Viscum Effective in Treating Immunosuppressed Chernobyl Children

By: M. Lukyanova et al
(Original title: Viscum wirksam bei immunsupprimierten Tschemobyl-Kindem. Merkurstab 1994; 47: 509-10. English by A. R. Meuss,FIL,MTA.) JAM Vol. 12, Nr, 2


Aim: To assess clinical and immunostimulant activities of Viscum album whole extract (Iscador¨) in immunosuppressed children with recurrent respiratory tract infections.

Trial design: 15-month uncontrolled prospective observation trial.

Context: Outpatient care at Ukrainian Institute of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kiev, from March 1991.

Patients: 25 children aged 3-15 years from the 30-km zone around Chemobyl with URIs recurring 5-12 times a year and at least one of the following: CD3+ lymphocytes below 50%, phagocytosis below 60%, NK cells below 10%, CD8+ lymphocytes above 28%.

Intervention: Twice a week for 5 weeks s.c. injection of Iscador M in doses rising per week (from 2 x 0.0001 mg of whole mistletoe extract to 2 x 5 mg, maximum dose with defined lectin activity). Treatment repeated for 4 children.

Assessment: Frequency of infections, subjective symptomatology and clinical data were assessed before and immediately after treatment, after 3 or 4 and after 15 months. Lymphocyte sub-populations, phagocytosis, immurioglobulins and serum complement were determined before and after treatment, and after 3 or 4 months (except phagocytosis).

Results: 19 of the 25 children completed the trial. In 14 of the 19 the incidence of URIs clearly decreased. Prior to the treatment, 24 of the 25 children had more than six infections per annum. During the 15 months of observation, 4 of 19 children had no infections. General well-being, tiredness, appetite and pain improved. The proportion of T lymphocytes (CD3+), phagocytosis, IgM, IgA, SIgA in saliva, and complement C4 were significantly above the starting values on completion of treatment and 3 or 4 months later.

Conclusion: Iscador therapy proved clinically and immunologically active and was well tolerated by children who were immunosuppressed due to the Chenobyl disaster and presented with recurrent URIs.

Authors and Notes:

M. Lukyanova, V. P. Chemyshov, L. I. Omelchenko, I. I. Slukvin, T. V. Pochinok,}. G. Antipkin, I. V. Voichenko, P. Heusser, G. Schniedermann (Ukrainian Institute of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kiev, and Society for Cancer Research, Lukas Klinik, Arlesheim, Switzerland): Die Behandlung immunsupprimierter Kinder nach dem Tschemobyl-Unfall mit Viscum album (Iscador¨): klinische und immunologische Untersuchungen. Forsch Komplementaermed 1994;1:58-70.