Episode 37: Frontier In Cancer Therapy With Dr. Matthew Halpert and Dr. Rafael Gonzalez

PYP Matthew | Cancer Therapy


Cancer has been considered one of the worst diagnoses anyone can ever get simply because we automatically associate it with death. Since its discovery, there has been several studies around the early cancer detection and cancer therapy. Countless lives have been lost in the battle leaving little to hope for. Fortunately, there are people like Dr. Matthew Halpert and Dr. Rafael Gonzalez from Immunocine Cancer Center, who discovered a breakthrough in how our own immune system can be used in our fight against cancer. Today, we will talk about immunotherapy and how our dendritic cells play a role in the treatment, and what sets this treatment apart from chemotherapy and radiation therapy. If you have been diagnosed or know anyone who is battling the big C, you cannot miss this episode! Hear how a patient diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer with only a few months left was declared NED, or No Evidence of Disease, after receiving this treatment. So get some power on your plate, sit back and listen in!


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Frontier In Cancer Therapy With Dr. Matthew Halpert and Dr. Rafael Gonzalez

We are going to take on a heavy subject. We’re going to talk about cancer and cancer therapies. We’re going to talk about a few cutting-edge progressive therapies that are in some studies and trials in the United States and how you can access those therapies outside of trials out of the country. Whenever I tackle a crazy difficult subject, I recruit and rope in some of the brilliant minds that are out there doing the research and treating patients. This episode is no different. I have two incredible doctors on the show now.

First, many of you know Dr. Rafael Gonzalez. He’s been on my show before. He is the world’s leading expert in cell therapies. He has done research on stem cells and case cells. I want to introduce a new concept in cancer, immunotherapy. We’re going to bring on some new words here and specifically in training your body’s dendritic cells to attack your own body-specific cancers.

When we’re going to talk about immunotherapy and dendritic cell therapy specifically, I wanted to bring in a leading immunologist, Dr. Matthew Halpert. Dr. Matt and I have had many conversations in the past about how crazy it is that when my grandmother went through breast cancer and several years later, one of my dear girlfriends went through breast cancer. They used the exact same type of chemotherapeutic drugs. It was disheartening for me to see that there had not been a significant amount or advancement in cancer therapies.

I asked Dr. Matt to be on and in this conversation because he was at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston as a Cancer Immunologist. He was doing research and giving numerous presentations. He has multiple peer-reviewed publications, books, and chapters in books in his name. He’s been cited a few hundred times in cancer journals. He holds many patents. He sits on multiple charitable boards, and he’s become one of the leading experts in cutting-edge science as it pertains to the treatment of cancer.

Why would I bring this with Power on your Plate? I want to empower our community to look at options and to feel empowered as a patient. When they talk about immunotherapy, which means activating your own immune system, specifically with what they call dendritic cells, think about your little general cells, the cells that go out and identify that cancer that’s hiding and attacking these mass-based cancers. I want you to be aware that there are therapies that are widely researched, available in the United States in trials and out of the country, that work with the body and are considered natural therapy.

I’m grateful that both of you gentlemen are here. I will only bring the best of the best to my community. Dr. Matthew and Dr. Rafael, thank you so much for being here. Let’s get into this tough subject. We are going to unpack a touchy topic for a lot of people. That’s the topic of cancer and what to do about cancer.

As I’ve shared with you guys a lot, cancer hit my family generationally. We have a lot of breast cancer in our family, including colon cancer. I’ve lost a lot of friends to breast cancer. When I was 32, my girlfriend and I were both had babies and breastfeeding. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. There is a lot of conversation going on out there but one of the things that have been frustrating for me is that there hasn’t been a lot of progress in cancer.

In the spirit of bringing things to our community that is cutting edge and worthy of having a deep conversation, I’m thrilled to have both Dr. Matt Halpert and, as you guys know, Dr. Rafael Gonzalez, leading experts in immunotherapy and cell therapies. We were together in Florida, and we had some great conversations about cutting edge, what’s going on in the world, and there’s got to be something new. There’s got to be help and support, so we decided to do an episode together. Dr. Matt, your wildly research is successful. You have a pedigree that could rival anybody, but I have to ask you, on my behalf and also on the community’s behalf, why in the world are you in cancer research and space? What motivated you to get into this?

First of all, thank you for holding this show and having us on to speak. I’m happy to share this story and tell everyone what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. To answer your question, it boils down to that. I’m a logical person. If we go back before the 1900s, and you go back to Dr. William Coley, who, through some rudimentary experiments, did demonstrate that the immune system is capable of combating, delaying, and doing something positive for cancer patients.

This would seem to be exciting, but this came about at the same time as chemotherapy also entered the picture. The paradigm of chemotherapy is much easier to understand. It takes on medicine and this drug, and it attacks cancer. That’s easier to understand than the immune system, especially around the turn of the 20th century.

Fast forward 100 years, we’re still using chemotherapy. We’re still using an outdated model. As I’m up through school, learning about various biologies and getting my degree, I’m left wondering, “The immune system is still king that still able to protect us every day of our lives from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and cancers.” We are continually trying to develop cancers within our bodies. The immune system is able to knock those things out, usually without you even knowing. That hasn’t changed.

My gumption when I entered the school and continued with my training in the Houston Med Center was, what are we missing? Why are immunotherapy and personalized medicine not a bigger deal? Why has this not taken over? What are the missing components? Quite frankly, it’s been a travesty up to this point. That’s what we’re going to fix.

