Highlights of the Integrative and Personalised Medicine Congress 2024

What a superb few days we had at the Integrative and Personalised Medicine Congress 2024, there were so many brilliant talks I listened to – too many to write about in one article – but I wanted to highlight a few in particular which really excited me.
On the subject of the impact of gut health in cancer and optimizing new cancer treatments Dr William Li presented some amazing research showing that in order to respond optimally to cancer immune therapy, you need the right kind of healthy bacteria, because if you enhance the microbiome you can increase progression free survival. So they are starting to test cancer patients undergoing immunotherapy and if they find their healthy bacteria is too low they are given a faecal transplant to boost it.  In particular, one type of bacteria they have found to be important is called Akkermansia and they have determined that if you can boost the Akkermansia you can boost your response to immunotherapy and reduce side effects. As an Integrative Cancer Doctor this is exceptionally exciting research to hear about. Dr Li also spoke about how you can even grow your own Akkermansia with pomegranate, cranberries, grapes, peaches and Zhenjiang vinegar.
This leads nicely onto another brilliant presentation again focusing on the impact of gut health, by Professor Robert Thomas, who developed Pomi-T, a food supplement for prostate cancer which incudes green tea, pomegranate, broccoli and turmeric . He spoke about the important of dietary fibre and that for every 5g of fibre you can increase in the diet you lower progression of cancer by 30%. This is incredibly significant when we think of Integrative Cancer treatment.
I also really enjoyed Dr Uma Naidoo’s presentation highlighting the role of GABA in reducing anxiety and panic disorder. She gave some excellent recommendations on how to build GABA using food such as buckwheat, chestnuts and tomatoes all being dietary sources of GABA. (Nutrients | Free Full-Text | Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review on Current Knowledge (mdpi.com))
As you know on my own blogs I have really been trying to understand metabolic syndrome through my own personal experience of developing it, so I made a beeline to see a talk by Dr Alex Wilber called ‘Metabolic Syndrome demystified – what is really going on.’ He emphasised that a fatty liver is an insulin resistant liver that stops breaking down fat, but still makes fat and also explained that as fat cells increase in size the blood vessels don’t increase in number. This means some of the fat cells die and that draws inflammatory macrophages into the fat which sets up this inflammatory response that we see in metabolic syndrome. So understanding metabolic syndrome feels essential in everyday general practice and the kind of things we can look at to support patients would be a programme of dropping carbohydrates, increasing exercise and crucially reducing stress and improving sleep.  
On a similar subject Simon Mills and Professor Kerry Bone talked about the role of medicinal plants in metabolic syndrome and dementia which was incredibly thrilling to hear. Herbs, spices and bitters have been found to modulate many of the risk factors associated with Metabolic Syndrome. I loved hearing that whilst we know about ginger and turmeric as effective spices for lowering inflammation – we shouldn’t forget cardamon as another important leader in reducing inflammation markers.
I am always learning, but the quality of speakers, workshops and panels at the Integrative and Personalised Medicine Congress 2024 was truly exceptional this year and I felt I learnt a lot in a short space of time. I’m already excited to read more about what I learnt from my peers, it’s an exciting time to be a part of Integrative Medicine.


Dr Elizabeth Thompson