Psychedelic Therapy Gets Nod In Canadian Clinic

Psychedelic Therapy Gets Nod In Canadian Clinic

In January, a man with terminal cancer received the first federally approved magic mushroom treatment in Canada. Now the first clinic in Calgary has opened psychedelic therapy. Let’s know more about psychedelics and the research behind them.

Crux of the Matter

What Are Psychedelics?
They are hallucinogenic drugs, which mainly triggers an altered state of consciousness and causes psychological changes. Eg: LSD and psilocybin (magic mushroom).

What States Of Consciousness?
Meditation, mystical experiences, near-death experiences and ego death. However many such drugs are illegal worldwide under the UN conventions.

What Does The Research Say?
Certain studies conducted using psilocybin in therapies reveal that these drugs may assist with treating depression, mental illnesses, alcohol and nicotine addiction, etc.

What About ATMA’s Calgary Clinic?
It is Canada’s first psychedelic therapy clinic with the National Psychedelic Training Center. Their foremost patient was also granted a Section 56 exemption by Health Canada.

Which Psychedelic Drug Would They Use?
Psilocybin. It is still undergoing clinical trials but is safer for use for removing end-of-life distress for cancer patients.

Is This Palliative Care Therapy?
Yes. It is a treatment designed to decrease the symptom burden of a complex medical condition, in order to improve the
patient’s quality of life.

How Will It Work?

“It’s kind of the opposite of what a typical antidepressant or psychotic medication would do. Typically, they will suppress or numb down what’s happening in your emotions and spirit body, whereas the psychedelics will actually raise those things and allow a therapist to work with you to really work through and not just suppress whatever that is that’s holding you back, for example, for depression or anxiety, PTSD especially.”

ATMA Clinic’s CEO David Harder

  • Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics is a 2020 documentary film, in which the premise revolves around celebrities telling anecdotes about hallucinogenic drug usage. It is among the final film appearances of Fred Willard, Anthony Bourdain, and Carrie Fisher.
  • The term psychedelic is derived from the Greek words psyche meaning “mind” and deloun meaning “to manifest“, hence “mind-manifesting“. The word was coined in 1956 by British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond.
  • A trip sitter is a term used by recreational or spiritual drug users to describe a person who remains sober to ensure the safety of the drug user while he or she is under the influence of a drug; they are especially common with first-time experiences or when using psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants. This practice can be qualified as a means of harm reduction.

Can Cancer Be Cured With Just One Injection?

Can Cancer Be Cured With Just One Injection?

South Korean researchers have developed a phototherapy technology that can increase the efficiency of reducing the pain of chemotherapy and minimizing side effects after treatment. Let’s see how they have succeeded in achieving this medical feat and see if cancer can be cured with just one injection.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Chemotherapy?
It is a medical treatment that uses one or more anti-cancer drugs as part of a standardized regimen of making the patients cancer-free or prolonging their life by reducing symptoms.

What New Method Have Researchers Found Now?
A research team from South Korea’s KU-KIST have developed a cancer-targeted phototherapeutic agent that promises complete elimination of cancer cells without side effects.

How Is This Possible?
It involves only one injection and repeated phototherapy, which involves exposure to fluorescent light bulbs or other sources of light like halogen lights, sunlight, and LEDs.

What Have They Used?
Peptides, that selectively target cancer tissues and assemble themselves in a specific order only for tumour removal. On being injected into a living body, it is activated by the body temperature. Thus, eradicates cancer cells without affecting surrounding normal cells.

Have They Tested This?
Yes. The agent was injected into a mouse model implanted with a tumor, and the photosensitizer was stored around the tumor and was continuously released for 2 to 4 weeks.

No toxicity was found to destroy the surrounding tissues and major organs, even with repeated exposure to light, making it safe for human usage.

Other Conditions Treatable By Phototherapy

  • Skin disorders
  • Some cancers and precancers
  • Sleep disorders
  • Hyperbilirubinemia Jaundice or jaundice in babies
  • Skin-related cancer symptoms

  • The 62nd element on the periodic table is Samarium, which is used to treat a range of cancers, including lung cancer. And hence the famous show, Breaking Bad, has a total of 62 episodes over 5 seasons.
  • Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is a therapy using ionizing radiation, generally as part of cancer treatment to control or kill malignant cells and normally delivered by a linear accelerator. Radiation therapy may be curative in a number of types of cancer if they are localized to one area of the body.
  • The word chemotherapy was coined in the early 1900s by Paul Ehrlich as meaning any use of chemicals to treat any disease, such as the use of antibiotics (antibacterial chemotherapy). Ehrlich was not optimistic that effective chemotherapy drugs would be found for the treatment of cancer.

