Life Extension Update
Ginkgo benefits more than the brain
A report published in the January-February 2006 issue of the journal Anticancer Research revealed that an extract of Ginkgo biloba reduces the aggressiveness of cancerous tumors in mice. Ginkgo biloba is a tree common to Asia whose leaves have been used to enhance cognitive function.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center administered an extract of ginkgo called EGb 761 to cultured breast, glioma (brain) and liver cancer cells and found a decrease in the expression of peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors (PBR), which have been associated with invasive cancer. In addition, these cells showed a reduction proliferation in response to treatment with ginkgo. The team then injected ginkgo extract into mice that over-expressed PBR, before and after implanting the animals with human breast or brain tumors. They found that ginkgo dose-dependently slowed the growth of the breast tumors by 80 percent compared to mice who did not receive ginkgo. Ginkgo also inhibited the growth of the glioma cells, although this effect was not maintained after fifty days of treatment.
The peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor is involved in transporting cholesterol into the mitochondria of the cell. Steroids produced by cholesterol in the mitochondria of some cells assist cell growth, and cancer cells produce more of these receptors to be able to rapidly proliferate. "Accelerated growth requires production of new cell membranes, and one of the main components of membranes is cholesterol," explained senior author Vassilios Papadopoulos, PhD, who is the associate vice president of Georgetown University Medical Center.
Dr Papadopoulos commented, “It is very encouraging that Ginkgo biloba appeared to reduce the aggressiveness of these cancers, because it suggests that the leaves could be useful in some early stage diseases to prevent them from becoming invasive, or spreading. But I must stress that this is a study in mice, and so we cannot say what anticancer effects, if any, Gingko biloba might offer humans.”
Dr Papadopoulos is planning to research the hypothesis that a cancer diagnosis might increase the production of stress steroids via PBR over-expression, causing a tumor to become invasive. "Ginkgo biloba could possibly reduce this stress by tamping down PBR," he stated.
CoQ10 may induce protective effect on breast tissue and has demonstrated promise in treating breast cancer. Although there are only a few studies, the safe nature of CoQ10 coupled with this promising research of its bioenergetic activity suggests that breast cancer patients should take 100 mg up to 3 times a day. It is important to take CoQ10 with some kind of oil, such as fish or flax, because dry powder CoQ10 is not readily absorbed.
In a clinical study, 32 patients were treated with CoQ10 (90 mg) in addition to other antioxidants and fatty acids; six of these patients showed partial tumor regression. In one of these cases the dose of CoQ10 was increased to 390 mg and within one month the tumor was no longer palpable, within two months the mammography confirmed the absence of tumor. In another case, the patient took 300 mg of CoQ10 for residual tumor (post non-radical surgery) and within 3 months there was non residual tumor tissue (Lockwood et al. 1994). This overt complete regression of breast tumors in the latter two cases coupled with further reports of disappearance of breast cancer metastases (liver and elsewhere) in several other case (Lockwood et al. 1995) demonstrates the potential of CoQ10 in the adjuvant therapy of breast cancer.
There are promising results for the use of CoQ10 in protecting against heart damage related to chemotherapy. Many chemotherapy drugs can cause damage to the heart (UTH 1998; ACS 2000; NCCAM 2000; Dog et al. 2001), and initial animal studies found that CoQ10 could reduce the adverse cardiac effects of these drugs (Combs et al. 1977; Choe et al. 1979; Lubawy et al. 1980; Usui et al. 1982; Shinozawa et al. 1993; Folkers 1996).
In 2005, more than 200,000 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 40,000 died from it. Compelling research findings indicate that coenzyme Q10 might be an effective adjuvant therapy.
Drug companies, however, continue to ignore CoQ10. The NCI has plenty of clinical trials planned to test toxic chemotherapy drugs, but has no studies scheduled to evaluate CoQ10’s effects on breast cancer patients. This is regrettable, considering the NCI’s own published report on CoQ10’s potential efficacy.
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