I can tell that comes from personal inspiration, and it’s needed. You’ve said a couple of things that I want to revisit quickly. We have not changed the model of chemotherapy for a long time. Would you say that if we look at chemotherapy holistically as a whole, would you say that it’s been a wildly successful treatment, or is it that it’s an easily understood and prescribed treatment?

PYP Matthew | Cancer Therapy


The answer is both dependent on the era you want to look at. Certainly, when it started, you have to remember that way back when what were our options when you got cancer? Most of the options revolved around are go home and die. For a subset of patients, chemotherapy is successful. I’m not going to say that no one has benefited from chemotherapy or that there are no cancers that can respond to chemotherapy.

We don’t feel like there’s an either/or. We’re saying that chemotherapy is chemotherapy. Radiation is radiation, but there is a large part of medicine that there is tons of research around, which is more what we would call, correct me if I’m wrong, immunotherapy. That is now more available, more research, or showing promising studies. What’s the trajectory because it’s on everybody’s conversation when we usually go out of the country?

It’s in everybody’s conversation when we’re talking about a diagnosis of cancer and what to do. People are now talking about, “Are you looking at immunotherapy? You have to be looking at immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is the latest and the greatest.” Why now? Why are we seeing this come up in the conversation?

Chemotherapy is like using a sledgehammer and banging on that nail. What we’ve come to realize is that we need a screwdriver, and we get more precise results with that. As we’ve learned more about the immune system, especially exploding in the 1970s, here through the turn of the millennium, and within the past several years. The more we, as a scientific community, have understood how the immune system operates and how it can combat cancer, the more we have realized and woken up to the fact that the immune system is capable of combating cancer. It is capable of doing it in a specific, robust, and durable way, ways that are not typically achievable by most chemotherapy agents.

I always do this. Luckily my community puts up with me. I jumped right into the middle of the pool. Let me back up a second. Dr. Gonzalez, can you take us through what is immunotherapy? We know that we hear these words, the immune system, especially given our current situation. If a few things positive came through this pandemic, the fact that all of us have come together, whether you’re a lay person or you’re a person that studies the immune system, all of us have unified around the concept that the immune system is an important part of our body. All of us have an immune system, and there’s a huge spectrum for which our immune systems work on a daily basis. Our immune systems are something that is adaptable and reacts in a positive way based on the condition.

You both know I have an autoimmune disorder, which means my own immune system will attack itself sometimes. We’ve talked about my community. It’s why I’ve done cell therapies within my own body. We are talking about how the immune system works and specifically how the immune system works when cancer happens. How does cancer happen? What do we hope the immune system does? Dr. Matt said, “The goal is that the immune system takes care of it. We don’t even know about it.”

We take a step back. Immunotherapy is using your own system in the ideal situation to kill anything. It’s a therapy of your immune system, whether it has to be enhanced by something outside or not. It works with several holes because immunotherapy falls over, especially in the context of cell therapies. It could be that you’re enhancing the immune system to target specifically, which we’ll discuss in more detail later on in what we’re doing, a specific target. The context of somebody like you is enhancing the immune system to modulate it correctly.

For instance, somebody who has an autoimmune disease needs an immunotherapeutic or something that activates the immune system to regulate it. You have an overactive immune system. We want to regulate it. In the context of cancer, if you look at what transpires, the older you get, the more prone you are to get cancer. Unless in the context of children’s cancer, where there is a mutation and some genetics involved. That’s a completely different story.

My girlfriend had breast cancer. She did a lot of environmental medicine diagnostics, and she had a lot of toxicity that pushed her body into cancer. They were able to isolate and identify that. Can that happen when we’re young, like 50 or younger too, and not be an aging process?

The older you are, you’re more prone to this, and it’s because, unfortunately, as we age and your skin ages, your immune system ages significantly. A simple example of this is one of the key cells in your body that look and regulate this and make changes in it is the NK cells, the immediate attackers, and those ages too. They’re no longer killers. They age, and they cause a problem.

One of the other issues, and Matt can describe this in a lot more detail, is what happens once cancer is formed, the ability for it to evade your own immune system. We’re talking about its ability to hide. If the immune system is not active, the immune system needs that boost to happen. It can target, kill, direct, and get rid of it. Even from the start of its origin, not even allow it to progress to where it’s at once we’ve aged, but it is, if we look at it, a disease of aging.

I want to introduce something to the community, I always jump right in the middle of the pool, a new concept or a new term. Everybody now knows what in the world spike protein is. Everybody is talking about it. When they run and pick up their coffee, they’re wondering about spike proteins. We’ve got immunotherapy here on the table that we’ve brought. I understand what you’re telling me. Dr. Gonzalez is that immune therapy is a type of therapy. Do we call it drug therapy?

It could be drug therapy because you can use specific drugs to target specific cancers. That drug will stimulate your immune system to go after a specific target. We add a protein in or something in.

Immunotherapy is essentially using your own system in the ideal situation to target anything. It's a therapy for your immune system, whether it has to be enhanced by something outside or not.

We’ve introduced the word immunotherapy, which is a therapy that directs your immune system to modulate, to be a stronger fighter, or to seek out the cancer cells that are hidden. I’m going to add a new word here. I know that this is a fluid language for you, but for myself and our community, we’re going to talk a little bit about specific cells that are called Dendritic Cells. Dr. Matt, when we talk about therapies that affect the immune system, is it complimentary or alternative to doing chemotherapy or radiation? Can we define that here quickly? Would immunotherapy be in conjunction or in lieu of?

