Press Release 3/14/00
Genetically Engineered Anti-Aging Medication (HGH) Poses Undisclosed
Warns Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Use of the genetically engineered human growth hormone (HGH) for
anti-aging medication has become a major growth industry. Suppliers
of HGH, including those offering mail order prescriptions, are
proliferating on websites and the Internet. The Chicago-based seven-year-old
American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, with over 8000 members,
promotes injectable HGH in programs claiming to stop or even reverse
aging, including decreasing body fat, and increasing muscle mass
and bone density. However, practitioners of this burgeoning "health" industry
are either ignorant of or suppress well-documented information
on the grave cancer risks of HGH medication.
HGH induces growth promoting and other effects by
stimulating the liver to increase production of the natural Insulin-like
Factor-1 (IGF-1) whose blood levels normally decline with advancing
age. However, there are numerous publications in prestigious
peer reviewed scientific journals showing that elevated IGF-1
are strongly associated with major excess risks of colon, prostate,
and breast cancers; even minor elevations are associated with
up to 7-fold increased risks of breast cancer, risks almost
as those in women carrying genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) with the strongest
hereditary predisposition. Additionally, IGF-1 inhibits the programmed
self-destruction (apoptosis) of cancer cells, thus stimulating
the growth and invasiveness of small, undiagnosed cancers, besides
increasing the resistance of cancers to chemotherapy. For these
reasons, anti-aging HGH medication, compounded by failure to
explicitly disclose its grave risks, constitutes medical malpractice.
There are also growing concerns on possible risks from the use
of HGH nutritional supplements, including oral sprays. It should,
however, be recognized that HGH absorption from the mouth and
gut is unlikely to be significant, in striking contrast to
complete absorption from injectable medication. Nevertheless, nutritional
HGH supplements should be phased out until it can be shown
they do not elevate blood IGF-1 levels.
HGH medication should only be used by qualified endocrinologists
for highly restricted medical disorders, such as dwarfism
due to pituitary gland deficiency, as approved by the FDA in 1985;
medication has never received such approval.
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Cancer Prevention Coalition
University of Illinois at Chicago
School of Public Health
2121 W. Taylor St., MC 922
Chicago, IL 60612