Friday, December 08, 2006

Mushroom extract improves performance of Doxirubicin

The anticancer drug doxorubicin (Dox) has been shown to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. However, higher doses can damage healthy cells. In a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, the effect of the PL mushroom on Dox-induced apoptosis was investigated in prostate cancer cells.3 Researchers showed that PL or Dox, at relatively low doses, could not kill these cells. However, combination treatment at low doses of PL and Dox results in a synergistic effect and brought about death in prostate cells.

These findings indicate that PL has a synergistic effect with Dox to activate a beneficial decline in prostate cancer cells.3 Not only did these researchers find that the combination was just as effective in killing cancerous cells as larger doses of the drug alone, it did so without harming healthy cells.3

There is a lifetime maximum number of doses of this drug due to its cardiotoxicity. There is also research on antioxidants used in combination with this drug to prevent cardiotoxicity (future post). So this study may be poignant if it can be followed up by larger studies and eventually a human trial. But this is a big if...

This issue of improving the efficacy of chemotherapy or reducing the side-effects appears to be mostly disregarded as unsubstantiated or at least outside of the standard of care by oncologists. Given the way that profit is organized in the medical business an insight like this study implies will have a lot of trouble making it into animal studies or a human trial because it is about using less Doxirubicin. Read - less profitable. The makers of this drug are probably not going to be in favor of pursuing alternatives that may lead to them selling less drug. This is an example where the "invisible hand of capitalism" does not do what is best for the consumer.

What would happen if something really simple, common and relatively cheap was found to be as effective or more effective than Doxirubicin at a fraction of the cost? I don't have one yet, but there are all kinds of treatments out their for cancer that need to be critically evaluated. The main person I know that does this is Ralph Moss. I have posted his writings on this blog many times. It appears that it is the patients will to pursue their health that can drive the alternatives and complimentary strategies for cancer.

The life and death issues around cancer make standard of care issues potential legal issues as well. (This can be overcome by proper informed consent.) Oncologists, it appears to me, tend not to be the most alternative of health care practitioners and granted patients are scared and looking to experts with experience to guide them.

I am looking for some who are interested in integrating with acupuncture with cancer treatment and at least consider the use of natural medicine in conjunction with the normal standard of care. If anyone knows an onco. or group in the Los Angeles area that takes this approach please contact me.