Either/or/and. Let me do this in broad strokes. Both chemotherapy and radiation have a similar goal, and that is to directly attack cancer. This is because the cancer is growing. It might be spreading. It is clearly causing problems. In an effort to delay progression or slow it down, that is what most chemotherapies or radiations are designed to do. Let’s directly attack cancer from the outside in this blunt way and see if we can get something beneficial with that. Immunotherapy is almost on the other side of it. It’s not per se directly attacking cancer. It’s educating your own immune system about what that cancer looks like and start attacking it in a physiological way, the way your immune system normally attacks and gets rid of cancer.

I’m going to stop you quickly because you said something that blew my mind. When you say we educate our immune systems, is that when you talk about personalized cell or cancer therapies? Do you take a person’s tumor tissue type of cancer biopsy? Do you take a tissue and train the immune system how to attack their own cancer? Is it generic if you have a Herceptin receptor-positive breast cancer and you want to go over those kinds of cancers, or is it body-specific?

The first thing you said is correct.

I want to collect what I have so far. We’re talking about now educating. When we talk about chemo and radiation, we’re talking about targeting the cancer cells with a particular type of therapy that is going after cancer. This is different. It can be used sometimes with, in lieu of, after, and/or I hope not before. We don’t even need to go there. That’s the goal. We’re talking about elevating and educating our own bodies, and targeting what’s going on uniquely in our bodies. You’re going to talk about dendritic cells specifically because that’s part of the education process. Am I grasping that?

Correct. A critically important component that has been overlooked for a little bit too long is what is now changing the shape of cancer immunotherapy.

Did you first start researching this when you were at Baylor College of Medicine as a Cancer Immunologist?


I’m getting it now. Thank you.

As Rafael was mentioning, one of the issues with cancer is it’s 1 cell becomes 2, 2s becomes 4, 4s becomes 8, and you’ve got this tumor growing, though there are differences. Those differences can be caused by environmental issues, genetic mutations, toxins, or a variety of things that can cause those underlying changes.

One of the things that tumors have learned to do is to hide. It’s almost like they know the immune system is going to be looking to take them out. They have developed ways to hide and mimic healthy cells so that the immune system completely ignores them. That’s a problem. We don’t want the immune system to ignore it.

The question becomes, how do we educate our own immune system about this threat? What can we do? By the ‘70s, ‘80s, and especially in the early 1990s, we had discovered the dendritic cells. Dr. Ralph Steinman discovered these in the ‘70s. He ended up winning the Nobel Prize for it. It is a huge discovery because we quickly learned dendritic cells run the immune system.

They’re at the top. They are the generals of the immune system army. They tell the immune system, “That’s a threat. Go destroy it.” They give it the win, the why, the how, the what they’re critically important. In the ‘90s and early knots, a lot of groups tried to get dendritic cell therapy to work for cancer.

PYP Matthew | Cancer Therapy


Can I ask a question? A lot of my community will go out, and they’ll get labs. They’ll check white blood cells, red blood cells, and maybe eosinophils in a basic metabolic panel, for example. Where would dendritic cells fall into that? Am I having my dendritic cells tested in that lab as part of the white blood cell community, or are they totally independent?

They’re going to fall into the white blood cell category, but they’re not usually prevalent in circulation. They tend to be more in the tissues. It’s not an easy thing to measure by a typical blood panel.

I had to clarify that because I started going, “How do I know if my dendritic cells are superpowered and doing a good job.” It makes me think about the cases that I see clinically or in my own family, those bodies that put up an amazing fight and those bodies that didn’t. I’m going, “Did they not have dendritic cell activation?” Do we use those cells to educate our bodies?

I’m going to interject that this has nothing to do with cancer, but jumping off of what you said, there are viruses such as HIV or hepatitis that purposefully high dendritic cells. It’s almost like they know that they need to take out the dendritic cells for them to be successful in viral replication. It’s interesting because viruses don’t think, but it almost looks like they’re purposefully taking out this cell type.

We know dendritic cells run the immune system. They would make an obvious choice to combat cancer. Unfortunately, the science was not up to speed when there was this push in the ‘90s. Though we had the right vehicle, no one seemed to have the key to turn them on the right way. You had groups doing a bunch of artificial things like throwing bacteria at the dendritic cells or throwing toxins. How do we activate them? We don’t know.

You had a bunch of attempts. These largely fell on their faces, didn’t work, and everyone moved on. What else can we do? Maybe we can’t do this in a physiological way, and we’ve got to start doing genetic engineering of T cells, or come up with a drug. What was completely missed or largely missed is that around 2005 to 2006, we figured out how to work. Nothing has changed about biology. They’re still at the top, and maybe investors moved on, but the science didn’t. We know how they work now. Let’s go back to that. It still makes the most sense to use them to educate your own body against your own threats, such as a cancerous lesion.

You were at Baylor for ten years. When you left Baylor, you decided to form a company called Immunocine to make this type of therapy more commercially available to individuals that were dealing with cancer. Is that right?

Yes. In my background as an academic researcher, I was publishing papers doing science. That’s what I’m about, the science. That’s what I think is paramount. It became obvious fairly quickly in the world of science. After years of science, it became pretty obvious that this is important. If we get into the details, it will be clear this is not a fluke. The immune system is not this fine-tuned on accident. This is a clear mechanism of action for the immune system.

