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A New Way to Fight Cancer?

Source: www.newsweek.com  Date posted:3 Jul 2012

There are no magic bullets in the fight against cancer; that’s the first thing every responsible scientist mentions when discussing a possible new treatment, no matter how promising. If there were a magic bullet, though, it might be something like dichloroacetate, or DCA, a drug that kills cancer cells by exploiting a fundamental weakness found in a wide range of solid tumors. So far, though, it kills them just in test tubes and in rats infected with human cancer cells; it has never been tested against cancer in living human beings. DCA is an existing drug which side effects are well-studied and relatively tolerable. Also, it’s a small molecule that might be able to cross the blood-brain barrier to reach otherwise intractable brain tumors. Within days after a technical paper on DCA appeared in the journal Cancer Cell last week, the lead author, Dr. Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta, was deluged with calls and e-mails from prospective patients—to whom he could say only, “Hang in there.” DCA is a remarkably simple molecule. It acts in the body to promote the activity of the mitochondria. Researchers have assumed that the mitochondria in cancer cells were irreparably damaged, but Michelakis wondered if that was really true. With his colleagues, he used DCA to turn back on the mitochondria in cancer cells—which promptly died.

One of the great things about DCA is that it’s a simple compound, in the public domain, and could be produced for pennies a dose. But that’s also a problem, because big drug companies are unlikely to spend a billion dollars or so on large-scale clinical trials for a compound they can’t patent.

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Sun exposure reduces pancreatic cancer risk by nearly 50 percent.

Source: www.naturalnews.com  Date posted:29 Jun 2012

NaturalNews) The health benefits of vitamin D are almost becoming too numerous to count, with yet another new study presented at the recent American Association for Cancer Research Pancreatic Cancer Conference in Lake Tahoe, Nev., shedding light on the hormone’s specific anti-cancer benefits. According to the groundbreaking research, individuals exposed to natural sunlight, the most abundant source of natural vitamin D, are nearly 50 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than others who are not exposed.

Dr. Rachel Neale, Ph.D., and her colleagues from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, conducted a case-control study in which 704 patients with pancreatic cancer and 709 healthy individuals with no history of pancreatic cancer were evaluated based on blood serum levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, the hormonal marker of vitamin D in the body. Each individual’s birth location, skin cancer history, skin cancer type, tanning ability, and predisposition to sunburn was also taken into account.

The team then used NASA’s Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer to assess each participant’s level of ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure to his or her birthplace, the data of which was used to place participants into various tertile groups for average UV radiation exposure. At the end of the day, researchers found that participants who lived in areas with the highest amount of sunlight exposure were 24 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than individuals who lived in low sunlight areas.

Additionally, individuals with the most sun-sensitive skin, who are typically lighter-skinned individuals, were found to be roughly 50 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than individuals with the least amount of sun sensitivity. Overall, there was a direct correlation between high sunlight exposure and low rates of pancreatic cancer in the study, a result that suggests vitamin D plays a critical role in pancreatic cancer prevention.

“High levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of pancreatic cancer based on both observational studies of individuals and geographic studies of populations,” writes the Vitamin D Council on their website. “Based on studies of breast, colon, and rectal cancer, vitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) reduce the risk of cancer. Thus, maintaining vitamin D blood levels above 40 ng/mL may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.”

 

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