Cancer Patients Compel
To Take A Closer Look At Emu Oil
Investigative Focus by
The topic of emu oil in medical
applications was recently addressed by Elton J. Lormand, M.D. at the
American Oil Chemists Society Annual Meeting & Expo held in San Diego
on April 27. Dr. Lormand is currently conducting research at the Advanced
ENT & Facial Surgery Institute in Cullman, Alabama.
Lormandís discourse "Potential
Medical Applications of Emu Oil" included a discussion on
observational science, double blind studies and anecdotal accounts of emu
oil. The doctor also discussed patient response and addressed the areas of
potential benefit of emu oil in the medical field including radiation
oncology, cosmetic skin therapy, rheumatology and hypercholesterolemia.
The physician relates that to date, he has
experienced only anecdotal personal experience with emu oil, yet
"extreme patient excitement compels a closer look."
Patients Speak Out
Incredibly, it was Lormandís head and
neck radiation therapy cancer patients who first introduced him to emu
oil. Coincidentally, patients of the radiation oncologist ( and member of
Dr. Lormandís research team ) were also using emu oil- without either
physicianís prior knowledge.
Regarding emu oil Lormand remarks, "
Our patients are basically directing our efforts. Itís not something
that I would have been inclined to pursue on my own investigate but our
patients are convinced that thereís a benefit to this. So now we
actually encourage them to use it during their treatment protocol, but
weíre not doing that based on scientific data- the patients simply
offered the opportunity. Most patients who intend to use it have pretty
much been made aware of the oil before we even mention it to them. There
are many cancer patients and they find out about each other, and emu oil
is one of the things they find out about so theyíll often ask us about
it before we even mention it. As far as the radiation oncologist, he
basically has a patient apply the emu oil prior to treatment. However,
none of the patients use the oil unless he approves of it."
Regarding the use of emu oil for treatment
Lormand relates that the patients themselves came up with their own
"I give them no specific instructions
on how to use it," concedes the physician. "The patients who do
use it use it at their own direction. They basically apply it 20 minutes
prior to their radiation treatment and some patients actually ingest emu
oil for the benefit of the mucosal surfaces. I donít recommend the
ingestion of emu oil because I have no data to support the procedure. But
for patients who have used it, the damaged mucosa side of the burn is
actually lessened as well."
Lormand relates that some patients apply
emu oil to the afflicted area after radiation. "Apparently they come
up with their own regime," he says, " and the trend, I guess if
there is one, would be toward applying it to their skin on a more frequent
The physician stresses that his view
regarding recommending the use of emu oil at this point is more of a
"Our position had been, " It is
not likely to harm you we just donít know if it will help you." But
the result in the patients we have seen basically has been one of less
burn than would be normally anticipated from the radiation dose. But the
number of patients Iím talking about is not statistically significant,
yet thereís enough of a difference in my mind to compel a closer look.
More Research Needed
Because his patients "suggested that
what theyíre seeing is real" and in order "to determine
whether that is true from a scientific viewpoint or not," Lormand
says that the use of emu oil in treatment requires further research.
"There is interest and that interest
is based on observationally results as well as patient reports but the use
of emu oil in my mind had only generated a question of benefit, and in
order to answer that question, research is going to need to be done,"
emphasized Lormand. "Multiple purported application will require
multiple research efforts. Anecdotal evidence may serve as a starting
Lormand, along with his associate radiation
oncologist, has decided to form an investigatory team to take a closer
look at the potential benefits of emu oil. The team is now designing a
single pilot, double blind study to access the benefits of emu oil in
radiation therapy with an "objective evaluation of skin biopsies in
radiation therapy fields with and without topically applied emu oil and
placebo." The patients will also serve as the control and the end
point will focus on histological criteria. Lormand relates that the
research project is currently at the institutional review board level. He
comments, "Weíll develop some preliminary data and if the data
looks promising weíll petition for a grant to conduct a larger
multi-center assessment study, which potentially would be at multiple
sites around the nation. From those results may develop other studies. For
example there may be some endeavor to try to figure our what it is about
emu oil that causes the benefits.
Adds the doctor, "It appears at this
point that emu oil is anti-inflammatory- that itís dealing with the
inflammatory effects of the radiation therapy however, this is only an
hypothesis at this time."
The Future Holds the Answer
Whether or not emu oil has any benefits to
cancer patients receiving radiation treatment, Lormand feels that they are
just at the preliminary stages of investigation.
"The methods for determining benefit
are well established in the scientific method, " he says, " and
due diligence is now needed to extract the answers good or bad. With a
pilot study we should have results a years after the study is underway.
Regarding any potential beneficial results of the study, the future holds
Elton John Lormand, M. D. is an ear, nose
and throat surgeon and facial plastic surgeon who specializes in aesthetic
surgery in laser resurfacing and laser hair and tattoo removal.
Dr. Lormand currently conducts his practice
at Advanced ENT & Facial Surgery Institute in Cullman, AL and is
certified by the American Academy of Otolarynology, Head & Neck
Surgery. He is also a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngic
Allergy and the American Medical Association.
Dr. Lormand initially became acquainted
with emu oil through his practice year ago. His practice has been very
innovative in introducing to the community several advanced head and neck
cancer, laser assisted sinus surgery and tonsil/adenoid removal and
comprehensive facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.
with permission of Emu Today & Tomorrow May 2000.