People ask, “Why wouldn’t you go get that FDA-approved and treat cancer.” The response is we are. We have multiple FDA clinical trials going on now. We are trying to get this. I’m optimistic we will get this FDA approved, but that takes time. There’s no way to speed it up. Short of a politicized and obvious global pandemic, the FDA process is lengthy.

People always like to know, “What’s the five-year survival rate?” To figure that out, we have to wait at least five years. This takes time, but we’ve seen the science work and it helps people in a variety of clinical situations. It became obvious that we needed to come up with a way to make this more accessible now to patients who cannot wait for full FDA approval a decade from now.

A lot of clients or individuals that I come into contact with or people in my space, there is a lot of this going on out of the country. A lot of individuals choose to do additional therapies or this therapy as a standalone, some specified immune therapy, they can either participate in a trial and you guys have trials going on. They can go to your website, Immunocine.io.

I want to make sure that our community knows this. You can jump on that website, get more information, email and text. They have people on their team that’ll text. You can even talk about your specific cancer or a family member’s specific cancer, they can communicate with you, and you can talk about this.

If an individual is in our world and community, and they want to talk about immunotherapy in general and see if that’s an option, let’s say they’ve been diagnosed. They’re going to their doctor. Rafael, where do they go to get this therapy? Is it available at Baylor now? Is it available out of the country now? Outside of a study, we’re going to talk about how to get somebody into a study. If a person says, “I want to do this therapy. I’m going to learn more about this therapy. I had lost many people in our world to cancer.” That’s one of the reasons why as a family, we’re receptive and open to these kinds of things. We’ve seen crazy success with these kinds of things. What do you tell people?

The older you are, the more prone you are to cancer. It's because as you age, your immune system ages significantly.

First and foremost is understanding the concept of do you qualify? Everybody’s cancer is different, and everybody’s work function is completely different. It is important to understand you could have cancer, and maybe you might not qualify for this because we don’t believe that it might not work, we’re not 100% sure, or something like that.

We’re here to show, based on the science and evidence, that this works, and we’re giving you a shot to stimulate your own immune system to directly target the cancer that you have. I want to take a step back and understand for those that we talked about dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are the general or the conductor. Think of the cell in your body when you have a virus, anything, or a cancer cell. It’s the one that picks up that particular protein of the virus of anything and engulfs this thing.

When it engulfs it in or takes it in, it chops it up. Now it has the opportunity to spread its wings and show your immune system all these different proteins or portions in cancer that are there. It gives it the opportunity and finds the immune system, the effector cells that cause that target into the grip. It stimulates your own immune system, breaking it up into small pieces and affording all the different versions of it and how it’s available to your immune system. Immune system, please recognize this because you couldn’t see it before. Now, the immune system has the capabilities to make clones and to go after, particularly that protein that it needs to go after and go to it, direct it, target it, and kill it.

This is the opportunity that we’re giving to direct target specifically that cancer, not any other cells. Remember when you use chemotherapy that you’re talking about a shotgun approach. I’m killing all the cells around and everything else that’s around. When I use radiation similar, I’m suppressing everything. Here it is different. Here it’s a direct target of the problem. The direct target is presented by that dendritic cell to stimulate your immune system.

In cases where we use immunotherapy and dendritic cell therapy, do we see a lack of collateral damage? One of my best girlfriends and family members, where we have a lot of hair loss, vomiting, and the collateral damage with an individual that goes through that therapy. Do we have any expression in the immune modulation with immunotherapy?

There are immunotherapies that have some collateral damage, typically not dendritic cell therapy. There are therapies that activate your immune system. If your immune system is not fully educated and targeted, you can get what we call off-target effects, which would be your collateral damage. What we are discussing here with dendritic cells and our process does not typically lead to that. We see extremely fine-tuned specific results because this is how dendritic cells and the immune system work.

In your clinical experience with this and in what you do, you do a targeted type of immunotherapy. There’s this umbrella of immunotherapy, and your research has led you to offer a specific type of immunotherapy. Can you share it with my community, is it given orally or injectable? How do they make it body-specific? Let’s do that, and I want to talk about what types of cancers you guys are treating?

This might be a cut and paste here. To address your question from before, the current clinical trials we have are for a subset of pancreatic cancer patients and a subset of glioblastoma brain cancer patients. We hope to have one on sarcoma coming up. Those would be our three locations and trial sites within the US.

Is this sarcoma like soft tissue sarcoma?

We’re still determining that. It will be a discussion with the FDA, but aside from those studies, until this is FDA approved, it cannot be offered in the United States. We offer it with our top-flight team and facilities down in Cancun, under a compassionate use basis, which people are becoming more familiar with. What that means is if the patient and the doctors agree and if our doctors down there say, “We’ve looked over everything. You are facing a tough battle. We think this could be a good shot.” We then can make it available to the patient there out of compassion use and something we can’t do in the United States now.

To get back to the other point, I would say this personally, but I can almost say this on behalf of a lot of scientists. I’ve never seen immunotherapy more specific or precise than this right here. I don’t want that to be misconstrued as it’s a guarantee or it’s going to cure everyone. That’s not what I’m saying, but in over a decade of research in over 1,000 different targeting models and systems at this point, we have yet to see much of any off-target effects. The results from using dendritic cells physiologically. That means correct within biology leads to phenomenally specific responses in which whatever it is that you’re targeting is what is attacked.

How is it given?

In the context of this, it’s precision, precise medicine. We would need to biopsy tumor tissue from that tumor. We go and isolate the dendritic cells from the patient. We isolate their own dendritic cells.

PYP Matthew | Cancer Therapy


Is that with a blood draw?

