Today, many people are diagnosed with cancer or have a friend/family member struggling with the disease. According to the statistics of 2009, in Canada, approximately one million Canadians have had cancer in the previous 10 years.
Experts claim that two out of every five Canadians will develop cancer, and one in every four patients diagnosed with cancer will die. In the United States, one out of every two men, and one out of every three women will develop cancer.
This information seemed to have awoken the world and more people keep asking questions and take care of the environment they choose, the home they live in and the food they eat.
Despite this statistics, the results of the latest studies put into question both radiation and chemotherapy, the only approved treatments for cancer. We are entering an era when the medical community will be forced to open up to new solutions when it comes to cancer treatment.
Moreover, there is evidence proving how chemotherapy stimulates cancer growth and kills the patient more quickly, yet nothing is ever done to change that, and the fact that both solutions are toxic is more than enough to make you think again about the possible risks and do something about that.
Alternative medicine may have the cure for all those struggling with cancer — the little known Chinese herb is another powerful gift of nature on the growing list of cancer killers. According to the studies published in Life Sciences, Cancer Letters and Anticancer Drugs, artemesinin, a derivative of the wormwood plant commonly used in Chinese medicine, has the ability to kill cancer cells at a rate of 12,000 cancer cells for every healthy cell.
Henry Lai and his team of researchers from the University of Washington synthesized the compound, which uses the appetite of a cancer cell for iron to mark it as a target. The best thing about artemisinin is that it can selectively kill cancer cells without causing any damage to the healthy cells.
“By itself, artemisinin is about 100 times more selective in killing cancer cells as opposed to normal cells. Artemisinin is 34,000 times more potent in killing the cancer cells as opposed to their normal cousins. So the tagging process appears to have greatly increased the potency of artemisinin’s cancer-killing properties.” — Henry Lai
Even though the compound is licensed to Holley Pharmaceuticals, there are no records about it being used for cancer treatment in people.
“We call it a Trojan horse because the cancer cell recognizes transferrin as a natural, harmless protein. So the cell picks up the compound without knowing that a bomb (artemisinin) is hidden inside.” — Henry Lai
Centuries ago, the wormwood extract was used in China as a cure for numerous diseases and health conditions. Over the years its use was reduced to a minimum and it was rediscovered thanks to an ancient manuscript containing medical remedies. The extract kills 12,000 cancer cells for every healthy cell, meaning it could be modified into a drug with minimal or no side effects.
“The compound is currently being licensed by the University of Washington to Artemisia Biomedical Inc., a company that Lai, Sasaki and Narendra Singh, UW associate professor of bioengineering, founded in Newcastle, Washington for development and commercialization. Human trials are at least several years away. Artemisinin is readily available, Sasaki said, and he hopes their compound can eventually be cheaply manufactured to help cancer patients in developing countries.”
“Artemisinin reacts with iron to form free radicals that kill cells. Since cancer cells uptake relatively larger amounts of iron than normal cells, they are more susceptible to the toxic effect of artemisinin. In previous research, we have shown that artemisinin is more drawn to cancer cells than to normal cells. In the present research, we covalently attached artemisinin to the iron-carying plasma glycoprotein transferrin.
Transferrin is transported into the cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis and cancer cells express significantly more transferrin receptors on their cell surface and endocytose more transferrin than normal cells. Thus, we hypothesize that by tagging artemisinin to transferrin, both iron and artemisinin would be transported into cancer cells in one package. Once inside a cell, iron is released and can readily react with artemisinin close by tagged to the transferrin.
This would enhance the toxicity and selectivity of artemisinin towards cancer cells. We found that holotransferrin-tagged artemisinin, when compared with artemisinin, was very potent and selective in killing cancer cells. Thus, this ‘tagged-compound’ could potentially be developed into an effective chemotherapeutic agent for cancer treatment.”
Another abstract reads:
“Our results demonstrate that the artemisinin disruption of E2F1 transcription factor expression mediates the cell cycle arrest of human breast cancer cells and represents a critical transcriptional pathway by which artemisinin controls human reproductive cancer cell growth.”
Artemisinin is FDA approved for the treatment of malaria, and it is very safe and easy to use. It is cheap and effective on all cancers but its use is still uncommon to the medicine. It is about time to see further than radiation, surgery and chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer.