Using Nature To Fight Cancer - Salvestrols
It is one of modern medicines most enduring holy grails – the search for a natural treatment for cancer without the dangerous side effect of chemotherapy. Two British scientists say they have found it – a common, natural plant compound that is a proven, safe anti-cancer agent.
They have developed a product containing this compound that is now available in South Africa, as an adjunct to conventional treatment for cancer, or in some cases, as a stand alone therapy.
The compound occurs in a wide range of foods, including the skin of citrus fruits, berries, grapes, avocados, broccoli and organically grown medicinal herbs.
The scientists named their discovery salvestrols, for the compound to describe the new concept of how the body defends itself naturally against cancer cells. In cultures human cells in laboratory studies, they showed that salvestrols are metabobolically activated by a protein CYP1B1, an enzyme that is present in cancer cells but not in surrounding healthy tissue.
The compounds work as a kind of “Trojan horse” by safely causing “apoptosis” (programmed death of cancer cells) leaving the healthy tissue intact.
The product, a combination of four salvestrols with varying potencies is the result of more than 20 years of combined research by pharmacologist Dan Burke and medicinal chemist Gerry Potter.
Dr. Burke is an expert on metabolism, toxicity and interactions of drugs, environmental chemicals and natural compounds. His research over more than two decades at Aberdeen University Medical School focused on cancer, its cause, prevention and treatment.
Dr Potter retired recently as professor of medicinal of chemistry in the school of pharmacy at De Montfort University of Leicester. He has designed and synthesised selective drugs for breast and prostate cancer at the UK’s Institute of Cancer Research.
Scientific breakthroughs occurred when Dr. Burke and his team discovered that in human tissue, the CYP1B1 protein appeared unique to cancer cells. The researchers investigated whether this could lead to a better type of drug for cancer as, apart from a few experimental drugs there was (and still is) otherwise only chemotherapy – mostly and “untargeted” shotgun approach. Chemotherapy goes for rapidly dividing cells, but it does not properly distinguish between cancer and non-cancer prodrugs.
Both scientists have been criticised for their work and websites describe salvestrols used for cancer as “quackery”. One criticism is the lack of clinical trials. Dr.Burke says growing evidence from anecdotal case studies published in peer-reviewed journals supports salvestrols for cancer. From a conventional scientific perspective, these studies are not as substantial as controlled trial, but there are too many people out there saying they have benefited from salvestrols for science not to listen.
The research raises the question of whether people need salvestrols in supplement form if the compunds are common in so many foods. Dr. Burke says salvestrols used to be abundant in one’s diet, but modern agriculture methods reduce levels through a combination of the development of modern plant varieties, use of agrochemical antifungal sprays and selective processing of harvested fruit.
Neither he nor Dr. Potter suggest that salvestrols are a panacea for all cancerous ills. Salvestrols are completely integrative. Patients don’t have to avoid chemotherapy, or worry that if they consume salvestrols they go against mainstream oncology.
Taken from an article in The Business Day written by Marika Sboros