That’s with the blood draw called Apheresis. We do apheresis on the patient to collect as much as possible. Various different portions of the tumor biopsy are loaded into the dendritic cell to stimulate that dendritic cell.

This is truly a unique, one-of-a-kind process. This is our differentiator. This is what all the science is based on. I don’t want this point to be overlooked. It isn’t that we’re using dendritic cells. People have tried that for years, and it hasn’t worked. It’s how we are using them. That is what has unlocked their potential.

Loading and then giving what we call a true vaccine because it’s precision to the tumor tissue or the cancerous tissue. That is injected. There’s a set of three different injections. They’re spaced apart every two weeks. That is given to the closest affecting lymph node.

What if it’s blood-based cancer as opposed to tumor-based cancer? Is this beneficial in tumor-based cancers?

We believe that this therapy would probably work for blood-based cancers. We are not treating blood-based cancers partly for this reason. We have designed this and studied this around the premise of getting solid tumor tissue.

I don’t want us to ever stop. I want us to have this conversation for the next several weeks. I know my community does too. I want to sum up a couple of things. One, people are going to have questions. We’ve talked many times before, but having this conversation, like this friend of mine, this colleague of mine, or a good friend of mine’s dad that’s going through some stuff.

If someone wanted to know if they were a candidate or learn more about this, and I’m going to be doing this too, I know they can go to your website at Immunocine.io, but what do they do? They go on and fill out a form. I know that we’ve talked that you have people that text your team all the time. You want it to be as accessible and as comfortable as possible. Give me an idea. If someone goes onto the website, what’s the plan from there? Do they bring their doctor along to Cancun? Do they travel with docs? Do they travel with you? What happens? If they go to the website and they find that information, then what?

They find the information they can register on the website. They can talk to somebody that’s on the website through text. We set up specific evaluations. Once again, we’re looking at the context of, are they a good candidate for this? We don’t want to disappoint and over-promise. If we think that we have a fighting chance and they have a fighting chance based on what we have shown them and what we can do, then we will proceed. If they’re accepted as a candidate, they can go down with the doctor and the family. However done it and everything is set up, there’s direct communication with the concierge service and the team that’s down there. They will talk to several physicians down there. Oncologists, interventional radiologists, and the science team everything is involved.

Essentially, it’s agreeable and doable. Everything is set up to set up the plan to come down where they have to come down and have to stay in Cancun for a minimum of about 14 days in the context of those first 14 days because there’s a lot involved. Remember, we talked about a biopsy and stimulating a little bit of the bone marrow to do this apheresis, where we are able to obtain those dendritic cells. From there, doing the magic and the precision that Matt has developed significantly on what makes this particular therapy that we do unique.

It’s a comprehensive approach. I have traveled out of the country many times with clients and for therapies myself. Unfortunately, in the United States, we’re in situations where there are some amazing and progressive therapies out there available. To talk to somebody, there’s no cost to see if they’re a candidate, check it out, or anything. That’s kind and generous. That’s wonderful. Thank you for doing that.

I know you well enough to know what an incredible personal passion this is. I know why you do it and that you’re out to make a difference in people’s lives. I wonder if a person is thinking and planning for this, and I know this is all on your website but do they go through one series of treatments, and do they come back for more potentially? How is the progress of cancer measured? How does that work?

It’s not hard to do. Let us know what you’re battling, then we’ll go ahead and do the review. We’re not going to charge people for phone calls and emails.

The more we understood how the immune system operates and how it can combat cancer, the more we have realized the fact that the immune system is capable of combating cancer. It is capable of doing it in ways that are not typically achievable by most chemotherapy agents.

I want to say to anybody that’s reading. If you’ve been diagnosed with any type of cancer, I don’t care. Promise me. You’ll get three opinions before you take any therapy. If it’s an out-of-the-box therapy that doesn’t have phenomenal statistics, the majority of cancer therapies haven’t evolved, which is frustrating to me.

My grandmother went through breast cancer and my best girlfriend that got breast cancer received the exact same drug twenty years apart. That was heartbreaking for me to watch. It’s been a big one for us and in our community. It’s a big one to empower the patient and get data information. If you have a person, a practitioner, a doctor, or a loved one that is encouraging you not to seek additional information, let that water off a duck’s back and ask.

That’s why I try to bring a variety of different individuals. They have to be at the top of the top because they’re in our community, but this is why I do this so we can have this discussion. On behalf of our community, thank you for letting us be able to talk to you guys and ask questions because it is one of the scariest diagnoses that are out there.

There is not a lot of good data, and then a crazy difference in care from hospital to hospital and state to state. I know that Baylor and you are well respected in the immunology world to be able to offer that to our community. I wanted to stop for a second and say thank you. I want you to know that we appreciate it very much. It’s a scary time for people that are going through this.

Haylie, talking about what you said, making sure that you get those opinions and whatever you decide to do, whether to see us or save it, that you specifically do a lot of your own due diligence. We are in Cancun and ex-US. There are many other entities that say they do this, have done the work, or have done significantly a lot of work. Do your own due diligence. Understand what you’re getting yourself into because there are a lot of things out there that are not crystal clear and not transparent. They’re saying they’re doing specific work but they’re not doing specific work.

Post pandemic medicine in the United States is a whole new ballgame. I hate the term, but everybody calls it medical tourism because it’s not tourism. You’re not there for a vacation. If you’re not well enough to leave the United States to utilize a different therapy, and I’ve had clients go to Moscow, Sweden, and Switzerland, we’ve been down to your guys’ place in Cancun. It’s scary. You feel like you’re leaving the comfort.

