A family of chemicals naturally produced by fungi are phenomenally effective at killing human cancer cells, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and published in the journal Chemical Science.
“What was particularly exciting to us was to see, across various cancer cell lines, that some of them are quite potent,” lead researcher Mohammad Movassaghi said.
The study was funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Researchers have known for some time that a fungal chemical known as 11,11′-dideoxyverticillin demonstrates cancer fighting properties, but the chemical occurs in such small quantities that it was impossible to test its potency. Then a few years ago, MIT scientists successfully synthesized the chemical in the lab.
11,11′-dideoxyverticillin is just one of a family a fungal chemicals known as epipolythiodiketopiperazine (ETP) alkaloids. Scientists believe that fungi use ETP alkaloids to prevent other organisms from moving into the territory where they are living. In the new study, the researchers artificially synthesized 60 different ETP alkaloids and related chemicals in order to test them against different cancer lines.
“There’s a lot of data out there, very exciting data, but one thing we were interested in doing is taking a large panel of these compounds, and for the first time, evaluating them in a uniform manner,” Movassaghi said.
Alkaloids target cancer cells, ignore healthy ones
The researchers tested each of the 60 compounds against both lymphoma and cervical cancer, then took the 25 most effective chemicals and further tested them against breast, kidney and lung cancers. They found that the cancer-fighting chemicals were 1,000 times more likely to kill a cancer cell than they were to kill a healthy cell.
Because the scientists had manufactured all 60 chemicals by systematically varying specific parts of their underlying chemical structure, they were then able to isolate the chemical properties that make these fungal compounds most effective against cancer.
For example, the researchers found that two ETP molecules joined together were more effective than solitary ETP molecules, and that compounds containing two sulfur atoms were more effective than those containing fewer.
Significantly, the researchers were also able to identify portions of the fungal molecules that can be changed without producing any reduction in cancer-fighting effectiveness. This may help scientists turn the naturally occurring ETPs into more potent anti-cancer drugs, by replacing these “neutral” sections of the molecule with antibodies or other molecules designed to specifically deliver the ETP to a cancer cell.
The researchers now plan to use their findings to develop more precise cancer-fighting ETPs.
“We can go in with far greater precision and test the hypotheses we’re developing in terms of what portions of the molecules are most significant at retaining or enhancing biological activity,” Movassaghi said.
Numerous drugs currently on the market have been derived from fungi. The most famous of these is penicillin, the first modern antibiotic, which was derived in 1929 from a species of mold known as Penicillium rubens.
The benefits of grape seed extract in cancer are well documented, but modern medicine won’t do anything with it until the mechanism of action has been found, so that it can be isolated, purified, made poisonous and owned by a single company for enormous profits.
The more advanced cancer is, the less effective chemotherapy is. However, a new study has shown that grape seed extract has exactly the opposite quality: The more advanced the cancer, the less extract that’s needed to kill it. On top of that, the study also shows that grape seed extract targets the cancer cells that become most resistant to chemotherapy.
In the face of this remarkable new development, it’s likely that grape seed extract is more effective in treating late-stage cancer than modern medicine’s chemotherapy. Not only does it take less and less of the substance to kill cancer cells, it’s able to target the cells that have become drug resistant, thus making chemo useless!
Yet again, the common misperception that modern medicine’s treatments are stronger or more potent or better in any way is shown to be mistaken. Sadly, it’s a mistake that can kill.
The study in question was produced in the University of Colorado Cancer Center and published in the journal Cancer Letters. It was an in vitro study, not in vivo. That is, no living creatures were involved. The study was performed on cell cultures. That might make it seem relatively insignificant. However, much prior research has already documented grape seed extract’s ability to control and kill cancer, so that’s not in much doubt. What this study discovered is a plausible means by which it happens. This is the kind of information that modern medicine craves.
Have you ever noticed how there’s so much focus on the idea that cholesterol causes heart disease? It doesn’t, but that doesn’t deter the ongoing research that assumes it to be true. That’s because modern medicine demands to know how something works—or at least to be given an explanation, whether true or not. There’s an assumption that, if you know that A is associated with B, then controlling A will prevent or cure B. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s true, only that it sounds plausible.
