Protecting Bones From Breast Cancer Metastasis

Yesterday I posted on my Facebook business page (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) a very interesting article about a study that had researchers investigating how it is possible that breast cancer cells from a primary tumor migrate to the bones. Researchers were looking into what was happening in the bones that allowed cancer cells to remain there dormant, only to reawaken decades later. They wanted to understand how breast cancer cells were able to flourish through metastasis to the bone – this has long been a goal of the breast cancer research community, according to one of the lead research team members, Dr Karen Bussard.

That very thing has long worried me as well, particularly because I had breast cancer 15 years ago – and in my role as a breast health coach I do run into people that this has happened to – they were cancer-free for 20 years, and then suddenly they incur a bone fracture and it is found that their breast cancer is in their bones and they are deemed to be at Stage 4. So this research really interested me, and in view of the amount of interest it engendered on my Facebook page, it’s obvious that many others want to know more as well. Here is a synopsis of the research, and under that I share a list of the nutrients that help to protect bones from metastasis by breast cancer cells.

The Research

The study [1] was done in 2018 at Thomas Jefferson University at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA. I would invite you to take the time to read this study as it is fascinating. Researchers investigated how bone cells change once they interact with breast cancer cells. They found that osteoblasts (a bone cell that is responsible for the deposition of new bone matrix) from mice and humans change their function after interacting with breast cancer cells that had migrated to the bones. Osteoblasts apparently have multiple roles in the progression of cancer and appear to interact differently with cancer cells depending on the stage of the disease.

First, I’ll share with you the introduction to this research because it’s important for us to understand how bone cells work. “In a cancer-free environment in the adult, the skeleton continuously undergoes remodeling. Bone-resorbing osteoclasts excavate erosion cavities, and bone-depositing osteoblasts synthesize osteoid matrix that forms new bone, with no net bone gain or loss. When metastatic breast cancer cells invade the bone, this balance is disrupted. Patients with bone metastatic breast cancer frequently suffer from osteolytic bone lesions that elicit severe bone pain and fractures.”

Earlier studies showed that in advanced stage metastatic breast cancer (let’s call this ASMBC) patients where bones were invaded, osteoblasts stopped working – they didn’t produce the matrix that strengthens and stabilizes bone, which is what leads to the loss of bone density that is seen in these patients. Apparently in ASMBC, cancer cells are able to co-opt osteoblasts to help the cancer cells thrive.

The researchers in this study found that in earlier stages of breast cancer when cancer cells first enter bones, instead of producing new bone matrix, the osteoblasts can divert their energy toward producing factors to stop the growth of the invading cancer cells. These osteoblasts, now termed “tumor-educated osteoblasts”, release factors that change the behavior of the cancer cells – these factors check the wild growth of the cancer cells and restore the function of the P21 gene which stops the proliferation of metastatic breast cancer cells. Fascinating, right?

The research team also found that these tumor-educated osteoblasts were able to slow the growth of the cancer. However, the osteoblasts that did not meet up and interact with metastatic breast cancer cells did not have the ability to slow cancer cell growth.

Dr Bussard stated “The next step is to fully characterize the molecules that osteoblasts use to reign in cancer growth, and see whether it’s possible to turn that understanding toward treatments that can put cancer cells to sleep forever.” [2]

In the meantime, while we’re waiting for that research, there are things we can do as breast cancer survivors to promote good bone health.

Phytochemicals that Promote Strong Osteoblasts

Phytochemicals are plant-based chemicals – all natural – and these are the ones I have found (so far – there may well be more) that promote strong osteoblasts.

Cannibidiol – available by supplementation [26]

Cinnamic acid – found in adzuki beans, amaranth, apples, apricots, arugula (rocket), avocados, bell peppers, bitter melon, black beans, blackberries, bok choy, brown rice, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, celery, chickpeas, chilies and hot peppers, cranberries, dragon fruit, durian, figs, flaxseed, goji, graviola, kale, kiwi, kohlrabi, lemons, macadamia nuts, mandarins, mangosteen, maqui, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, peas, pineapple, pomegranates, quinoa, rice bran, rutabaga, sorghum bran, soybeans, spelt, strawberries, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, turnips, walnuts, wasabi, wheat bran [3]

