Nobel Prize Winner’s Nutritional Discovery Benefits Cancer Patients
February 14th, 2016 by Holly Cornish
Hungarian scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi is well known as the Nobel Prize winner who discovered vitamin C, but less well known is that some years after this achievement, he became involved in cancer research.
He theorized that disruptions in cellular metabolism play important roles in cancer development, and that compounds found in plants called quinones and other similar chemicals could help control cellular metabolism and thereby help stop cancer in its tracks.
Turns out he was right, and the fruits of Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi’s work are now available as a highly effective anti-cancer food supplement called Avemar. . .
Continued below. . .
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Avemar is made from fermented wheat germ extract. Wheat germ makes up only 2%-3% of the wheat kernel, but it is the most nutritious part. In fact, it’s one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can eat, being rich in proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
The first thing to note is that Avemar is a fermented food, not the wheat germ you can buy in the store. The germ is concentrated by fermentation with baker’s yeast to yield two standardized extracts (2,6-dimethoxy-benzoquinone and 2-methoxy-benzoquinone).
Although these are considered to be the active ingredients in Avemar, very likely there’s more involved.
Here’s why: Being a plant extract, Avemar is a complex mixture containing thousands of known and unknown molecules. Some of them besides the two I mentioned may play important roles in cancer prevention and treatment.
A considerable amount of research has been conducted on Avemar, including animal and human studies, so a good deal is known about how it works against cancer.
Inhibits uptake of glucose
Cancer cells feed on glucose at a rate up to 50 times higher than healthy cells. While ordinary cells utilize glucose through oxidative metabolism mainly for energy, cancer uses glucose through non-oxidative metabolism (the Warburg effect) – that is cancer cells ferment glucose.
Avemar has been shown in many cell lines to inhibit glucose uptake in tumor cells, thus reducing nucleic acid production and cell proliferation.
Another key factor in sugar metabolism is an enzyme called ribonucleotide reductase (RR) which is frequently up-regulated in cancer cells. This is needed for cancer cells to proliferate.
Because of the importance of this enzyme, it has been a target for chemotherapy drugs. Avemar has been shown to inhibit RR in human colon and leukemia cell lines.
Another pathway of sugar metabolism called the pentose phosphate pathway is required for cancer survival and metastasis. Avemar inhibits this as well.
Kills cancer cells
Radiation and chemotherapy work partly by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death). Avemar is able to improve apoptosis by reducing the production of an enzyme called poly ADP ribose polymerase or PARP that cancer cells overproduce. At the same time, Avemar increases an enzyme that cancer cells under-produce called Caspase-3.
Cancer cells need PARP in high amounts because this enzyme repairs DNA breaks before the cell divides. Because cancer growth is fast, chaotic and prone to mistakes, cancer cells are not able to replicate DNA without enough PARP. Reducing PARP is an important property of Avemar.
The enzyme Caspase-3 plays a key role in the execution phase of apoptosis. When used with conventional therapies that induce apoptosis by other means, Avemar appears to make cancer cells more vulnerable and so makes conventional treatment more effective.
This means patients who are unwilling to forgo chemotherapy may still want to consider taking Avemar along with it. This natural remedy can make it a lot more likely your chemo therapy will get the job done..
Helps the immune system recognize cancer
Cancer cells are masters at hiding their threat from the immune system. They are able to mask their outer membranes from natural killer (NK) cells and so avoid detection.
They do this by displaying a feature called major histocompatability complex 1 (MHC-1) that fools the immune cell. Avemar helps to reveal the cancer cell’s true nature to NK cells by reducing the display of MHC-1 and rendering the cancer cell a more recognizable target for the NK cell.
Cancer has many different strategies to evade the immune system. Avemar has been shown to improve several different aspects of immune response including tumor necrosis factor alpha that seeks out and kills cancer cells and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 that allows aspects of the immune system to become more tumor invasive.
Avemar has also been shown to modulate the immune response by improving an aspect of immunity called Th1 cytokines to better target cancer cells. And yet another way it strengthens immune response is to reduce Th2 cytokines which, although they help the body by making it a hostile place for pathogens and promote recovery from injury, can also help cancer cells proliferate.
