Tuesday, April 10, 2012.
The March 30, 2012 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry
published the finding of Purdue University researchers of the ability of a compound known as piceatannol to help prevent the formation of mature fat cells by blocking the pathways needed for their growth. Piceatannol is an analog of resveratrol, found in grapes and other fruit, which is converted to piceatannol in humans following its consumption.
Purdue assistant professor of food science Kee-Hong Kim and his associates tested piceatannol in cultured preadipocytes, which are immature fat cells. These cells pass through several stages before reaching maturity over a ten day or longer period. "These precursor cells, even though they have not accumulated lipids, have the potential to become fat cells," Dr Kim explained. "We consider that adipogenesis is an important molecular target to delay or prevent fat cell accumulation and, hopefully, body fat mass gain."
Dr Kim's team found that piceatannol bound to the preadipocytes' insulin receptors during their initial stage of fat cell formation, which blocked insulin's ability to control cell cycles and activate genes necessary for the further stages of adipogenesis. "Piceatannol actually alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis, the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells," Dr Kim stated. "In the presence of piceatannol, you can see delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis."
"Our study reveals an antiadipogenic function of piceatannol and highlights insulin receptor and its downstream insulin signaling as novel targets for piceatannol in the early phase of adipogenesis," the authors conclude.
Dr Kim hopes to test piceatannol in an animal model as well as find a way to prevent the compound from degrading so that enough is available to the body to prevent fat gain. "We need to work on improving the stability and solubility of piceatannol to create a biological effect," he added.
With summer coming right around the corner, skin cancer will be at the forefront of everyone who ventures outdoors for very long. Sunburn damages and weakens the skin and creates an environment ripe for cancer. Just because you get sunburned doesn't mean you'll get skin cancer, but what if you do? The Australians may have the cure you need.
This Australian skin cancer cure may be all you need to avoid painful surgery, biopsies, and chemotherapy cream. It's a folk remedy the Australians used to treat farm animals. They would place ground up eggplant in a jar with vinegar and refrigerate it for three days. Using a cotton ball, they would dab the wound with the solution until it disappeared. Some would tape the dabbed cotton to the wound. The Type of Cholesterol Doctors Often Ignore
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The solution produces the phyotonutrients glycocides and glycoalkaloids. These destroy the cancer cells, but leave normal cells alone.
You can find some pretty impressive testimonials online for treating all kinds of skin cancer and other skin abnormalities, including sun spots and warts. People say it can cure basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, keratoses, and keratoacanthomas. Some even say it can cure melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
While I haven't been able to find any clinical research on its use with melanoma, there are plenty of studies on a new supplement that encapsulates this formula. The Dermatology Department at the Royal London hospital has a large dedicated skin cancer clinic. They have run extensive tests on BEC5, the new eggplant supplement. They recently conducted a study that showed BEC5 completely cured 78% of their basal cell carcinoma patients.
Dr. Bill Cham has written a book on BEC5 and the Australian formula. It has more studies, plenty of testimonials, and it has recipes for the folk remedy. You can find his book, The Eggplant Cancer Cure
, and BEC5 at Amazon.com. You also can find BEC5 at many health food stores.
WASHINGTON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The use of metformin in men with prostate cancer before prostatectomy helped to reduce certain metabolic parameters and slow the growth rate of the cancer, according to the results of a phase II study.
Anthony Joshua, staff medical oncologist at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Canada, presented the data at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2012, held in Chicago on March 31 - April 4.
Metformin is the most commonly prescribed medication for diabetes. Prior laboratory research has suggested that metformin may also help to improve prognosis in patients with prostate cancer by slowing the growth of the cancerous cells.
To follow up on the laboratory clues, the researchers evaluated 22 men with confirmed prostate cancer who had been assigned up to 500 mg of metformin three times a day prior to undergoing prostatectomy.
"This gave us the ability to compare what the prostate cancer looked like when it was first diagnosed to what it looked like when the prostate cancer was removed from the body," said Joshua. "We were able to directly measure the effect of metformin on the prostate cancer."
Patients were assigned metformin for a median duration of 41 days. During that time, none of the men reported grade three adverse events, and all of them underwent prostatectomy with no adverse effect related to use of metformin.
The researchers found that metformin significantly reduced fasting glucose, insulin growth factor-1, body mass index and waist- to-hip ratio.
In addition, "although these are preliminary results, metformin appeared to reduce the growth rate of prostate cancer in a proportion of men," Joshua said. "Also, it appeared to reduce one of the main growth pathways that may have contributed to the overall growth of the tumor."
