A dear friend (grazie!) sent me a study on pomegranates yesterday morning. In the bibliography, I found a 2005 study (abstract: http://tinyurl.com/dh685b; the full study is free, too) discussing a substance called PFE, or pomegranate fruit extract. The exciting bit is that PFE inhibits IL-1 beta, which, as you may recall, is a key player in the progression from smouldering or inactive myeloma to active myeloma. Hah! (My February 1st and 5th 2009 posts deal with IL-1 beta and its inhibitors.)
Since the full PFE study is available online, I won’t bother going into too many details. Just a few notes.
Let’s start with a sentence in the abstract: Interleukin (IL)-1beta induces the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) implicated in cartilage resorption and joint degradation in osteoarthritis (OA). Okay, so this study doesn’t specifically mention multiple myeloma, but it is still relevant to us. You see, MMPs are enzymes that play a role in bone destruction and neoplastic growth (they contribute to angiogenesis, e.g.). I read that our myeloma cells actually produce MMPs in order to hollow out our bones…at any rate, simply put, MMPs are evil, evil thingies, and anything that inhibits them is good. As is anything that inhibits IL-1 beta.
Well, this pomegranate extract fits the bill. It inhibits the expression of IL-1 beta-induced MMPs. Since I love pomegranate seeds and juice in my salads, that is FABULOUS news indeed! Now I am sorry that I didn’t freeze any pomegranate seeds at the end of last summer…ah, bummer!