Knowing Dr. Viswanathan Shanta: Face of Cancer Care

Knowing Dr. Viswanathan Shanta: Face of Cancer Care

Dr Viswanathan Shanta (1927-2021), the Indian oncologist who was best known for her efforts towards making quality and affordable cancer treatment accessible in the nation, passed away earlier this week. Let’s know more about the Padma Bhushan awardee’s life in this piece dedicated to her contributions.

Crux of the Matter

Who Was She?
She was born on 11 March 1927, at Mylapore, Chennai, into a family of Nobel Laureates: C.V. Raman (grand uncle) and S. Chandrasekar (uncle). This was a time when Indian women generally entered the field of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Work In Cancer Institute (WIA)
Also called Adyar Cancer Institute, it is an Indian non-profit cancer treatment and research centre based in Chennai, wherein initially there were 2 doctors, Shanta and Krishnamurthi. She worked there from 1955 to 2021, where she became the director (1980-1997) and chairperson thereafter.

What Is Oncology?

  • Oncology is a branch of medical science, which deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.
  • There are 3 major areas of the branch: medical, surgical, and radiation.

Member Of Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission For Health
As a member, she was a strong advocate of early detection of cancer and the need to change public perception of the disease, particularly the extreme fear and hopelessness associated with it.

International Presence
She served as a member of several national and international committees on health and medicine, as the WHO Advisory Committee on Health.

In an era when specialised medical care in India has become highly commercialised, Dr. Shanta strives to ensure that the Institute remains true to its ethos, `Service to all.’ Its services are free or subsidised for some 60% of its 100,000 annual patients […] 87-year-old Shanta still sees patients.

One Of The Award Citations For Her

  • The etymological origin of the word Oncology is the Greek word ‘óngkos’, meaning “burden, volume, mass”, and the Greek word ‘logos’ meaning “study”.
  • The SPIKES protocol is a method used in clinical medicine to break bad news to patients and families. As receiving bad news can cause distress and anxiety, clinicians need to deliver the news carefully. By using the SPIKES method for introducing and communicating information to patients and their families, it can aid in the presentation of the material.
  • Percivall Pott was an English surgeon, one of the founders of orthopaedics, and the first scientist to demonstrate that a cancer may be caused by an environmental carcinogen.

Cancerous connection found between prehistoric reptiles and humans


Scientists have discovered a 60-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur tail that shows that the prehistoric reptiles suffered from a painful Cancer that troubles humans to date. Cavities in the tailbone of the hadrosaur had been formed by tumor growth of ‘Langerhans cell histiocytosis‘, or LCH. The complete findings of the study led by biologist Hila May of the Tel Aviv University were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Crux of the Matter

The Killer Cells
LCH is a rare type of cancer that originates in special cells that help to fight off infections. The cells end up growing and multiplying too quickly and they can form lesions and damage tissues across the body, with symptoms varying based on its location. The condition is rare among humans, but is more common in children between the age of 5–10 and is reported to affect around 50 kids in the UK each year. These tumors may disappear without intervention in some fortunate cases and linger for a lifetime in other unlucky ones.

Behind the Findings
To investigate the tumor-made cavities in the dinosaur tail bones, the fossils were sent for micro-CT scanning at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. The imaging produced is high-resolution up to a few microns. Then the dinosaur vertebrae were scanned and created a computerized three-dimensional reconstruction of the tumor and the blood vessels that fed it. The micro and macro analyses confirmed that it was LCH.

Researcher’s Take on it
Tel Aviv University anthropologist, Hershkovitz says, ‘We are trying to understand why certain diseases survive evolution, with an eye to deciphering what causes them in order to develop new and effective ways of treating them.’ He further explained how Evolutionary medicine is a relatively new field of research that investigates the development and behaviour of diseases over time.


Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements. While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans.

Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Another 10% are due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity or excessive drinking of alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation and environmental pollutants. Cancer can be detected by certain signs and symptoms or screening tests. It is then typically further investigated by medical imaging and confirmed by biopsy. More Info