The “Plausible” Mode of Action
Rather than focusing on what really counts—survival and return to health—medicine focuses on markers that are based on plausible modes of action.
Once a “plausible” mode of action idea has caught on, research funds get directed towards it. A search goes on to find ways to control that presumed connection. That’s why we have statins. They’re associated with heart disease. They don’t cause it, but a seemingly plausible theory was produced saying that cholesterol causes heart disease. Therefore, since statins can reduce cholesterol, they’re the first thing a doctor prescribes when someone has any sort of heart disease sign—even just being past the age of 40 or 50.
Statins don’t produce health. In fact, they destroy it, causing memory loss, muscle damage, and death. But they’re a perfect example of a plausible idea getting research funding, drugs being developed to cause a change in a marker, doctors prescribing it, and enormous profits getting funneled to Big Pharma.
Ultimately, does it matter whether a treatment can meet some arbitrary marker, or is it more important that it heals you? The answer should be obvious—and it is to everyone but a medical system that’s gone awry. Modern medicine wants a product that’s owned by Big Pharma because that apparently means it’s science-based. That it invariably costs an exorbitant amount and doesn’t cure isn’t of concern. All that matters is that arbitrary markers be met.
Therefore, while it’s interesting to learn something about how a treatment works, let’s get on with it. Let’s focus on the fact that grape seed extract does work and inform people so they can take advantage of it.
Men with low-risk prostate cancer who previously had to choose between aggressive treatment, with the potential for significant side effects, and active surveillance, with the risk of disease progression, may have a new option. Focal laser ablation uses precisely targeted heat, delivered through a small insertion and guided into the prostate by magnetic resonance imaging, to burn away cancerous cells in the prostate.
A small, phase 1 trial, to published early online in the journal Radiology, found that this approach, designed to treat just the diseased portion of the prostate rather than removing or irradiating the entire gland, is safe and can be performed without the troubling complications associated with more aggressive therapies.
None of the nine men treated in the study had a significant side effect. Six months after therapy, seven of the nine patients (78%) no longer had evidence of cancerous tissue in biopsies of the treated area.
“Focal therapy is the male version of a lumpectomy for breast cancer,” said study author Scott Eggener, MD, associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine. “Rather than removing the entire organ, we are testing this less-invasive way of destroying just the cancer and leaving healthy tissue in place.”
“This experimental approach appears to combine the most attractive element of treatment, eradication of the cancer, with the most appealing element of active surveillance, maintaining quality of life,” said Aytekin Oto, MD, professor of radiology and chief of abdominal imaging at the University of Chicago Medicine. “These early safety results are promising, but we definitely need longer-term data.”
More than 2 million American men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Due to prostate specific antigen testing (PSA), most of these cancers are detected early, long before they cause symptoms. Because this cancer occurs primarily in older men, treatment with radiation or surgery is not always necessary as these are man are much more likely to die from another cause than from prostate cancer.
But many healthy men who are relatively young, with a life expectancy greater than 10 years, are not comfortable deferring treatment of a potentially lethal disease. Surgery and radiation can often cure the cancer, but can cause side effects, such as incontinence, impotence and decreased bowel function.
This study enrolled nine men with biopsy-confirmed, low-risk prostate cancers (Gleason score 6 or 7, less than 12 mm of cancer) with an MRI of the prostate showing a small area of cancer. Patients were treated under conscious sedation while lying in an MRI scanner. After injecting a local anesthetic, the physicians inserted a small catheter across the perineum and used it to guide a tiny optical fiber, the laser and a cooling device into the prostate.
Under MRI guidance, the laser was positioned within the cancer and used to heat the area to a temperature that would kill cancer cells. The team checked the temperatures outside the treatment region every five seconds to protect healthy tissue, especially those near critical structures such as the urethra and rectal wall.
The entire procedure took less than four hours. That decreased to 2.5 hours as the team gained experience. The actual heat treatment averaged 4.3 minutes. All patients left the hospital the same day.
No patient had a major complication or a serious adverse effect. Average scores for urinary or sexual function were not significantly different one, three or six months after treatment. No patient had symptoms of rectal wall damage.
Biopsies of the treated areas six months after the procedure found no evidence of prostate cancer in seven of the nine patients (78%). The other two patients had small (2.5 mm and 1 mm) remaining cancers.