These results may have implications for men with prostate cancer who also have diabetes or early undiagnosed diabetes and for men with prostate cancer whose tumors have characteristics that make them sensitive to metformin, according to Joshua.
Friday, April 6, 2012.
The results of a study reported by Mayo Clinic pathologist Ruth Lupu, PhD at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2012, held in Chicago from March 31 to April 4, revealed a protective effect for gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that is available as a dietary supplement, against the growth of one type of pancreatic cancer
"One of the most devastating facts about pancreatic cancer is the paucity of effective drugs that exist to halt a tumor," Dr Lupu commented. "We knew from studies done about 20 years ago that polyunsaturated fatty acids such as GLA could influence cancers in general, but we didn't know which type of fatty acids and to what degree."
Dr Lupu's team initially evaluated the effects of GLA in a number of cultured pancreatic cancer cell lines and discovered an inhibitory effect in a subtype that expresses a gene for fatty acid synthase. In earlier research, the team showed that fatty acid synthase is highly expressed in pancreatic adenocarcinomas and may be a marker of poor survival. "This was very exciting finding, because we realized that GLA was working selectively and had a particular target within cells," Dr Lupu remarked.
When GLA was tested in cells with high fatty acid synthase levels, 85 percent of cancer cell growth was inhibited, which is a significant improvement over gemcitabine, the standard chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer which provides only a modest benefit. When the two compounds were combined, the researchers observed complete inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell growth. The combination was also demonstrated to significantly inhibit pancreatic cancer growth in mice. "The two treatments worked synergistically, and we achieved a significantly higher inhibition of cell growth and higher incidence of dead pancreatic carcinoma cells," Dr Lupu stated. "We don't yet know why the combination works better, but we know that many drugs work better when used together."
Dr Lupu plans to test the combination of GLA in gemcitabine in humans with cancer of the pancreas. "Since resistance to gemcitabine and other chemotherapy drugs can be an issue in treatment, we hope GLA will work in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to offer patients a wide range of treatment opportunities," she said.
My patients bring me all sorts of interesting health information, and I read it all. Recently, one of my patients told me that she read that dried plums (prunes) can reverse osteoporosis. I was somewhat skeptical, but I researched it and there are several published studies on the benefits of dried plums on osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is the result of reduced density of the bone. Bone is a very active organ, and there is a constant balance between bone being made and bone broken down. When bone breaks down faster than it is built up, osteoporosis is the result.
Osteoporosis is weak bone and puts an individual at an increased risk of fracture and fall. It is not a disease, and lifestyle changes are very important. Weight-bearing exercise, vitamin D, diet and calcium are essential. Medications can also help, but all have side effects and, without lifestyle changes, are less effective.
In people with osteoporosis, there is an increased risk of bone fractures, especially the hip and back. Almost 1 million hip and back fractures occur in the U.S. annually. The direct and indirect medical costs exceed $20 billion per year. Preventing and reversing osteoporosis could have a major impact on quality of life and reduce the cost of medical care.
Plums are a tree fruit and when dried are called prunes. They are a good source of fiber but also are rich on polyphenolic compounds. These are considered good antioxidants, but the polyphenolic compounds also influence cell-to-cell signaling, reduce inflammation and regulate the expression of different genes in the DNA. They may also reduce bone turnover and have a positive effect on osteoporosis.
Several good studies have demonstrated that eating prunes positively affects osteoporosis. One study demonstrated that prunes prevented osteoporosis in menopausal rats. A follow-up study (with rats) showed that prunes were able to significantly reverse the bone loss associated with osteoporosis.
One blinded placebo controlled study in humans confirmed the results of the rat studies. This study, published last year in the British Journal of Nutrition, enrolled 160 postmenopausal women, not on therapy for osteoporosis. For one year, half ate 100 grams a day of prunes (10 to 12 prunes), while the placebo consisted of 100 grams a day of dried apple. Both groups had DEXA scans (test for bone density) at the beginning and end of the study. Blood samples for bone breakdown by-products were also collected at the beginning and throughout the study. At the end of the study, the bone density significantly increased in the group eating prunes. The blood markers of bone breakdown also were significantly lower in the prune group.
Although these studies are very intriguing, more research is indicated. However, there is no serious downside to eating some prunes every day, and the potential benefits are not trivial. If everyone does it, we might save a billion or two per year in medical costs. I am so impressed with these studies that I am adding prunes to my list of supplements and foods for my patients with osteoporosis.
* Patrick B. Massey, M.D., Ph.D is medical director for complementary and alternative medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network. His website is www.alt-med.org.