Hitting Cancer from All Sides A variety of natural compounds help pin down the escape artist
SANTA ROSA, Calif., Aug. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cancer may be the Harry Houdini of diseases—it often finds devious ways to escape treatment. Because cancer disables our cellular quality control mechanisms, rampant mutations that cause tumor cells to grow uncontrollably can also generate resistance to anticancer drugs. Even if 99 percent of the tumor is destroyed, that 1 percent can come roaring back. How do we knock out that 1 percent? By attacking the cancer from multiple angles, using multiple treatments and strategies.
"We need to outsmart the cancer before it outsmarts us. To do this, we have to find ways to attack cancer from many angles, so it doesn't have the opportunity to develop protective mutations," says integrative medicine pioneer, Isaac Eliaz, M.D.
Recent research has demonstrated a variety of multipronged approaches to defeat cancer resistance. One study found that a sophisticated botanical formula restricts the aggression of metastatic breast cancer. The in vivo study, conducted by researchers at Indiana University and published in Oncology Reports, showed that a combination of medicinal mushrooms, botanical extracts, the flavonoid quercetin and 3, 3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) slowed highly aggressive triple negative breast cancer.
The formula significantly decreased tumor growth and breast-to-lung metastasis. The cancer metastasized to the lungs in only 20 percent of the treated group, compared to 70 percent of the untreated group. Also, in the treatment group that did metastasize, the number and size of the lesions was dramatically reduced. Significantly, these results were achieved with no toxic side-effects.
The formula's success against cancer may, in part, be due to the independent, anti-cancer properties of each ingredient working together to create a synergistic effect. On their own, medicinal mushrooms Trametes versicolor, Ganoderma lucidum, Phellinus linteus have been shown to reduce cancer growth and invasiveness. Extracts from the botanicals Scutellaria barbata, Astragalus membranaceus and Curcuma longa induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) and reduce cancer metastasis. Quercetin reduces cancer cell proliferation and helps suppress tumor growth. DIM, an active component of cruciferous vegetables, reduces cancer growth, migration and invasiveness.
Another natural anti-cancer agent, modified citrus pectin (MCP), gives the botanical formula even more power against cancer. In a groundbreaking study published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies, MCP, a type of citrus pectin modified for enhanced anti-cancer effects, significantly boosted the anti-cancer actions of the botanical breast formula. When co-administered together, MCP significantly increased the breast formula's anti-cancer action, further reducing metastasis in highly invasive breast cancer. In the study, low concentrations of the formula decreased cancer cell migration by 21 percent. However, when co-administered with MCP, researchers observed a 40 percent decrease.
Another synergistic study paired MCP with the chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin (Dox). Published in the journal Cell Biology International, the study found that combining Dox with MCP increased the anti-cancer activity of both agents. This finding bodes well for many cancer patients, especially those too weak for normal chemotherapy regimens, as combination therapy may allow for lower doses of Dox with enhanced clinical impact and reduced toxicity.
"The common thread through all these studies is that anti-cancer regimens with multiple modes of action increase treatment effectiveness," says Dr. Eliaz. "We are learning that the combination of therapies can be greater than the sum of their parts and that dynamic botanical formulas with different targeted ingredients can improve cancer care and reduce side effects."
Source: Jiang J, Thyagarajan-Sahu A, Loganathan J, Eliaz I, Terry C, Sandusky GE, Sliva D. BreastDefend prevents breast-to-lung cancer metastases in an orthotopic animal model of triple-negative human breast cancer. Oncol Rep. 2012 Jul 26. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.1936.
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