If anybody who goes through treatment with you, you’ve given them so much information, and I’ve seen you turn people away, which is nice. There are a couple of other places where people come back. They have never been turned away, and they probably should have been because it wasn’t the right fit or the right type of therapy.

How do you guys feel about it? Medical tourism sounds like some flippant idea that people decide on their vacation to get a little extra Botox. This is not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about crisis intervention for individuals that feel that the therapy that’s offered outside of a trial in the United States is not going to get them alive a couple more years or not completely trashed in the process. Do you guys have any pet peeves around together? Sometimes over some hot tea, we’ve got to come up with a different term because it sounds trite, and it’s not.

You know that Rafael got this phenomenal setup in Cancun with this beautiful, positive pressure sterile clean room lab that’s got all the equipment and the scientists. Before meeting with Rafael, I attempted to work this with a couple of other groups, and I’m not going to call out anyone on this. That’s not why I’m here, but I will tell you that none of them could do this science. They could not do it correctly. They were cutting corners that I would not cut. Ultimately, it was a big no. We’re not going to put out an inferior product and pretend that it’s good enough.

In our community, we do this thing that’s called Request For Care. I’m going to make a promise, and I’m going to rope you guys in on the promise. For my community, what I want to do is I want to formulate a way to articulate this for someone to be able to communicate it to their family member or their doctor.

For example, I want people to feel comfortable talking to their families because this is hard. I had a client that went to Moscow at one point for cardio sites. Dr. Gonzalez and the family were in complete opposition. He did phenomenally well but the family was in opposition to them going and doing this. It came out of fear, “What if something goes wrong? What if something happens?”

I have traveled with clients down to your place, and a lot of the families want to have conversations about that. I know you have amazing data on your website, but I’d love to offer to my community something that says, “If you’re going through a difficult time, this particular type of immunotherapy is or this is Dr. Matt, who developed this unique procedure. This is how we’re going to talk to him. We can open that door for our community.” I think that would be helpful. You guys are always gracious. You’ve never told me no before. I like to try for our community. This is what we come together for. It is to have options and help guide people through being empowered.

Haylie, you know that we are here to help. If you got to talk to somebody for fifteen minutes and A) Explain to them and B) Most importantly, give them hope and show them that there’s science behind the hope. That’s what we are here for. We’re here for that more than anything else. Even if it takes 40, 50, or 60 hours a week to go through 50 to 80, whatever amount of patience it is, it doesn’t matter. That’s what we’re here for.

PYP Matthew | Cancer Therapy


If we can help one, and I’ve always been like that. Matt has heard me and see it. If I can help 1 person out of 10, I feel satisfied that I was able to help a person and make a change in somebody’s life. Especially helping them in the context of live a better quality of life, living longer, and living healthier. I’m all about the immune system. This was completely enticing for me.

When we first started discussing this, I was like, “This is a game-changer. We’re doing something different.” Once again, here we go with the immune system. My focus has always been on the immune system, and now we’re taking it to a different level in the context of cancer. I’m comfortable and confident that we can help some people. This is not for everybody like we said earlier, but we can help some people.

We’re a group of scientists and doctors, not a group of salespeople and marketers. We’re happy to work with you on how to get this message across the right way.

When you have any model that works that way, it’s the only way that it works. You can market the heck out of something, and it’s going to fizzle out in the end. We have a human experience. I have to ask you a couple of questions because I’ve been to Cancun. Cancer is an expensive disease, even for individuals that have the best insurance. I’ve watched a lot of community members and family members go through financial hardship. The families seeking treatment out of the country with my clients and with people in our community are an investment as well.

What does something like this? I don’t know if it’s body specific or if you’d rather talk to somebody individually and see their particular situation. Is this a therapy that is equivalent? I can’t even say that because I lost my father in 2021. We’re still sorting out the medical bills. It’s been difficult and heartbreaking, but how is it monetized? How does that work?

Late-stage cancer therapy is expensive. There’s pretty little way around that. The National Cancer Institute, the NCI, there was a publication on various out-of-pocket costs for late-stage cancer patients in the US. This is above and beyond insurance. The average cost was $110,000 to $120,000. With some cancers cost as high as $250,000.

That’s not all at once. It’s piecemeal. There’s not as much sticker shock because it’s every month. The bills sort trickle in, and I’ve talked to patients who were like, “I spent $250,000.” It can be ridiculous. We take that seriously. We know that this is expensive. Until this is FDA approved, it is not reimbursable by insurance. We do need the patients to therefore cover the cost in Cancun. No, we don’t cut corners. It’s not that specific on the body part. We don’t have a menu of things where we make the patient pick and choose.

When they consult with you, and they talk about this, you guys talk about cost ahead, and people are aware of what they’re doing. That makes me feel good. Traveled or coordinated some care with individuals that have gone in or out of the country and done some what we call medical tourism. What they got into wasn’t what they got out of.

You go down to Cancun, and you’re in a car wreck. Stuff can happen, but from our side of it, there are no surprise bills. You’re not going to get trickle-in bills later, “Remember we did that biopsy.” No, that’s not how we’re going to do this.

I want to shift a little bit because cancer itself is such a heavy topic. I want to talk a little bit about it without disclosing people. For some particular patients, what have you seen happen? You’re doing this because not only do you believe from science and a lab perspective, you had all of that research and experience, and you wanted to bring it to the patient. What kinds of cancer have you seen, and what kinds of things are happening?

