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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 08:53 PM
Original message
Misconceptions on Herbs and Cancer :
From Science Blogs Terra Sigillata:

Misconceptions on herbs and cancer
Category: Botanical/Herbal Medicines • Cancer
Posted on: September 20, 2006 8:33 PM, by Abel Pharmboy

Curcumin has been much in the news as of late as considerable cell culture data has been suggestive of the compound's utility in cancer prevention and cancer treatment. The impetus for me speaking on this has been the recent report by my ScienceBlogs.com colleague, Razib, at Gene Expression.

Unfortunately, the story of curcumin has been clouded by overly aggressive attempts by marketers to manipulate in vitro, or Petri dish, cell culture studies with human consumption. Some very outstanding scientists have been working on the anticancer effects of this herb, but it seems that their efforts and results have been overexaggerated and misrepresented.

Briefly, we have known that many natural compounds used at high concentrations, including curcumin, can arrest or kill human cancer cells growing on a plastic dish in the laboratory.

The bigger question in using these remedies for humans with cancer has been whether the concentrations used in cell culture can be acheived in the bloodstream of patients. Most naturally-occuring compounds must be concentrated hundreds or thousands-fold from their natural source, and then be given at doses that would choke a horse.

With curcumin, the very attractive in vitro anticancer data on the compound is offset by the fact that curcumin is poorly bioavailable. What that means is that one takes a certain amount of curcumin by mouth, very little is absorbed into the bloodstream. The question, with curcumin and any other drug, is whether concentrations that kill cancer cells in culture can be achieved in human cells.

Sadly, this is not possible with curcumin, at least at doses of one or more grams per day.


Any recommendations for its use in humans should not be taken seriously until prospective studies of its anticancer action are performed in human subjects.





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tabatha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. He just states that opinion without any reference to anything.
Edited on Fri Oct-30-09 09:01 PM by tabatha
On edit:

If it is not bio-available, then I guess it does not thin blood either.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Nice research skills. I can see why you think you're qualified to give medical advice on DU.
Abel Pharmboy is the nom de plume of an academic researcher and educator who took his PhD in Pharmacology and Therapeutics and BS in Toxicology.


Perhaps you can explain why the doctor is wrong.

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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks
It's astonishing to me that there is an unrecommend on this post.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Just one so far?
Stick around, I've besmirched the beloved woo, I'll be gutted and crucified before long.

You're welcome. :toast:
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks, BMUS, I tried posting much the same thing yesterday
Right now, curcumin is a test tube curiosity. Whether or not it translates into a useful medicine is going to take a lot of careful work and many years.

Eating curry three times a day is not going to cure anyone's cancer. However, if they like curry, it might get enough nutrition into them that conventional medicine will be aided.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I saw that, thank you for your effort.
Nobody likes a buzz kill, eh?
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
6. kick
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mucifer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
8. You realize that some chemotherapies are from plants

vincristine sulfate Patient Information
The sulfate salt of a natural alkaloid isolated from the plant Vinca rosea Linn with antimitotic and antineoplastic activities. Vincristine binds irreversibly to microtubules and spindle proteins in S phase of the cell cycle and interferes with the formation of the mitotic spindle, thereby arresting tumor cells in metaphase. This agent also depolymerizes microtubules and may also interfere with amino acid, cyclic AMP, and glutathione metabolism; calmodulin-dependent Ca++ -transport ATPase activity; cellular respiration; and nucleic acid and lipid biosynthesis. Check for active clinical trials or closed clinical trials using this agent. (NCI Thesaurus)


vinblastine
A natural alkaloid isolated from the plant Vinca rosea Linn. Vinblastine binds to tubulin and inhibits microtubule formation, resulting in disruption of mitotic spindle assembly and arrest of tumor cells in the M phase of the cell cycle. This agent may also interfere with amino acid, cyclic AMP, and glutathione metabolism; calmodulin-dependent Ca++ -transport ATPase activity; cellular respiration; and nucleic acid and lipid biosynthesis. Check for active clinical trials or closed clinical trials using this agent. (NCI Thesaurus)



http://www.nci.nih.gov/drugdictionary/?CdrID=42251 (National Institute of Health website).
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. And?
:shrug:
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-31-09 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Yup, they sure are.
But do we simply eat those plants to undergo chemotherapy?
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mucifer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-31-09 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. nope those are injected and they often cause neuropathic pain.
Just because things are herbs or plants and natural doesn't me they aren't dangerous.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-01-09 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Never said they weren't.
So what exactly was your point in your initial post?
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-31-09 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Don't forget Taxol. From the bark of the Pacific Yew tree nt
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-01-09 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Yeah, but people don't eat Pacific Yew trees to cure cancer.
People are injected with paclitaxel, which is made from a partial synthesis from compounds extracted from the European Yew. And there have been prodrug improvements of paclitaxel.

In other words, herbs don't cure cancer.
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-31-09 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
11. Indeed I agree human studies are needed
However, apparently it is bioavailable in mice, something that the OP conveniently leaves out.

Why would you attack curcumin for only working in the test tube when there are tons of rodent studies? Just acknowledge that, and there would be no need for my post.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-31-09 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
13. The article posted here did mention the poor bioavailability...it also said
curcurmin had been detected in cancerous and normal cells in the colon of some patients who consumed it but was not found in cancerous lesions of the liver. For this reason, the article said, it was being investigated as a possible treatment for oesophageal cancer.
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