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About us

As a pharmaceutical company, we manufacture and scientifically research preparations for integrative cancer treatment. People are always in the focus of our business – either as patients, customers, partners or employees.

Our aim is to support medical professionals, patients and relatives and to improve their quality of life. We pursue a holistic approach by focusing not only on the disease but on each person as an individual.

Our preparations are based on the fundamental research of Ita Wegman and Rudolf Steiner. At Institute Hiscia, we have been committed to the ongoing research and development of anthroposophical medicines, their production and worldwide distribution for more than 70 years. We have the ambition to improve the possibilities of integrative cancer therapy and to complement conventional medicine in the best way possible.

Product range

Different mistletoe preparations are available from Iscador AG through Microbel in South Africa as solutions for injection.

The international product range includes the following mistletoe preparations in different variants and strengths:

ISCADOR M (Malus = apple tree)
ISCADOR P (Pinus = pine tree)
ISCADOR Qu (Quercus = oak tree)

More detailed information about mistletoe preparations is provided for professionals in South Africa by Microbel.

We believe in close partnerships with our suppliers and customers and in sustainable growth. Iscador AG reinvests any profit into research and projects that contribute to achieving our goals.

Thanks to decades of careful cultivation, our mistletoe plants thrive on mother trees in Switzerland, Germany and France. It is not only important to us to grow and process them locally and sustainably – we also work efficiently, flexibly and cost-consciously and offer healthy and modern workplaces to all our employees.

Production

All plants for our preparations grow in Switzerland, Germany and France. For their harvest and further processing, we focus on the highest pharmaceutical quality and sustainability.

Our production involves a lot of manual work, from harvesting to the selection of the plant parts and the packaging of the ampoules. Additionally, we use complex machines and production lines. All processes are subject to the strongest guidelines of Good Agriculture and Good Manufacturing Practice (GAP/GMP).

Two substances are said to be most important for the mistletoe’s use in cancer therapy: Viscotoxins and mistletoe lectins. Their concentration in the plant varies according to its subspecies, its host tree and the season, especially in summer and winter. This explains why we harvest mistletoe twice a year, strictly separated by subspecies and host trees, and produce a fermented summer and winter extract each.

Those summer and winter extracts are mixed on a special machine at over 10,000 revolutions per minute, resulting in final preparations with a balanced ratio of viscotoxins and mistletoe lectins.

Background

Mistletoe preparations for the adjuvant treatment of tumorous diseases are developed on the basis of anthroposophic medicine.

In 1917, Dr. Ita Wegman used a mistletoe extract to treat a cancer patient for the very first time. The basis of the pharmaceutical and therapeutic concept of anthroposophic mistletoe preparations was developed by Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy.

Mistletoe preparations consist of total extracts of the mistletoe and comprise a complex range of agents. They are used as adjuvant treatments of tumorous diseases in the field of integrative oncology and through research are continuously advanced.

Supply security

Mistletoe is rare on certain trees. Goal directed measures help to secure the pharmaceutical need for mistletoe in the long term.

The basis to securing the supply of mistletoe is the registration of wild sites with mistletoe-bearing and harvestable trees as well as anticipatory management of mistletoe stocks. In this respect, Iscador AG can make use of the work of the Verein für Krebsforschung (“Society for Cancer Research”) which has dedicated its research and practical work also to rare mistletoe hosts such as oak and elm trees.

Climatically suitable sites with perfect soil where mistletoe-bearing trees can grow under the most protected conditions possible are required for a sustainable supply of high-quality mistletoe.

The natural spreading of mistletoe depends on certain species of birds. Mistletoe seeds can also be placed by hand on young twigs in treetops which then slowly grow into mistletoe bushes. These can be harvested 12 to 15 years later.

For sustainable management of mistletoe stocks it is also imperative to limit mistletoe growth so that the trees’ vitality is not affected.

Frequently asked questions about mistletoe therapy

General questions

Who can prescribe mistletoe preparations?

In South Africa, only a doctor can prescribe mistletoe preparations. It is important to see mistletoe therapy as a part of an integrative approach to cancer therapy. Therefore, it is always used additionally to conventional oncological treatment and not as a replacement or alternative to oncological therapies.

What are the differences between the mistletoe preparations produced by the various pharmaceutical manufacturers?
As the manufacturers use different pharmaceutical processes, their products vary in regard to their composition. As a result, the mistletoe preparations of two different producers cannot be considered equal. When switching from one product to that of another manufacturer, you must start therapy over from the very beginning.
Why do you produce mistletoe preparations from different host trees?
The host tree supplies the mistletoes with nutrients. This results in a different combination of active substances in the mistletoe, depending on the tree it grows on. Mistletoe extracts from different host trees are used to achieve an optimal effect with the highest tolerability possible, depending on the type of tumour.
Which mistletoe preparation is best for me?