Epicatechin gallate – found in apples, apricots, berries, cherries, chocolate, cocoa beans, grapes (black and red), onions, pears, tea (green and black) [4]

Genistein – found in chickpeas, dates, kidney beans, peanuts, peas, pomegranates, quinoa, soybeans [5]

Kaempferol – found in almonds, amla, Anasazi beans, apples, arugula (rocket), asparagus, barley, beets, bell peppers, black beans, black-eyed peas, black raspberries, black rice, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, buckwheat bran, cantaloupe, cauliflower, celery, cherries, chickpeas, chia seeds, collard greens, cranberries, dates, dragon fruit, elderberries, flaxseed, ginkgo biloba, goji/wolfberry, grapefruit, grapes, graviola, green beans, guava, horseradish, kale, kidney beans, kiwi, kohlrabi, lemons, lentils, lima beans, limes, lychee, mangoes, maqui, mulberries, nectarines, noni, passionfruit, peaches, pears, peas, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, radishes, raspberries, red beans, rice bran, rutabaga, sesame seeds, spelt, strawberries, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, watermelon [6]

Monotropein – found in bilberries, mulberries [7]

Naringenin, naringin – grapefruit, lemon, lime, pomegranate [8], [9]

Quercetin – found in adzuki beans, almonds, amla, Anasazi beans, apples with peels, apricots, arugula (rocket), asparagus, avocados, bananas, barley, beets, bell peppers, bilberries, black beans, black-eyed peas, black raspberries, black rice, black tea, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, bok choy, Brazil nuts, broccoli, brown rice, Brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, capers, cauliflower, celery, cherries, chickpeas, chia seeds, chilies and hot peppers, cocoa powder (unsweetened), collard greens, cranberries, daikon, dates, dill, dragon fruit, durian, eggplant, elderberries, figs, gingko biloba, goji, grapefruit, grapes, graviola, green beans, green pepper, green tea, guava, honey, honeydew melon, horseradish, kale, kiwi, kohlrabi, lemons, lentils, lettuce (esp Romaine), lima beans, limes, lychee, mangoes, maqui, mulberries, nectarines, noni, onions, parsley, passionfruit, peaches, pears with peels, peas, peppers, persimmons, pigeon pea leaves & seeds, pineapple, plums, pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, radishes, raspberries, red onions, rutabaga, sage, sesame seeds, shallots, spelt, spinach, strawberries, sunflower seeds, tea (black and green), tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yellow snap beans [10]

Taxifolin – found in avocados, Brazil nuts, lemons, limes, spelt [11]

Vitamin D3 – found in raw milk, salmon, sunshine, tuna, and via supplementation [12]

Phytochemicals that Inhibit Bone Cancer Metastases

These are the phytochemicals that studies have shown inhibit bone cancer metastases. There will be significantly more than these, and as I locate them, I will add them here.

Betulinic acid – found in chaga mushrooms, persimmons, pomegranates [13]

Esculin – found in guava, plums [28]

Isothiocyanates – found in cruciferous vegetables, ie arugula (rocket), bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprous, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, daikon, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, papaya, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, wasabi, watercress [14]

Vitamin K2 – found in apples, arugula (rocket), asparagus, avocados, bananas, barley, bell peppers, black-eyed peas, black raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cannellini beans, cantaloupe, carrots, cashews, cauliflower, celery, cherries, chilies and hot peppers, collard greens, cranberries, cucumbers, dandelion greens, figs, grapes, green beans, guava, honeydew melon, horseradish, kale, kelp, kidney beans, kiwi, kohlrabi, lima beans, mangoes, mulberries, mustard greens, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, peas, persimmons, pine nuts, pineapple, plums, pomegranates, radishes, raspberries, rutabaga, spelt, spinach, spring onions, strawberries, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips & turnip greens, watercress, watermelon, and available by supplementation [15]

Phytochemicals that Promote P21 Gene Activity

Since it looks as though the P21 gene is also involved in bone health and a therapeutic target, promoting the activity of that gene would certainly make sense. Here are the phytochemicals that do this:

Coumestrol – found in dates, peas, pomegranates, soybeans [27]

Damnacanthal and nordamnacanthal – found in noni fruit and juice [16]

Diosmin – found in mandarins and oranges [17]

