically targeting cancer cells.  We will keep you informed.

To read more about the successes of using Arte in cancer treatment, Google Artemisinin or visit these websites:







(c) 2008-2012

You can use Life Guard 4 Pets which is the veterinary form of Avemar for prevention by dosing with one half of the amount
used for therapeutic treatment.  I am using it now and highly recommend it.