A blog reader/myeloma list friend (thank you!) sent me the link to a newly published study on genistein and multiple myeloma: http://tinyurl.com/a3qezp
Sherlock is abroad for the holidays, so I can’t get my hands on the full study until she returns, but the abstract gives us enough information for a preliminary report: genistein down-regulates NF-kappaB and related gene products…bcl-2 and bcl-x (well, well…well!) and others. But the main point is that genistein kills human myeloma cells, thus providing the molecular basis for the treatment of myeloma patients with this pharmacologically safe agent.
I had paid no serious attention to genistein because of the well-known problem of genetically modified soy…oh, right, because genistein derives mainly from soybeans, though small quantities can be found in other legumes, such as chickpeas. But from now on I will be keeping closer tabs on it. And perhaps eating more chickpeas…
This morning I bumped into another reason to keep an eye on genistein. A 2002 abstract (see: http://tinyurl.com/86ednx) discussed lab tests showing that genistein stimulates osteoblasts and inhibits osteoclasts; that is, it stimulates bone formation and prevents bone destruction. But these results had not been verified on human subjects…until 2002, that is.
That is when Italian researchers performed a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study to evaluate and compare with hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) the effect of the phytoestrogen genistein on bone metabolism and bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women.
You can read many more details in the abstract, but the point is that This study confirms the genistein-positive effects on bone loss already observed in the experimental models of osteoporosis and indicates that the phytoestrogen [genistein, that is] reduces bone resorption and increases bone formation in postmenopausal women.
Excellent news for us myeloma folks…but before getting too excited about genistein and testing it on ourselves, my advice is to do more research into any possible risks and side effects (allergic reactions to soy and so on). I am definitely not in the genistein camp yet…but I am still reading, even though my task is rendered more difficult by the obnoxious presence of blatantly biased (one way or the other) websites. We need to find objective, more reliable sources…