Genistein – see entry above for list of foods [18]

Indole-3-carbinol – found in cruciferous veggies ie arugula (rocket), bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, daikon, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress [19]

Momilactone B – found in brown rice [20]

Nobiletin – found in grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges, tangerines [21]

Don’t Forget the Selenium

Selenium – found in amaranth, asparagus, barley, black-eyed peas, blackberries, Brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, brown rice, buckwheat bran, chickpeas, chicken, dates, einkorn, garlic, goji/wolfberry, grapefruit, guava, honeydew melon, kelp, lentils, lima beans, liver, macadamia nuts, mangoes, molasses, mulberries, noni, oats, onions, peanuts, pears, pecans, pistachio nuts, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, radishes, red beans, salmon, seafood, sesame seeds, spelt, spinach, strawberries, sunflower seeds, turnips, walnuts, watermelon, wheat bran, wheat germ. Selenium may also be helpful for those with breast cancer that has metastasized to the bones. A 2009 study [22] found that selenium played a role in suppressing the complicated inflammatory response in this type of cancer. Selenium has many other roles to play in breast cancer prevention, it is one of my most-often prescribed supplements to my clients.
The main role of selenium is to inhibit the oxidation of fats as one of the components in the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. Selenium alters many different genes to make the body less susceptible to cancer and most people are deficient in this important mineral. Selenium also protects the immune system, especially when combined with vitamin E. Most importantly, selenium protects breast cells from oxidative DNA damage, and inhibits the initiation phase of carcinogenesis by stimulating DNA repair, regulating apoptosis and preventing angiogenesis. Selenium also stimulates the production of T cells in the immune system. [23] Another good thing that selenium does for us – in the form of methyl-seleninic acid, is that it is a natural aromatase inhibitor. [24] You can see why I recommend it so frequently!

The Importance of Exercise

Remember that exercise is also crucially important for healthy bones. Muscles move bones and in response to that pulling and tugging, osteoblasts and osteoclasts kick into gear and the process of bone building and resorption begins. Bone mineral content and bone mineral density are 20% higher in athletes than in the general population. You don’t have to be an athlete though – just get out there and move. Whether you choose weight-lifting, dancing, gardening, running, tai chi, hiking, walking, yoga (my personal favorite), Pilates, bicycling – whatever it is you like to do, get out there and move on a daily basis. It’s one of the best things you can do for your bones.

So between drenching your body in all of the foods that contain those protective phytochemicals and undertaking daily exercise, you give yourself a much better chance of avoiding metastatic breast cancer.

References:

[1] Osteoblasts are “educated” by crosstalk with metastatic breast cancer cells in the bone tumor microenvironment – https://breast-cancer-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13058-019-1117-0

[2] Bone cells suppress cancer metastases – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190513104507.htm

[3] The botanical molecule p-hydroxycinnamic acid as a new osteogenic agent: insight into the treatment of cancer bone metastases – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27573001

4-Epicatechin gallate (ECG) stimulates osteoblast differentiation via Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) and transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ)-mediated transcriptional activation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3975037/

[5] Genistein stimulates the osteoblastic differentiation via NO/cGMP in bone marrow culture – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15526288

[6] Stimulatory effect of naturally occurring flavonols quercetin and kaempferol on alkaline phosphatase activity in MG-63 human osteoblasts through ERK and estrogen receptor pathway – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295203009006

[7] Monotropein isolated from the roots of Morinda officinalis increases osteoblastic bone formation and prevents bone loss in ovariectomized mice – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26996879

[8] Naringin-induced bone morphogenetic protein-2 expression via PI3K, Akt, c-Fos/c-Jun and AP-1 pathway in osteoblasts – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299908004585

[9] Naringin promotes osteoblast differentiation and effectively reverses ovariectomy-associated osteoporosis – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00776-013-0362-9

[10] Stimulatory effect of naturally occurring flavonols quercetin and kaempferol on alkaline phosphatase activity in MG-63 human osteoblasts through ERK and estrogen receptor pathway – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295203009006

[11] Taxifolin enhances osteogenic differentiation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells partially via NF-kB pathway – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28579433

[12] 24R,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 promotes the osteoblastic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24597546