I’ll chime in here because this is what sold me on the importance of this. Not that I wasn’t before, but seeing is believing sometimes. The first patient that received this therapy had metastatic prostate cancer. He couldn’t walk. He was in hospice. I think he had a couple of months. He ended up getting this therapy and over the course of the next year, those metastatic lesions vanished. Cancer within his prostate became scar tissue. His own doctors declared him NED, No Evidence of Disease. That was eight years ago, in 2014.

His doctors, who knew he did not have a chance, called us, and they said, “What did you guys do? This is not supposed to happen.” We told them, and I said, “We want to be involved. How can we be involved? Start a trial.” That’s our glioblastoma trial is up and running. Those doctors had that patient saw this work and said, “There’s something here. What can we do?” That’s how a whole trial came about. Rafael and I are both very careful about this.

That’s a brave person. I have clients that are brave. They go out and try something. Dr. Gonzalez, you and I share a common client-patient that was brave, and now a trial is because of her. To hear that there’s this trial because of this gentleman, not only did he have life-altering success, but his bravery in going out of the box and doing this saved his life, and he’s changing the lives of so many others. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I want to take a second and honor that person on their journey and sheer bravery and change other people’s lives. I got chills when you told me that story. That touches my heart.

Whatever you decide to do or treatments you choose, do a lot of your own due diligence.

As a skeptical scientist, I admit that I thought it was a bit of a long shot. I didn’t anticipate that. When that went the way it went, some other cases where that happened, and I had to sit back and say, “This isn’t going to cure everyone. We certainly have it and I’m not going to promise that we will.” Cancer is challenging.

The fact that some stage four cancer patients who were told to go into hospice, which means you’re done, decided, “No, I’m not done. I’m going to fight,” got this and lived significantly longer if not to remission, with good quality of life. This isn’t chemotherapy. Your hair doesn’t fall out from an immune response. They’re going about their lives, and it’s invigorating. It’s encouraging to see that and to know, “No, we don’t have all the answers, but we are on the right track. We are heading towards potentially the end of cancer.” It’s exciting to be where we are now.

Would you say it’s your personal goal to put an end to cancer?

I don’t want to sound super naive. It won’t be an end to cancer, but it’ll be an end to cancer being a death-death. Cancer is going to happen. This is on the back end of it already being diagnosed, but the goal from the trials and from what we see in Cancun, and you ask about what types of cancer. We’ve seen triple-negative breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, GDM, and colon cancer.

I’m not sure we’ve seen a solid cancer type that this cannot work for yet. It almost becomes more about how much cancer is there and how much time do you have? This is a personal journey. If two people could have the same type of cancer, but one could have a little bit of it, and another could have a whole lot of it. That’s going to make a difference on can the immune system get this under control in time versus this that’s a little bit knowable.

The immune system is the one that takes care of it. It’s a bigger job, further along with cancer. Dr. Gonzalez, when we talk about clients that have ALS, the earlier we can do supportive therapies, the better intervention therapies. Is this the same with this type of cancer therapy? The earlier, the better. It’s always hard because the cases that I see go to you guys are extreme cases, and you still have some pretty phenomenal success. There is no easy case, but maybe an easier case every once in a while.

In the context of cancer, unfortunately, and the context of other stuff, which we have somewhat been the Hail Mary, which sucks. It is the truth. At the same time, in many cases, it’s been a blessing. We had a case that was sent home in September 2021, hospice, and in December 2021. Your timeframe of when you go to hospice is relatively short. We are now several months out. We are having some regression of cancer and direct evidence of regression of cancer.

She is living her life. She goes to work. We don’t know where her story goes, but at some point, you have to stop and say, “The fact that the story is still going. It is telling.”

I had this a-ha moment here listening to you guys say that. I’m sorry that it took me this long in the show to grasp this. I have been thinking that this could be a great therapy to give an individual more time to live with cancer. It hit me when you said, “We’ve seen scientific regression of cancer.” You’re saying that the body doesn’t keep it or modulate it. There are a lot of incidences that we’re seeing where the body can break it up and get rid of it. I don’t know why that hit me. I think with cancer, any aspect of hope, you go, “Okay.”

I have a dear friend that had metastatic prostate cancer, and the thought of if he could live with it for an extended period of time through radiation therapy, the family was happy. The thought of being able to be in a regressive situation is profound. I want people to get more information from you guys. My goal is to bring this to the forefront. I get to be exposed to brainy acts. I’m sorry. I hope that’s not bright scientists like the two of you.

I get excited when we start to have conversations and discussions because I know that there are many people out there. I hope that I can get the message out there. I want people to go to the website, text with you, email, and whatever modality feels the most comfortable. Most importantly, I want people to feel empowered and not afraid to seek more information.

I had the opportunity to work with you guys and see clients have proof is in, as you said, sometimes seeing it. In my brain, this would be a smart modality because I’m all about empowering the body, putting power on the plate, turning towards food, and using micronutrients to elevate the body and support your immune system.

I go, “If we’re going to fight cancer, let’s not alienate the body that houses our immune system. Let’s take this innate intelligence, level it up, and empower it. I want to ask you guys if there’s somebody out there, and I’d like each of you to answer this, who got a mass-based cancer diagnosis, what would be the first step that they should take in deciding if this is a type of therapy that’s right for them? What would you want them to know?

