First U.S. Study of Mistletoe Extract to Treat Cancer – Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center – Press Release

First U.S. Study of Mistletoe Extract to Treat Cancer

Mistletoe extract has been widely used to support cancer therapy and improve quality of life, but questions remain due to a lack of clinical trials and data to support its use. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center completed the first Phase I intravenous trial in the U.S. aimed at determining dosing for subsequent clinical trials and to evaluate safety.

The findings from the small study were reported online Feb. 9 in Cancer Research Communications.

The trial’s purpose was to evaluate the drug’s safety, but the researchers, led by Channing Paller, M.D., associate professor of oncology, also documented improved quality of life and some disease control.

The mistletoe extract (ME), known as Helixor M, was studied in 21 patients with advanced and treatment-resistant cancers of various types. The Phase I trial used dose escalation, exploring multiple dose levels delivered intravenously three times per week until disease progression or until toxicity. The study concluded the maximum tolerated dose to be 600 mg of ME.

The median follow-up duration on mistletoe was 15.3 weeks, however, the range among patients varied from two weeks to 101.1 weeks. Stable disease was observed in five patients and lasted, on average, for 15 weeks. Tumors in three participants decreased in size, and remained stable for two to five months, however, it did not meet official criteria for partial response. Patients also reported overall improved quality of life via a questionnaire. The most common side effects reported were fatigue, nausea, and chills and were manageable.

“Intravenous mistletoe demonstrated manageable toxicities with disease control and improved quality of life in this heavily pretreated group of patients,” says Paller, adding that additional Phase II studies in combination with chemotherapy are the next step, pending additional funding.

In addition, Paller says, laboratory research to better decipher ME’s mechanisms are needed, as the cytokines (cell-signaling proteins) measured in this study are preliminary and hypothesis generating.

Mistletoe extract is a semi-parasitic plant with several active ingredients that, in preclinical studies, appear to directly cause the death of tumor cells and stimulate an immune response. It has been used in Europe for several decades as a complementary medicine approach to cancer treatment alone or in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy but has not been evaluated in clinical trials. ME is not currently FDA approved for cancer treatment in the U.S. but is listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and is offered in integrative care clinics.

In addition to Paller, other researchers included Lin Wang, Rajendra Kumar, Jennifer N. Durham, Nilofer S. Azad, Daniel A. Laheru, Ilene Browner, Sushant K. Kachhap, Kavya Boyapati, Thomas Odeny, Deborah K. Armstrong, Christian F. Meyer, Stephanie Gaillard, Julie R. Brahmer, Ivelisse Page, Hao Wang, and Luis A. Diaz

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health P30CA006973, and Believe Big, Inc. Study drug was provided by Helixor Heilmittel GMBH.

To interview Dr. Paller about the study, email Amy Mone,, or Valerie Mehl,

Download the Mistletoe clinical trial results here >

Donate towards Phase II of the mistletoe clinical trial >

Link to original press release source >

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Mistletoe Clinical Trial Update: A Brief Interview


This brief interview with Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO, and Dr. Channing Judith Paller, MD, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, gives an update on the clinical trial of intravenous (IV) mistletoe extract in patients with cancer. The interview was part of the celebrations at the Believe Big Fundraising Dinner 2018. 

Interview Transcript:

Host: Hey, it’s quite an honor for me to share the stage with you two. And I don’t refer to you as Dr. Paller and Dr. Winters, although that is what we should call you. But it is Channing and Nasha. And it is an incredible honor for me to share the stage with you because you are two of my heroes. And you have been part of this journey from the very beginning.

You believed that this was going to be something special from the very beginning. And to look now and to see what’s happened and all of the support and new leadership and new vision is pretty exciting. So, this trial that we’re in, Channing, I’m going to ask you to kick us off a little bit. Can you explain the trial design quickly and where we are today?

Dr. Channing Paller: So, we are doing a standard phase 1 trial: 3 plus 3 design. So, for those of you not familiar, it is where you put 3 patients on the trial at increasing dose levels until they develop a dose-limiting toxicity from the drug. And then we add 3 more patients until we reach the maximum tolerated dose. We have 8 dose levels planned, and I personally consented 12 patients since I last stood on the stage last year. Yes, that is huge. And we have about 18 to 24 more planned, depending how it goes.

Host: And can patients still—so obviously it is still opened, and we’ve got time to do that. What’s the time frame on that? How long will the trial remain open?

Dr. Channing Paller: Right. So, I am thrilled to say we’re going to probably take another 18 to 24 months to finish those because of some requirements that we have from the FDA. So, the FDA requires that I personally follow a patient for 28 days to make sure they’re safe before we give the next patient the drug. Because of that, it will take some time to complete this. So, 18 to 24 months.

Host:  Fantastic, fantastic. So, Nasha. You were instrumental because of the work that you’ve done with mistletoe in helping us to advance from the initial design, which was going to be subcutaneous injection of mistletoe. And because of what you’ve done, it allowed us to jump right to the intravenous variety. So, tell us a little bit about, I know that Dr. Paller’s not able to share the specifics of the trial, unfortunately, so you need to let us in behind the scenes about the success that you’ve had with using mistletoe, and in particular the IV mistletoe.

Dr. Nasha Winters:  Well, I had great experience for many years with the subcutaneous until about 2014, when I attended a conference where Dr. Paller was also involved and decided to branch out into the intravenous. And the experiences I had with that took my practice and my experience to the next level of people’s response.