[13] Betulinic acid, a bioactive pentacyclic triterpenoid, inhibits skeletal-related events induced by breast cancer bone metastases and treatment – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24463094

[14] Benzyl isothiocyanate prevents breast cancer-induced bone erosion in vivo – http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/77/13_Supplement/5258

[15] Effect of vitamin K in bone metabolism and vascular calcification: A review of mechanisms of action and evidences – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27437760

[16] Damnacanthal is a potent inducer of apoptosis with anticancer activity by stimulating p53 and p21 genes in MCF-7 breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997671/

[17] Diosmin-induced senescence, apoptosis and autophagy in breast cancer cells of different p53 status and ERK activity – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27890807

[18] AKT and p21 WAF1/CIP1 as potential genistein targets in BRCA1-mutant human breast cancer cell lines – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20651350

[19] The indole-3-carbinol cyclic tetrameric derivative CTet inhibits cell proliferation via overexpression of p21/CDKN1A in both estrogen receptor-positive and triple-negative breast cancer cell lines. — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21435243

[20] Momilactone B induces apoptosis and G1 arrest of the cell cycle in human monocytic leukemia U937 cells through downregulation of pRB phosphorylation and induction of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21Waf1/Cip1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24503697

[21] Antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing activity of nobiletin against three subtypes of human breast cancer cell lines – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24692711

[22] Selenium modifies the osteoblast inflammatory stress response to bone metastatic breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791325/

[23] Selenium and anticarcinogenesis: underlying mechanisms – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18827575/

[24] Methylseleninic acid is a novel suppressor of aromatase expression – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22128327

[25] Diet and Exercise: a Match Made in Bone – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705732/

[26] Cannibinoids and bone regeneration —
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30702341

[27] Cytotoxic activity of soy phytoestrogen coumestrol against human breast cancer MCF-7 cells: Insights into the molecular mechanism – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27913286

[28] Aesculin modulates bone metabolism by suppressing receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis and transduction signals – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28465233

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The Benefit Of Mushrooms and 6 Tips For Taking

benefit of mushrooms1

Image source: stock.xchng and 13dede

There is quite a buzz in the cancer community about the benefit of mushrooms for cancer patients.  See my recent post Medicinal Mushrooms: Fungi That Fight Cancer Cells. Today I will share even more information on this topic, so read on, thrivers!

The Benefit of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are pretty fantastic for healing.  In addition to their culinary delights, many common mushrooms are a good source of protein, antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins (I believe they’re one of the only vegetarian sources of B12, though it is minimal) and also vitamin D, a vitamin that is known to be lacking in many breast cancer patients.

Research on mushrooms show that they have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits with potent immune bolstering benefits.

The Magic Part of the Mushroom

The most potent and beneficial part of the mushroom is the mycelium – the part on the underside of the mushroom cap that you can see in the photo.  The mycelium contains the “magic” ingredients that confer so many health benefits.

The Chinese have been using mushrooms to support their health for thousands of years and you might not be aware of it but some widely used drugs in Western medicine are derived from mushrooms, penicillin being the most popular.

One Passionate Man and His Research

According to Paul Stamets, DSc, one of the world’s leading mycologists and author of “Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World” there are about 150,000 species of mushrooms and that about 5% have “interesting nutritional or medicinal properties”.

Stamets was involved in the study “Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women With Breast Cancer” and is on the advisory committee of the trial’s second phase.  Trametes versicolor (also known as turkey tail) improved the immune systems of breast cancer patients after chemotherapy and radiation.

Now that’s the kind of research I like to see – NOT involving synthetic drugs!

The best thing I wanted to share was that Paul Stamets’ own mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and given three months to live.  She took turkey tail mushrooms and is still with us, three years later, with no detectable tumors.  He speaks about her experience in this YouTube video and shares the dosage that she took. It must be stated that she was also taking the cancer drug Herceptin along with the mushroooms, but she is still alive and well and with us today. Inspiring!