These are preliminary results, the authors caution, following a small number of patients for a short time. It will take much longer follow-up, the authors say, to fully evaluate this approach.
Focal laser ablation is the lastest in a series of efforts to target just the cancer cells and preserve normal areas of prostate. It appears to offer “measurable advantages over other ablative therapies for focal prostate treatment, namely that we can visualize our treatment as it is happening,” according to the study authors.
Laser-induced heating can destroy cancer cells with little damage beyond the precisely targeted zone. The approach is well suited for prostate tissue and can be carefully watched in real-time with magnetic resonance imaging, which can also monitor the generation and consequences of the heat treatment.
A phase 2 trial of this procedure, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, is now underway at the University of Chicago Medicine. The physicians hope to enroll 27 patients. Details are available at the NIH’s ClinicalTrials.gov website, identifier: NCT01792024.
Could the chemicals found in marijuana prevent and even heal several deadly cancers?
Could the tumor-regulating properties of “cannabinoids” someday replace the debilitating drugs, chemotherapy, and radiation that harms as often as it heals?
Discover the truth about this ancient medicine as world-renowned scientists in the field of cannabinoid research illustrate their truly mind-blowing discoveries in this feature-length documentary.
Using original and archival footage, the film presents controversial but highly convincing evidence that this forbidden herb has healing properties beyond any other plant on the planet— interacting as it does with the body’s own “endocannabinoid system” to keep us fit and disease-free.
“What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” explains how we are all born with a form of marijuana already in our bodies, and when pot is consumed, the “endocannabinoids” inside us—along with any cannabinoids we ingest—fit together like a key in a lock. Thereby promoting the death of cancer cells without harming the body’s healthy cells.
Like the old parable of the beggar who was sitting on a treasure chest but never bothered to look inside, governments and the medical establishment have been slow to realize the miraculous anti-cancer properties of marijuana. Finally, in this extraordinary documentary, the truth comes out.
A powerful and eye-opening film about the future of cannabis—and perhaps even the future of medicine. Written and directed by BBC filmmaker Len Richmond. Narrated by Emmy-winning actor Peter Coyote. Featuring interviews with…
* Dr. Robert Melamede, Associate Professor and Biology Chairman, University
* Dr. Sean D. McAllister, PhD, researcher at the California Pacific Medical
Center, San Francisco.
* Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, M.D.
* Dr. David Bearman M.D.
* Dr. Manuel Guzman, Ph.D. Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biology Complutense University Madrid, Spain
* Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Professor of Medical Chemistry at the University of Jerusalem
AN IRISH MEDICAL device company, MitaMed, has developed a groundbreaking treatment for gastrointestinal and lung cancers.
It said that treatment of patients with colorectal cancer has just commenced in an Irish Medicines Board-approved clinical trial in Cork and Dublin hospitals, under the supervision of Dr Deirdre McNamara, Tallaght Hospital (AMNCH).
MitaMed has also established strategic partnerships with five specialist Cancer Centre of Excellence hospitals in Europe, including Trinity Health (Tallaght/ St James), Mercy Hospital, Cork, and hospitals in the UK and Sweden.
Chief Executive Officer of Mitamed, Michael Loftus, has also announced the commencement of an investment process to raise €3 million to support the development, regulatory approval and commercial sales of their therapy.
With projected sales of €14 million in five years, MitaMed is on track to successfully deliver a new standard of care for cancer patients, with better outcomes and reduced financial burden.
MitaMed’s cancer treatment involves delivering brief electric pulses directly to the tumour tissue. It says this causes the cancer cells within the electric field to become temporarily permeable and enables subsequent drug absorption.
This phenomenon is known as electroporation and allows for the targeted absorption of a smaller dose of chemotherapy drugs into cancer cells without compromising surrounding healthy tissue structures.
The company noted:
As the electroporation procedure can be performed in a matter of minutes, the treatment can be conducted rapidly on an outpatient basis. A patient may require between 1 to 3 treatments over a period of a few months.
UCC leveraged over €2 million of Irish state research funding between 2006 and 2011 to support the development of the technology at the Cork Cancer Research Centre, under the leadership of Dr Declan Soden. UCC Technology Transfer Office was also involved in the project.