"She showed me research on mistletoe. I saw other patients through her who seemed to be thriving," said Diaz, who also researched the topic. "It sounds like it's very common in Europe, but hasn't hit the mainstream in the U.S."
The mistletoe trial's three phases will take between five to eight years and involve patients with different kinds of cancers and ultimately cost in the millions. Diaz expects that once the trial begins, it will attract other funding. Weleda Group, the Swiss manufacturer of Iscador, is providing the extract free for the trial.
"At the end, if we improve outcomes, if mistletoe becomes one of the ingredients in that cocktail, we'll be pleased," Diaz said.
To Page, the ultimate goal of the Hopkins' trial is FDA approval, which would make mistletoe an acceptable "standard of care."
"As of now, mistletoe is considered alternative medicine, even though it is used all over the world," she said, noting that she met with representatives of European mistletoe extract developers Sept. 5 and will continue to promote the treatment through Believe Big. "FDA approval would allow it to be used by cancer institutes, and that's why we're working through the process now with the FDA."