6 Great Tips For Taking Mushroom Supplements For Healing

  1. Make sure the product you purchase has at least 10% to 12% polysaccharides
  2. Try to take only certified organic mushroom supplements – particularly if you have active cancer in your body
  3. See my post on which mushrooms have the most research to back them up
  4. Take a natural vitamin C supplement with your mushrooms to improve absorption
  5. Some are finding it helpful to take the mushroom supplement for a month, stop for a few days, then begin again
  6. According to the Phase 1 clinical trial mentioned above, up to 9 grams per day of Trametes versicolor was a safe and tolerable dose in women with breast cancer – that’s 9,000 mg!  Experiment with that for yourself though – start with a lesser dosage and work up to 9,000 mg to see how well you tolerate it.

My favorite supplements come from Host Defense, Paul Stamets’ own company – so you know, being the well-known mushroom guru that he is, they are organically grown, the right way. I particularly like “My Community“, a blend of 18 medicinal mushrooms, and my other favorite is “Stamets 7“, a blend of 7 mushrooms. They are both awesome for boosting immunity and helping to keep cancer away. I switch off between them, especially in the winter.

Source article: Medicinal Mushroom Magic by Corinne Garcia, Energy Times Magazine, October 2012

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New Chemotherapy Drug for HER2+: Genentech’s T-DM1

In June of this year, the results of a new study were released by Duke Cancer Institute for a breast cancer drug known as T-DM1 which is made by Genentech, a unit of Roche, who sponsored the trial.

I didn’t write an article about it at the time because I wanted to do a little more research.

How T-DM1 Works

T-DM1 is designed for those who are HER2 positive, meaning that their tumors have high levels of a protein called HER2.

T-DM1 works a little differently than most chemotherapy drugs.  It consists of toxins that are linked to proteins called antibodies.  The antibodies latch onto cancer cells and deliver their toxic payload directly into the cancer cells.  This is termed an antibody-drug conjugate.

More specifically, to make T-DM1, trastuzumab, the T in the name, is attached to DM1, a toxin more potent than the typical chemotherapy drug.

The trastuzumab latches onto cells with the HER2 protein protruding from their surface and is taken inside the cells.  Once inside, the antibody degrades and sets the toxin free. Although the toxin is still connected to the linker, it is still able to kill the cells.

According to the research, by doing this, side effects are supposedly reduced.

Study Results

The T-DM1 trial involved 991 women with metastatic breast cancer whose cancer was getting worse despite previous treatment with the drug Herceptin (also a Genentech drug) and taxane.  Half of the women in the study got T-DM1 and the other half received two drugs that are now commonly used for such patients — Tykerb, also known as lapatinib, and Xeloda, also known as capecitabine.

According to the study results, T-DM1 delayed the worsening of disease by about three months.  For those who received T-DM1, the median time before the disease progressed was 9.6 months, compared with 6.4 months for those getting the two other drugs.

While it is too early to state that T-DM1 prolonged lives (because not enough time had elapsed since the beginning of the trial and the release of the results), researchers were pretty confident that it would be beneficial.

T-DM1 Side Effects

I have been active in several breast cancer forums and I know of a few women who have been on the T-DM1 trials.  Here’s what some of them have had to say about side effects of T-DM1:

  • Neutropenia – neutrophils are a class of white blood cells in your immune system and neutropenia means a low count of neutrophils
  • Significant aching and stiffness of muscle and joints, pain and cramping – worse in hands and feet
  • Mouth sores, dry mouth
  • Drippy nose, sometimes bloody
  • Liver enzyme elevation
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Fatigue
  • Lung inflammation
  • Heavy periods (if not menopausal)

I thought you might like to know.  To me, that list of side effects sounds a whole lot like most chemotherapy drugs but if they are keeping people alive and giving them hope, that’s always a good thing.

I’ll get excited when researchers come up with effective drugs that don’t have side effects.

Reference articles:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/health/research/in-study-drug-delays-worsening-of-breast-cancer-with-fewer-side-effects.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&ref=health&src=me&adxnnlx=1344974462-qxirhUkbLGWgXzcVl83Qww

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trastuzumab_emtansine

http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/breast-cancer/is-tdm-1-a-miracle-drug-for-advanced-breast-cancer-1

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New Australian Research Aims To Block Tumor Spread in Breast Cancer

research labExciting New Australian Research Focuses on Blocking Tumor Spread in Breast Cancer

My Australian friends have shared with me some great new research being done by Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in association with Monash Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.