PYP Matthew | Cancer Therapy


I would want them to know that your body has the ability to fight this. It needs that extra boost and help. Unfortunately, we, on a daily basis, are stuck with ecological stressors and a bunch of other stuff. Hailey, you know well, when your body is busy fighting bacterial infection and Epstein–Barr virus, which we know, in many cases, is a cause of cancer or other viruses that are challenging your immune system. Your immune system needs that extra help. This is a method of giving your immune system the ability and the knowledge to specifically target that cancer and unify it naturally. We’re talking about naturally. I’m not talking about any chemicals or anything like that. It’s completely naturally

The primary reason this cancer has grown the way it has is because it has been hiding, and that’s a mistake that we can address and fix. We can wake up the immune system and get it fighting. People need to know that, I certainly never want to mislead anyone, it is doable. The immune system can find all those cancer cells. It can eliminate them. It is possible. The first thing you’ve got to do is we’ve got to get it educated. It has to know what it’s looking for. That’s why we’re inviting people to come to our site, submit the form, and reach out to us. We’ll let you know if we think that this is a good opportunity for you, and if it is, come on down and let’s get the fight going.

Your body has the ability. It needs help. This is not you. This is happening to you. These things are hiding from you. How can we reactivate the immune system? We all share a common belief system that our body is amazing. I wanted to ask you guys. This is a planted question. How important do you feel nutrition is in cancer prevention and cancer treatment in overall wellness on a scale of 1 to 10?

A solid ten for me.

I’ll go profile on that.

My goal is always to provide you guys with the amazing work that you do with the most nutrient-nourished patient so that we can scientifically improve the statistics of any therapy when you tell the body or the immune system to jump, or you ask the body to do something like fight cancer. I want anybody’s body to say how high. It’s a ten because the micronutrients nourish all of the healthy cells, cell regeneration, and anything else you want to add to encourage people to put power on their plate now?

Reduce your sugar intake and all the refined nonsense.

Move around.

Let’s make sure it’s called food in order to be labeled as food. We all agree on that. Make sure that you continue to seek information and stay inspired in awe by all that your body does for you every single day. When it’s struggling, or if you’ve had a crazy scary diagnosis, lean in, be kind to it, seek information, and make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with people like I do. I cannot thank you, gentlemen, enough. I get to share you with all the thousands of people that I care for and love. I feel lucky to have you in my world, in my life, and as a resource.

Come into FDA trials is darn slow. I’ve been doing this a long time. Many moons ago, it used to be hard and scary to go out of the country. It still can be in a lot of situations, but to be able to contact you, talk to you, and communicate with you ahead of time, I appreciate that. Thank you, guys. You have no idea. My community is fortunate and grateful for you both. I love talking to you, and let’s keep the conversation going. I hope to see you in Cancun soon.

Thank you, Haylie. We appreciate you.


That was a lot to unpack. The entire purpose of me doing this show is to try to shorten the gap between what is available in medicine and what you maybe are being exposed to in medicine. As we talk all the time, metabolism affects every aspect of your life. Whether you kill those cancer cells yourself or you respond positively to immunotherapy, we’re talking about activating your own body, your dendritic cells, those generals, as they called them.

All of that motion and activation, whether it’s stimulated through immunotherapy or your body’s doing it on its own by fighting viruses, fighting bacteria, and killing off cancer cells. Every one of those mechanisms is nutrient-dependent. There is a reason why I’m always after you to eat. When you put power on your plate, and you’re using food that is rich in micronutrients, you are giving your body the building blocks, chemistry, nutrients, protein, amino acids, and Phyto enzymes in order to be healthy and create a state of homeostasis.

We talked a lot about cancer and stimulating the body to fight cancer effectively. Every battle is more successful when you have tools, you are targeted and strategic, and you have a belief system and a hope that anything is possible when you treat your body well, you’re kind to your body, you feed your body, you tell it amazing things, and you nourish your body.

Our bodies are designed to heal, fight things that are not healthy for it, and be designed in every aspect to be responsive to good nutrition. This might be the information that you needed for a friend or loved one that was diagnosed, maybe for yourself. It’s my mission to bring you for free data that I collect along the way, gems that I collect on my journey, and beautiful people that are out there pushing the envelope with the intention to help people come back to help. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and until our next episode, make sure you’re putting power on your plate.


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About Dr. Matthew Halpert 

PYP Matthew | Cancer TherapyExperience in creating and running biotech start-ups around novel, cutting edge scientific advancements and plans. Efficient executioner, and able to be nimble and flexible as any project requires. Track record of increasing value assets and profiles quickly, and able to speak both science and business "languages." Continual innovation and development based on sound scientific principles in spaces capable of a strong ROI is a core value.

Also have experience functioning as a Chief Operating Officer and Director of Research and Development with a demonstrated history of working in the research industry. Skilled in several wet lab techniques (e.g. Histology, PCR, western blots, ELISA, Dendritic Cells, T cells, Neutrophils, Molecular Biology, Cell Culture, animal work, etc). This foundational academic and lab experience aids in development decisions, creating more accurate timelines and milestone expectations, and setting up strong contingency plans for all primary goals.

Early biotech business experience, working associated licensing deals, working with the FDA, executing stages of clinical trial pathways, scientific study proposal development and sponsored research agreements at academic institutions of excellence, patent writing and execution, vetting and sourcing needed GMP materials, ensuring quality of potential collaborators, including CDMO's and CRO's, and working with scientific and business teams so as all members of a team are always on the same page.

Always excited to work on cutting edge projects that have the potential to change the world and positively impact people when limited options may exist.


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