Some basic things that I saw happen clinically was people immediately having a sense of well-being in the midst of their IV. People who were on, in some situations, death’s door that were really failing, really sick, really weak, to watch their vitality, their color, everything change as they were having the IV drip. We also saw massive tumor lysis, meaning really quick push back of the actual tumors. Sometimes that can be a little bit scary initially because the labs can look a little bit frightening. But what we find is that that’s a very good and robust response.

And some of the things that Elise talked about earlier about pushing back angiogenesis, anti-inflammatory patterns happening with that, very exciting to see people have extreme resolution of their pain in the midst of these IVs as well. So many places that it seems to have just given a new leg of life to a lot of our patients that were otherwise failing.

Host: That’s amazing. It is great to hear of the success and all of those really complicated words that you just shared with us that I’m having trouble getting my head around. But in other words, the translation is “it’s working.” Okay. So tell us from your perspective, Channing you can go first, and then Nasha you can finish up. Why is this trial important, from your perspective?

Dr. Channing Paller: So, from my perspective, this Believe Big is amazing and provides amazing care for many patients.

But I am looking forward to the day that we can show if mistletoe really does improve overall survival and improves quality of life. Both of those things matter for my patients. And if we can show that in an FDA-approved trial, then we get to look towards the day where other oncologists can prescribe mistletoe and insurance companies can pay for it. And that will really transform care.

Dr. Nasha Winters: And I would absolutely say “ditto,” to that. But also, as a clinician who has used this in my practice since 2003 and IV since 2014, I already have gotten to witness thousands of people have a very positive experience with it already. And my colleague and I have trained over 250 physicians around the country in the use of this. So, we’d like to see these numbers continue to grow and these experiences to continue to grow as well.

Dr. Channing Paller: I need to add one thing. One, Nasha has been an incredible resource for me as I get more experience with the drug. And it has been a real joy to do this trial because most of the trials I do are investigational drugs that are toxic. And so this may be toxic, but they all feel better. And it’s just fun to treat them.

Host: Fantastic. Hey, join me in giving another round of applause for Dr. Paller and Dr. Winters. Thank you.

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End of Year and Holiday Giving – Keep Believe Big in Mind!

We are so grateful for the generous support of our donors and monthly partners. Without you, we would not be able to help patients and their families with the resources they need, fund the Mistletoe Clinical Trial, provide wellness grants, or encourage patients through Believe Mug distributions.
As the end of the year approaches, would you keep Believe Big in mind?  We are in need of $150,000 to meet our budget and fully fund the mistletoe clinical trial that is due to begin in the next couple of weeks!  Would you also prayerfully consider becoming one of our monthly partners?  Monthly partners ($30, $50, $100) enable us to budget effectively.
We will be mailing out an End of Year letter that will include a donation envelope or you can offer your financial support today by clicking the donate button below. All donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated!

 or text OVERCOME to 91999

Thank you! You are truly making a difference in the lives of others!
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Integrative Medicine Meeting in Germany

In September we had the opportunity to travel to Stuttgart, Germany to attend the Integrated Medicine Meeting. The Integrated Medicine Meeting was a gathering of over 250 professionals hosted at the headquarters of Helixor, a producer of Mistletoe. Our team met with experts in the fields of integrated medicine from all over the world to learn of new research and case studies in oncology. We toured the Helixor mistletoe extract production facility and learned how the plant is harvested, stored, and how the extract obtained from the plant. Our team toured the Helixor arboretum and learned about each specific species of mistletoe and the growth and maturation process. We also participated in a poster session and presented on the upcoming Mistletoe Clinical Trial at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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Stay Safe this Summer While in the Sun! Fight Cancer

Stay Safe this Summer While in the Sun!
Quick Tips About Sun Protection.
When you’re outside this summer remember to protect your skin from harmful UV-A and UV-B sun-rays. To reduce the harmful effects wear clothes to shield your skin, find or make shade (go inside, bring an umbrella, or put on a hat), plan to go inside during the peak sun hours, check the UV index each day, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and wear sunscreen to protect any exposed skin!
There are many sunscreen products available, however not all are created equal! We recommend using the Environmental Working Group’s website ( to research the best products or to find out how YOUR favorite sunscreen rates.
One of our favorite sunscreen products here at Believe Big is Coola.  Coola has a low EWG rating of 1-3!
When choosing which SPF sunscreen to use be mindful that anything above SPF50 offers only marginally better sun protection. Some companies will try to boost the price without significantly boosting the effective skin protection. And of course make sure the product you use protects against UV-A and UV-B rays!
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FDA Approval to Proceed with Phase I of the Mistletoe Clinical Trial! Believe Big

We received the wonderful news that we have been approved by the FDA to proceed with Phase I of the Mistletoe Clinical Trial at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center!
THIS IS HUGE!! You should have heard the “Woo Hoo’s” and seen the celebration when we received the good news! This is an amazing accomplishment for all of us and especially for the cancer patients who will benefit from the IV Mistletoe therapy. We have truly experienced God’s favor! Thank you for your prayers; God has certainly answered them!
So what happens next?
We have just one more step before we can begin to enroll patients in the trial. Johns Hopkins internal review board will now need to look over all
aspects of the trial in order to give us the green light to begin. We have been told that this process may take a two to three months. For those interested in participating in the trial, if you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to our eNewsletter at
We will be sending an email out when we hear from Johns Hopkins that patients can enroll in the trial.
Who can enroll?
All solid tumor types who have had one line of conventional therapy and are stage 4.
Please continue to pray for the trial, the patients, and for the remaining funds needed to complete the trial. Thanks to an anonymous donor, we were able to match gifts at the end of December and raise over $62,000 for phase 1 of the trial! We are so close and only need $105,000 more! We can do this!
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