Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic, Healed with Natural Therapies (Glenn Sabin)

“Twenty-five years ago, my doctors had no cure for my cancer. So I went on a quest to find my own treatment.”  Glenn Sabin

In 1991, Glenn Sabin was a happy and healthy 28 year old newlywed. Then in the fall of 1991 he had some routine blood work that changed his life forever.  The tests revealed that he had Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), which is a cancer that begins in the lymphocytes of the bone marrow and extends into the blood and can spread to the lymph nodes and to other organs such as the liver and spleen. CLL develops when too many abnormal lymphocytes crowd out the normal blood cells, and the term “chronic” means that the abnormal lymphocytes take longer to develop and multiply.  This is a slower growing form of cancer but it is also considered harder to treat than other forms of leukemia. Standard treatments may include chemotherapy regimens and stem cell transplants.

Glenn Sabin

Glenn says he was shocked by the diagnosis as he had always considered himself to be a relatively healthy person who ate well and exercised regularly. Glenn’s doctors also discovered that his spleen was swollen and there was fear of it rupturing. A normal spleen weighs about 2 pounds, but Glenn’s weighed 7.  He had surgery to remove his spleen and his doctors recommended that he follow that up with a bone marrow transplant.  At that time Glenn says that the odds of a bone marrow transplant being successful were not in his favor, and so after careful consideration he declined it. Glenn was told there were some treatments that might help to alleviate his symptoms and possibly extend his life, but there would be no cure for the disease and his doctors suggested “watchful waiting.”  Glenn says that he was determined to find another path towards healing.

He began by changing his diet to mostly organic vegetables and fruits (he ate organic in order to avoid any pesticide and herbicide contamination).  He began to take a few supplements and developed a daily exercise program.  In 1998, Glenn went to an alternative pharmacy in Bethesda, Maryland called The Apothecary to meet with Dr Irv Rosenberg, a pharmacist and a nutritionist who worked with patients to find natural agents that would complement their conventional therapies.  Dr Rosenberg developed a supplemental protocol that was based on Glenn’s specific nutritional needs. FYI Glenn recommends that patients work with their own health professionals to develop a plan that is based upon their nutritional profiles.

The supplement recommendations for Glenn included:

  1. Calcium ascorbate- this is a buffered form of vitamin C
  2. A supplement that contained carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin
  3. Natural Vitamin E
  4. AHCC, Fermented Mushroom Complex
  5. Genistein (soy isoflavones)
  6. Inosital hexaphosphate (IP 6)
  7. Colostrum
  8. He drank lots of filtered water every day.

Glenn continued to have regular blood work along with bone marrow biopsies every year or two. He says that he felt fine for awhile, but then in 2003 he developed flu-like symptoms and it was discovered that the leukemia was getting worse.  His doctor recommended chemotherapy but Glenn wanted a second opinion.  He traveled to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where it was discovered that his red blood cell counts were dangerously low. The doctors recommended prednisone, which is an immune suppressor, and if they managed to stabilize the hemolysis he would be given several chemotherapeutic agents to attack the leukemia.  Once again, the protocols being offered to him were not curative, but palliative, and Glenn realized that he had to make another choice…he had to become his own healer.

Glenn agreed to have blood work done twice per week in order to monitor the severe anemia and then went back on his natural protocols of diet, supplements, and exercise. The exercises included swimming, meditative walks, or stretching, and he says that he could feel that his strength was beginning to return.  By the third week he says that his blood counts began to show improvements, and after a few more weeks, his fever and night sweats had subsided and his blood counts showed normalization. His doctor was impressed with the quick turnaround and suggested that Glenn have a flow cytometry test that would specifically look for leukemic cells in his blood. They got the results back a few days later which confirmed there were no leukemic cells in his blood, but a bone marrow biopsy found leukemic cells in the bone marrow.

In the fall of 2010, Glenn began researching the supplement Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (green tea extract), which has been shown to kill cancerous cells in various studies.  He began taking the supplement, but shortly thereafter it was discovered that the leukemia was returning.  Glenn was under the guidance of integrative medical advocate Dr Keith Block at the time, who suggested that Glenn increase the dosage of EGCG.  Glenn did this and by 2011 his white blood cell count began dropping steadily. Testing in March of 2011 measured is WBC count at 30,000 and by May it was down to 19,000. By July it was 9,400 and by November his white blood cell counts were well within the normal range.  He once again agreed to have a bone marrow biopsy which confirmed the good news~ there weren’t any leukemic cells anywhere in his body.  Subsequent testing in 2012 and 2016 confirm that he remains cancer free.

Glenn wrote a book that documents his recovery titled N of 1: One Man’s Harvard-Documented Remission of Incurable Cancer Using Only Natural Methods where he recounts his decision to take matters into his own hands and become his own health advocate. Glenn does not attribute any one activity or supplement for being responsible for his healing but suggests that it was due to the synergy of his overall program.  He lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife Linda, sons Miles and Jared, and mini schnauzer Leo. He is founder of FON Consulting, a business development firm dedicated to advancing integrative medicine as the new standard of care, he also writes and speaks about integrative medicine and cancer prevention.

Additional Reading

Read more about Green Tea Extract and studies relating specifically to leukemia

Read more about Dr Keith Block

Read more about a an anticancer diet, detox and supplement program

How exercise helps to clear the lymphatic system

Visit Glenn’s website


N of 1: One Man’s Harvard-Documented Remission of Incurable Cancer Using Only Natural Methods, by Glenn Sabin



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