The research shows great potential – as cancer survivors the main anxiety we have is that after undergoing all that treatment they throw at us, at the end of it all we’re left wondering “Did they get it all?  Or will it come back?” Our key concern is the possibility that the cancer cells could spread somewhere else in our body (called metastasis).  That’s how I lost my mother and grandmother, so it was a very real concern to me.

Sneaky Cancer Cells

Dr Belinda Parker of the Metastasis Research Laboratory at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre says that they have discovered that the disease spreads secretly by switching off the interferon immune signalling and hiding in the blood stream.  They are “quite excited by this because therapies that are currently already available can be used to switch this immune signal back on, and we’ve found that that actually prevents the spread of cancer to bone.”

In more simple terms, cancer cells produce signals, the same signals that are produced when we have a bacterial or a viral infection.  Cells that lose these signals are the ones that can spread without detection by the immune system.

Interferon Therapy

Because there are already clinical therapies for hepatitis, HIV, and other cancers like melanoma that can switch the lost signals back on and get the immune system to react to cancer cells, the chances are good that they will be able to create an interferon therapy for breast cancer patients whose tumors exhibit a loss of immune signals.

Dr Parker has proven that interferon therapies effectively reactivate the immune signal in mouse models of breast cancer.

“If we can stop the first spread to bone, then it is possible that we could prevent subsequent metastases to the brain, lung and liver,” Dr Parker said.

In the future (and they aren’t saying when), the pathology tests that determine whether a breast cancer tumor is driven by hormones, what stage it is and what grade it is, et cetera, may also include information about whether this particular tumor has lost its immune signals and, if so, that patient would then be treated with the therapies that switch the signals back on.

Dr Helen Zorbas is the CEO of Cancer Australia and, when interviewed, said that understanding how cancer spreads through the body is like the Holy Grail of medicine, she was excited by the new research.

Holy Grail indeed.  Good work, Aussies!

References:

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3551215.htm

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/bone-breakthrough-could-help-stop-disease-spread/story-fndo3ewo-1226432661341

http://www.petermac.org/PublicationsMedia

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids May Improve Chemotherapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Omega 3 Fatty Acids May Improve Chemotherapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Kittikun Atsawintarangkul

A recent study from France indicates that supplements of omega 3 fatty acids (DHA) may improve outcomes for patients with breast cancer metastases undergoing chemotherapy.

How DHA works

According to the French study, the omega 3 fatty acid known as DHA appeared to sensitize tumors to chemotherapy, making the chemotherapy that much more effective.

Omega 3 fatty acids (oils) have long been known to have an anti-inflammatory action within the body, among many other health benefits like improved cardiovascular health, brain and vision development of infants, and natural joint flexibility and mobility.  Omega 3 oils are the building blocks of every living cell in the human body. They are absolutely necessary for normal health and development. Without them, cells can’t function, renew, or maintain themselves properly.

A cell membrane made with building blocks that come primarily from saturated fat has a different structure and is less fluid than one which incorporates more Omega-3 oils. This loss of fluidity makes it difficult for the cell to carry out its normal functions and increases the cell’s susceptibility to injury and death.

Study Dosage

Women with metastatic breast cancer were given 1.8 grams per day of DHA for between 2-6 months, as part of their anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimen (FEC). The study noted that women with the highest DHA levels in their blood tended to have longer survival rates.

Best Source of DHA

The absolute best source of DHA comes from cold water fish like trout, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna.  But they must be FRESH and come from safe waters, which is not always easily found these days. Some people really don’t like to eat fish, which poses a problem.

I’ve found a great source of DHA and it’s combined with EPA (another omega 3 fatty acid).  The company I’ve found uses only the highest-quality raw materials, you can rely on their purity and concentration.  This company’s scientists voluntarily joined with 23 other international companies, under the guidance of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, to work on developing standards for ensuring a supply of consistent, high-quality raw materials. Applying those standards, they start with high-quality fish oils from ocean fish like anchovy, mackerel, and sardines. They use a proprietary 6-step process to extract the Omega 3 fatty acids and purify them. Finally, they test the refined oil for purity, free from PCBs and other contaminants.  No one else does this.  Need more info?  Contact me.

Sources

British Journal of Cancer, Volume 101

Fats That Heal Fats That Kill” by Udo Erasmus

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