Bromelain’s activity and potential as an anti-cancer agent: Current evidence and perspectives.

April 30, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

The following article gives interesting and hopeful information on the use of bromelain in the fight against cancer.

The medicinal qualities of pineapple are recognized in many traditions in South America, China and Southeast Asia. These qualities are attributed to bromelain, a 95%-mixture of proteases. Medicinal qualities of bromelain include anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, fibrinolytic and anti-cancer functions. Existing evidence derived from clinical observations as well as from mouse- and cell-based models suggests that bromelain acts systemically, affecting multiple cellular and molecular targets. In recent years, studies have shown that bromelain has the capacity to modulate key pathways that support malignancy. It is now possible to suggest that the anti-cancer activity of bromelain consists in the direct impact on cancer cells and their micro-environment, as well as in the modulation of immune, inflammatory and haemostatic systems. This review will summarize existing data relevant to bromelain’s anti-cancer activity and will suggest mechanisms which account for bromelain’s effect, in the light of research involving non-cancer models. The review will also identify specific new research questions that will need to be addressed in order for a full assessment of bromelain-based anti-cancer therapy. 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Silibinin – A Promising New Treatment for Cancer.

April 19, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science, Top Stories

Milk ThistleThe following article discusses the use of the premiere liver herb, Milk Thistle, in the treatment of some types of cancers.

Silymarin and its major constituent, Silibinin, are extracts from the medicinal plant Silybum marianum (milk thistle) and have traditionally been used for the treatment of liver diseases. Recently, these orally active, flavonoid agents have also been shown to exert significant anti-neoplastic effects in a variety of in vitro and in vivo cancer models, including skin, breast, lung, colon, bladder, prostate and kidney carcinomas. The aim of the present review is to examine the pharmacokinetics, mechanisms, effectiveness and adverse effects of silibinin’s anti-cancer actions reported to date in pre-clinical and clinical trials. The review will also discuss the results of current research efforts seeking to determine the extent to which the effectiveness of silibinin as an adjunct cancer treatment is influenced by such factors as histologic subtype, hormonal status, stromal interactions and drug metabolising gene polymorphisms. The results of these studies may help to more precisely target and dose silibinin therapy to optimise clinical outcomes for oncology patients.

Science in the Profit Interest

Another black eye for the so-called “ethical pharmaceutical” business. In what is being called “the biggest research fraud in medical history,” a member of Pfizer’s “speaker bureau” has pled guilty to fabricating dozens of drug studies. Dr. Scott Reuben, working on a $75,000 grant from Pfizer produced a research study on their drug Celebrex. Naturally, the drug was found to be remarkably effective against pain. Well, except there were no patients in the study. It was completely fabricated.

This isn’t a first for the good (for business) doctor. The peer-reviewed (and shame on the reviewers) journal Anesthesia and Analesia had to retract 10 papers authored by Reuben. Another 21 Reuben articles were apparently also fabricated according to London’s The Day. Reuben received nearly a half million from Pfizer, which I guess he has to give back, and possibly pay a $250,000 fine on top of that. Maybe even jail time.

But for Pfizer and the other companies that got rave reviews from “ethical research,” nothing. Bextra and Vioxx were also beneficiaries of Reuben’s fairy tale “research.” But these drug companies are not treated as conspirators. They’re “victims” of this fraud. Coverage in The Day fills in the details.

Reuben’s studies, five of which were funded by Pfizer, had bolstered claims about the post-surgery effectiveness of such painkillers as Pfizer’s Celebrex and Merck’s Vioxx.

Reuben’s attorneys said a bipolar disorder with “alternating periods of mania and depression fueled his misconduct.”

Oh poor guy. I’m sure we can all understand how depression could make someone want to fake dozens of scientific articles. No, we can’t. That’s a BS defense.

Meanwhile, these bogus “research studies” have been used to bolster claims of effectiveness for Celebrex and other drugs, as the public is fed the fiction that we have the best research in the world and the safest and most effective drugs. Yes, we have the best research results money can buy, and the best “approving for dollars” system too.

This corporate medical/scientific corruption hurts us all, and the media is only too happy to trot out the results of these “studies” while lapping up billions in pharma advertising.

And it’s not like this is new. Before this “biggest drug research fraud case in history,” there was the former biggest in 1989 when NJ physician Robert Fogari pled guilty to taking $2 million from drug companies for investigational new drug research that he never conducted. Fogari “investigated” new drugs for nine drug companies including Ciba-Geigy, Johnson & Johnson, Warner-Lambert, Pfizer, Upjohn, Syntex, and Merck, Sharp & Dohme. Fogari had his employees list persons who were not in the study and make up patients. He failed to do the urine, stool and blood tests and forged signatures of radiologists and others. The doctor also failed to report the deaths of two
patients in the “study” in order to “maintain a favorable impression” with the drug companies who hired him. At least the deaths were presumably not caused by the drugs they didn’t take as a part of the study they weren’t in that never took place.