In short, Avemar is a boon to the immune system, especially to its cancer-fighting functions.
Avemar in human studies
There have now been a number of human trials that compare the use of traditional cancer therapies alone or with the inclusion of Avemar.
Melanoma: 52 patients with stage 3 malignant skin melanoma were either treated with chemotherapy alone or with Avemar plus chemo for one year. After seven years of follow up, their progression-free survival was 55.8 months for the combination group compared to 29.9 for chemotherapy alone. Overall survival was 66.2 months for the combination group but only 44.7 for the chemo-only group. The researchers concluded that the inclusion of Avemar for melanoma patient is “highly recommended.”
Colorectal: 170 patients were enrolled and followed up for an average of nine months. Disease progression (return of disease after remission, new metastatic lesions and death) was 16.7% in the Avemar group compared to 42.3% in the control group, in spite of the fact that those taking Avemar had more advanced disease than did those on standard therapy.
Lung: Improved quality of life and less fatigue were seen in 16 patients after taking Avemar for12 weeks. The benefits continued throughout the eight-month monitoring period.
Breast: 55 patients were observed for 32 months. Physical and emotional improvements were seen after three months and continued throughout.
Head and Neck: 60 stage 3 and 4 patients received standard therapy by itself or with Avemar. Quality of life was significantly improved in the Avemar group, and free radicals were significantly reduced, also confirming that Avemar has “intense antioxidant activity,” according to the study authors.
Oral Cavity: Malignant tumor progression slowed significantly with Avemar; five-year survival increased and quality of life improved.
Pediatric: Febrile neutropenia (fever with low white blood cell count) is a life-threatening complication of chemotherapy and radiation. It makes the patient vulnerable to infection. 22 children with various solid tumors were given chemotherapy either alone or with Avemar. In the Avemar group, febrile neutropenia was involved in about one out of four cases. For those taking chemotherapy alone, 43.3% suffered with this complication – meaning nearly 70 percent more of them suffered febrile neutropenia.
In all studies where Avemar has been used in conjunction with conventional therapies, the therapies were more effective and there were fewer side effects. Avemar has also been found to be non-toxic at therapeutic doses, with only mild gastrointestinal disturbances, and it does not harm normal cells.
For those who wish to undergo conventional therapies, it’s hard to find any reason not to use it based on the published scientific research.
In Hungary, Avemar was approved as a non-prescription medical nutriment for cancer patients in 2002. You can find it in a number of countries, including the United States, where it is classified as a dietary supplement and is sold under the name Avé.
Our last issue talked about one of the most important molecules in the world, chlorohyll. You probably know that all plant life – and therefore all animal life – depends on it. But now we know a certain kind of chlorophyll is a powerful cancer fighter.
If you missed the article, you can read it now just below.
Chlorophyll Leads to a Kinder,
Gentler Way to Treat Cancer
Here’s important news: The unique energy-absorbing properties of chlorophyll are now being put to another use: treating cancer.
You probably know that chlorophylls are unique types of natural substances that give plants their green color. Their particular molecular structure allows plants to absorb energy from sunlight and convert it into food – a talent that animals lack, for the most part.
Animals (including ourselves) have to get the energy to live and grow by eating either plants or other animals that have eaten plants. We can’t make anything out of sunlight. Green plants can perform this bit of magic by the process called photosynthesis that yields the energy they need to live. So the source of almost all our food comes down to plants – and it mostly comes down to chlorophyll.
And now chlorophyll is more than the mother of all food, it’s also a potent medicine. .
Continued below. . .
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The type of chlorophyll being adapted for medical use is called bacteriochlorophyll – the variety that is employed by bacteria for their production of life-giving energy.
But for cancer treatment, the bacteriochlorophyll is combined with a type of metallic compound so that it is suitable to use in what is called “photodynamic” therapy.
In photodynamic therapy, a cancer patient is given a substance that is absorbed by tumors and makes them more sensitive to light. When the treated tumor tissue is exposed to light, the light-sensitive substance is activated and the cancer cells are destroyed.
But photodynamic chemicals other than bacteriochlorophyll have had serious disadvantages in treating cancer in human patients. They had only limited usefulness in eradicating the disease.