The best preparation is chosen by your doctor depending on your type of tumour. Further information on choosing the right preparation is available in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SMPC).

The following mistletoe injections are available:

ISCADOR M (Malus = Apple tree)
ISCADOR Qu (Quercus = Oak)
ISCADOR P (Pinus = Pine)

How important is mistletoe in the concept of integrative oncology?

Mistletoe therapy is an essential part of a holistic, i.e. integrative, cancer therapy. It is used additionally to conventional oncological treatment.

Complementary treatments like mistletoe therapy can accompany the traditional standard methods, such as surgery, chemo-, radio- and/or (anti-)hormone therapies, with the aim to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Application

Are there any interactions with other therapies or drugs?
So far, no interactions between mistletoe preparations and conventional conventional medical therapies are known. In laboratory tests on cancer cells and in clinical use, no impairment of the effectiveness of mistletoe therapy could be determined for the usual chemotherapeutic agents and (anti)hormone therapeutic agents, antibody therapies and most targeted therapies. Mistletoe therapy can therefore also be carried out during these therapies.
How do I store mistletoe preparations?
Since herbal remedies can be sensitive to temperature changes, you should store them in the refrigerator at 2°C to 8°C. For transport (from the pharmacy to your home or during holidays), it is possible to interrupt the cooling cycle for a short period of time, provided the total duration is less than 8 days and the temperature does not drop below 2 °C or rise above 30 °C.
What are the characteristics of an effective dosage?
A possible local reaction is a reddening of the skin (also accompanied by local hardening, swelling, itching/local discomfort, and/or local warming of the skin) up to a maximum of 5 cm in diameter around the puncture site, or an increase in body temperature up to 38°C. The local reactions can increase with dosage, but may also weaken or even disappear during long-term mistletoe therapy. Furthermore, the general condition can improve, which you may notice in increasing appetite and weight as well as normalising sleep patterns and a sensation of warmth.
For how long is mistletoe therapy applied?
It takes as long as the tumour disease persists. In addition, studies have shown that the therapy should be continued depending on the risk of recurrence (relapse risk). In most cases, this means for about five years starting from the time of diagnosis or after surgery, or even longer (e.g. breast or colon carcinoma). Regularly discuss the treatment with your attending medical specialist.
How often should I inject mistletoe preparations?
Generally, mistletoe preparations are injected two to three times a week. Only the attending medical specialist may adjust the plan if necessary. Particularly during the first months of treatment, an injection rhythm of three times a week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday) has shown to be beneficial.
Which needle/cannula and which syringe should I use for injection?

We recommend a cannula of 0.4 x 19 mm and a 2 ml syringe. Please carry out the first injection under the guidance of your attending medical specialist and ask him/her again whenever you may feel unsure.

How are mistletoe preparations administered?

Mistletoe preparations are injected under the skin (subcutaneous), since in case of oral application in the form of drops, the protein compounds would be digested during passage of the gastrointestinal tract. The injection is similar to the injection of insulin and you can apply it yourself after a thorough instruction by your medical specialist.

Read the Manual for Patients for more information.

When should I start mistletoe therapy?
It is possible to start at different points in a treatment plan and at different stages of the disease. Generally speaking: the earlier you begin, the better the effect. In consultation with your treating medical specialist, mistletoe therapy should start as soon as possible after the diagnosis.

Side effects

How can I differentiate local reactions from side effects?
A slight reddening and possible itching or localized discomfort at the injection site as well as a slight increase in body temperature are expected reactions. They indicate the activation of the immune system. Local redness at the subcutaneous injection site up to a maximum of 5 cm in diameter and a temperature increase to 38°C are considered “normal”. However, if the reactions exceed these values or you do not tolerate them, it is considered a side effect. In this case, stop the therapy and consult your attending medical specialist. Most likely, the dose needs to be adjusted and therapy can recommence once the symptoms have subsided.
Are there any side effects?
It is possible for side effects to appear. However, significant adverse effects have rarely been observed under correct use and handling. If the dosage is too high, so-called excessive local reactions with a diameter of more than 5 cm are possible. In this case, you should stop the treatment and consult your attending medical specialist. Only after the symptoms have subsided, you may continue with a reduced dose (next lower concentration). The same applies to strong general reactions such as an increase in body temperature over 38°C. In this case, you should review the therapy plan with your specialist in charge.

Contact us

Access to Iscador in South Africa is via the SAHPRA Section 21 authorisation process via Microbel. Microbel is the only authorised distributor for Iscador in South Africa.

Contact us to get access to Iscador.

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Business hours
Monday to Friday: 8am to 5pm
Public holidays: closed