Fogari admits he did not conduct any legitimate research during the whole eight year period.

A year earlier, Constantine Kostas admitted that of the 85 subjects in his clinical trial of Cipro, only 15 had actually been given Cipro. I suppose it hardly matters, since Kostas also faked the results of lab tests and examinations that never took place.

All of this is especially irksome to those of us who have endured Big Pharma’s war on herbs and supplements. How many of the so-called “research studies” on herbs funded by big pharma are also bogus? It’s easy to find such “studies” in which the patients chosen were inappropriate, or the protocol designed in ways that appear destined to fail. Indeed, “failure” of an alternative medicine is exactly what the drug companies want to see.

Garlic as a lipid lowering agent–a meta-analysis.

April 12, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Science

garlicThe following article gives evidence that garlic is a useful herb in the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia.

Garlic supplements may have an important role to play in the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia. To determine the effect of garlic on serum lipids and lipoproteins relative to placebo and other lipid lowering agents, a systematic review, including meta-analysis, was undertaken of published and unpublished randomised controlled trials of garlic preparations of at least four weeks’ duration. Studies were identified by a search of MEDLINE and the ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE electronic databases, from references listed in primary and review articles, and through direct contact with garlic manufacturers. Sixteen trials, with data from 952 subjects, were included in the analyses. Many of the trials had methodological shortcomings. The pooled mean difference in the absolute change (from baseline to final measurement in mmol/l) of total serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol was compared between subjects treated with garlic therapy against those treated with placebo or other agents. The mean difference in reduction of total cholesterol between garlic-treated subjects and those receiving placebo (or avoiding garlic in their diet) was -0.77 mmol/l (95% CI: -0.65, -0.89 mmol/l). These changes represent a 12% reduction with garlic therapy beyond the final levels achieved with placebo alone. The reduction was evident after one month of therapy and persisted for at least six months. In the dried garlic powders, in which the allicin content is standardised, there was no significant difference in the size of the reduction across the dose range of 600-900 mg daily. Dried garlic powder preparations also significantly lowered serum triglyceride by 0.31 mmol/l compared to placebo (95% CI: -0.14, -0.49).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata L.)–a reliable herbal sedative

passionflsmFrom time to time, many people experience difficulty falling asleep.  The best way to manage your sleep cycle is to have a bedtime routine and stick to the routine every night.  But when your routine does not work nor does the warm glass of milk there are herbal allies which can help.  Passion Flower is one of these herbs.  Next time try a nice cup of tea with Passion Flower in the ingredients.

Extracts and fluid extracts from the aerial parts from Passiflora incarnata L. are widely used as components of herbal sedatives. Many pharmacological investigations confirm the sedative effects of Passiflorae herba. From some of the studies also anxiolytic effects can be deduced. As Passionflower is mainly used in combinations, clinical studies of the single drug are not available. Based on pharmacological data, the experiences of traditional use and the use in combinations Passiflora extracts are an important factor in the phytotherapy of tenseness, restlessness and irritability with difficulty in falling asleep.

Wien Med Wochenschr. 2002;152(15-16):404-6.

Activation of CREB by St. John’s wort may diminish deletorious effects of aging on spatial memory.

memorylosssmSt. John’s wort is best known for its use in mild to moderate depression.  This article indicates St. John’s wort may be beneficial with memory loss due to aging.

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is one of the leading psychotherapeutic phytomedicines. Beneficial effects of this herb in the treatment of mild to moderate depression are well known. In this study we tested a hypothesis that St. John’s wort alleviates age-related memory impairments by increasing the levels of cyclic adenosine 3′, 5′-monophosphate response element binding protein (CREB) and phosphorylated CREB (pCREB) in hippocampus. Middleaged rats (18 month-old) displayed a decline in the acquisition of spatial working memory (p < 0.001) in the Morris water maze (MWM). Chronic administration of Hypericum perforatum (HP) (350 mg/kg for 21 days), potently and significantly improved the processing of spatial information in the aged rats (p < 0.001). Also the herb increased the levels of pCREB in the aged rat’s hippocampus (p < 0.01) as measured by western immunoblotting. Aging caused significant locomotor impairments as tested in the open field (p < 0.001) but not in the MWM test. However, these were unaffected by treatment with HP. Thus, this study indicates that St. John’s wort effectively prevents aging-induced deterioration of spatial memory in 18 month-old rats, possibly by the activation of CREB regulated genes associated with memory formation. It appears that mechanism is probably inactive in young rats.

Arch Pharm Res. 2010 Mar;33(3):469-77. Epub 2010 Mar 30.