SANTA ROSA, Calif., April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Isaac Eliaz, M.D., patent # 8,426,567, on April 23, 2013 for modified citrus pectin (MCP) and modified alginates as: "A method for enhancing mammalian immunological function." Specifically, the patent recognizes that MCP and modified alginate help improve the immune response in mammals, particularly humans.
"I am very excited that this patent has been accepted and that we are increasing awareness about the important benefits of MCP as a powerful, natural therapy," says Dr. Eliaz, an integrative medicine expert who helped research and develop MCP for numerous clinical applications. "In addition to other important pharmacological actions and benefits, we've proven that MCP is an extremely powerful immune modulator which selectively enhances different branches of the immune system," states Eliaz.
A 2011 study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, showed that MCP significantly enhanced natural killer (NK) cells' ability to identify and destroy human leukemia cells. MCP activated T-cytotoxic cells and B-cells in a dose-dependent manner, and induced significant dose-dependent activation of NK-cells. Furthermore, MCP-activated NK-cells showed significantly increased functionality in inducing cancer cell death.
This research focused on MCP's immunostimulatory properties in human blood samples, resulting in modulation of different arms of the immune system. The MCP tested consists of oligogalacturonic acids with a very low degree of methyl esterification, unsaturated regions and some unsaturated non-reducing ends. The selective immunostimulatory properties are proposed by the USDA-ARS coauthors to be attributed to the presence of these properties. Additional published research has established the immune-modulating effects of alginates as well.
"The dramatic ability of MCP to activate different components of both the innate (NK-cells) and adaptive (T-cytotoxic) arms of the immune system, demonstrates that MCP can be used in a very strategic manner to support immune function, which may prove useful for a variety of immune-compromised health situations," says lead researcher Steve Melnick, M.D, Ph.D.
MCP induced an increase in B-cells, T-cytotoxic cells and NK-cells in a dose dependent manner, whereby dosage escalation correlated with greater effects on the immune cell subsets.
The researchers demonstrated that MCP induced a dramatic ten-fold increase in NK-cell activation, and furthermore, a significant 54% increase in the NK-cells' functional ability to identify and destroy human leukemia cancer cells. Melnick further explains, "The modified citrus pectin used in this study consists of various polysaccharides that come in contact with different receptors or proteins on the membranes of immune cells. The immune cells become activated as a consequence of this very specific interaction." Melnick continues, "What was impressive was the selectivity, and in those cases the magnitude of the effect. For example, polysaccharides derived from mushroom species are known for their immune-modulatory effect. However, in my experience, those effects are considerably lower than what was observed in the case of T- cytotoxic and NK cell activation with this modified citrus pectin."
Regular citrus pectin is a soluble fiber derived from the pith of citrus fruit peels and has long been known to provide a variety of health benefits in the digestive tract. However, regular, unmodified pectin molecules are too large to be absorbed into the circulation, and instead pass through the GI tract undigested. MCP, however, is characterized by a reduced molecular weight and specific structural changes, achieved through a proprietary modification process. The reduced molecular size and specific structure of MCP allow it to enter the blood stream and circulate freely throughout the body. These changes also allow for much greater bioactivity and therapeutic effectiveness at specific receptor sites throughout the body.
Alginates are compounds produced by algae such as kelp, and have also been shown to provide a variety of health benefits related to metabolism, inflammation, and immunity, among others. Modified citrus pectin and alginates are also shown in clinical studies to safely remove heavy metals from the body and decrease the bio-absorption of toxins, without affecting essential mineral levels.
MCP is also becoming highly regarded for its unique ability to bind to and inhibit the effects of galectin-3, a protein associated with metastatic cancer, heart disease, chronic inflammation and fibrosis, and other degenerative conditions.
"This natural preparation addresses so many serious health concerns, it is an ideal tool in integrative medicine," says Dr. Eliaz. "By providing powerful immune benefits, blocking galectin-3, reducing inflammation and gently chelating heavy metals, MCP is earning a reputation as an important adjunctive therapy to fight cancer and other serious health conditions."
Reference: Ramachandran, C., Wilk, B.J., Hotchkiss, A.,Chau, H., Eliaz, I., Melnick, S.J. Activation of Human T-Helper/Inducer Cell, T-Cytotoxic Cell, B-Cell, and Natural Killer (NK)-Cells and induction of Natural Killer Cell Activity against K562 Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Cells with Modified Citrus Pectin. BMC Complem. Altern. Med. 2011, 11:59.
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