For one thing, the previous substances that were used to make tumors sensitive to light were only useful in treating tumors that were thin and fairly flat. This meant the treatment could be used for cancers in places like the skin, throat, esophagus and bladder, but not for cancers in difficult-to-reach places or those that were buttressed by thick layers of other cancer cells.
For example, when a substance called porfimer sodium is used to treat esophageal cancer that is threatening to totally block the esophagus, the light that is applied to the cancer cells is unable to penetrate more than about a centimeter (about a third of an inch).
In addition, the drugs used in these treatments remain in the body for days or weeks. Because the light-sensitive substances are absorbed by most of the cells in the body, including the skin, people being treated can’t go outside or be exposed to bright light until the drug clears out of their systems. Otherwise, they suffer serious burns.
In the case of porfimer sodium the patient needs to stay indoors for up to six weeks – the drug makes the eyes as well as the skin hypersensitive to light for that long. In addition to the potential for burns, this agent can lead to pain, scars and serious swelling if the patient is exposed to strong light. (Porfimer sodium can also cause stomach aches, painful breathing, coughing, shortness of breath and trouble swallowing.)1
But the new form of bacteriochlorophyll being used against cancer poses far fewer problems. The substance, developed in Israel and called Tookad (Hebrew for “warmth of light”), clears out of the body quickly, in a matter of hours, and is non-toxic.2
This form of bacteriochlorophyll is engineered to react with what is called “near-infrared light,” a part of the light spectrum that penetrates deeply into tissue. It can help destroy thicker tumors than is possible with other photodynamic agents. The wavelength employed in the therapy penetrates many times further than other types of light used with other photodynamic substances.
Tookad, since it is basically just a variety of chlorophyll, also has relatively negligible side effects compared to other photodynamic drugs.
Much of the earliest work with Tookad has been on prostate cancer. Clinical trials have taken place in Europe (where a second phase III clinical trial was recently completed) and Latin America. The treatment of early prostate tumors with bacteriochlorophyll is now approved in Mexico.
During the procedure, after a patient receives Tookad intravenously, a near infra-red laser is beamed at the tumor using tiny optic fibers that are threaded into the cancerous prostate tissue with ultrasound guidance.
The very small beams of light activate the bacteriochlorophyll’s destruction only in the cancer cells and in the blood vessels that are feeding the tumor, while sparing normal cells. It causes the release of caustic molecules – radical forms of oxygen and nitric oxide — that burn through the membranes of cancer cells and destroy their cellular structures.
The researchers say that cutting off the blood supply to the tumor ensures that even if a cancer cell survives the near-infrared irradiation, the tumor tissue dies fairly quickly in a process called “coagulative necrosis.”
Another advantage of this process, according to lab studies, is that it releases molecules from the tumor that stimulate the immune system to attack the tumors.
The bacteriochlorophyll advantage
Compared to other ways to treat prostate cancer – surgery, chemotherapy and radiation – using bacteriochlorophyll seems to be safe and effective. The side effects of conventional medicine’s “cut, poison and burn” techniques can include urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, bowel dysfunction (like diarrhea or fecal incontinence) and infertility.3
And you can also throw in the usual chemotherapy side effects like fatigue, pain, nausea, hair loss and bleeding as well as other undesirable consequences like a weakened immune system.
Keep in mind that the photodynamic approach has tested well on prostate cancer, then compare it to the use of hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer, which deprives your body of testosterone. The side effects of hormone therapy include erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, bone loss, potential memory problems, weight gain, heart problems, anemia and osteoporosis.
In comparison, the side effects of Tookad are just about nil.
The scientists who developed Tookad believe this therapy is very beneficial in these days of over-diagnosis and over-treatment of prostate cancer, the result of widespread screening of men for high PSA levels.
The blood test for PSA (prostate-specific antigen) reveals the presence of many prostate cancers that are too small and non-aggressive to cause serious health issues. In many cases, men get treated for prostate cancer and end up with disturbing side effects, when all the while it would have been safe for them to leave the cancer alone and do nothing.
With the use of Tookad, the researchers believe, these small tumors can be eradicated with a 90 minute procedure that does little or no damage to a man’s quality of life.