A Nigella sativa compound exterminates multiple myeloma cells…

The last post I wrote about Nigella sativa, = a ‚Äúcure for every disease except death,‚ÄĚ dates to May 2008 (see my page on ‚ÄúBlack cumin‚ÄĚ http://margaret.healthblogs.org/other-alternative-treatments/nigella-sativa-black-cumin/ )‚Ķ

Back then, there weren‚Äôt any scientific studies on Nigella sativa and myeloma‚ĶNonetheless, I was fascinated by, and devoted two posts to, this extraordinary medicinal plant, also known as black cumin, because its main active compound, thymoquinone, had been tested (with very good results) against many types of cancer cells, including pancreatic and super aggressive prostate cancer cells. These tests have shown that thymoquinone blocks many of the signalling pathways that are involved in myeloma. And that is why I was absolutely certain (almost 3 years ago) that it would have an effect on myeloma cells. But I had no proof at the time…

Well. Today. I. Do. Have. Proof.

A blog reader (thanks!!!) recently sent me the link to a study published in October in the ‚ÄúBritish Journal of Pharmacology‚ÄĚ (http://goo.gl/L4kTf), showing that thymoquinone (TQ, from now on)¬†can kill myeloma cells…ruthlessly‚Ķ

As we can read in the abstract, TQ inhibits STAT3, a crucial signalling pathway that keeps our myeloma cells healthy and alive. Sifting through the rather complicated jargon used in the abstract (and in the full study, I would like to add!), the main point is that TQ has a very strong effect on a lot of the bad stuff in myeloma‚ÄĒcyclin D1, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Mcl-1, survivin and VEGF‚Ķ(I have written about all of these bad thingies…You can do a “search” of my blog if you want to know more…the search box is on the right-hand side…just keep scrolling down my Pages…).

The abstract¬†informs us that TQ also significantly potentiated the apoptotic effects of thalidomide and bortezomib in MM cells. But what I found most interesting is that this compound KILLED myeloma cells on its own, without the help of any other substance‚ĶIn more scientific terms, it ‚Äúinduced apoptosis in myeloma cells.‚ÄĚ

Apoptosis is an interesting and¬†important cellular process also known as ‚Äúprogrammed cell death.‚ÄĚ I have written about it before (again, use the “search” box)‚Ķbut, essentially, after a cell is born, it floats around for a while and does whatever it is it is supposed to do…then, when¬†its time comes, it dies. That is what happens under normal, healthy circumstances‚ĶIn fact, I read somewhere that in just ONE year we can lose¬†half our body weight in cells that have died due to apoptosis = a fascinating titbit that stuck in my mind…

But cancer cells don‚Äôt like the ‚Äúdying‚ÄĚ part of the equation. They want to live forever‚Ķand so they bring into play a variety of ‚Äúavoid-death-at-all-costs!‚ÄĚ mechanisms. The little¬†buggers¬†even become chemoresistant…

Now, getting back to myeloma cells, one of these survival mechanisms includes STAT3…And that gives us an idea of how important it is to block this pathway when treating myeloma…

I have read the full TQ-MM study, and I must say it is impressive‚Ķthough it is also quite difficult to follow here and there. As you know, I have a new policy of not quoting directly from copyrighted material‚Ķbut, hmmm,¬†let’s see…in addition to what we know from the abstract, here is a bit more info‚Ķ

For those who are more technically-inclined: TQ inhibits the IL-6-induced STAT3 and also Akt activation. It also inhibits NF-kappaB activation, which is the Cruella Deville of myeloma…And it also blocks IL-6, which helps myeloma cells proliferate and build resistance against chemo drugs, among other things. Well, let me assure you that these are extremely positive findings…

The authors conclude that TQ merits further study, since it could possibly be used in cancers linked to the infamous STAT3 signalling pathway. Hah. No kidding!!!

I definitely need to order some more Nigella sativa‚Ķyup…

P.S. Interesting Science Daily article on thymoquinone and aggressive prostate cancer: http://goo.gl/cghDV

Happy fooling!!!

What a scare I got early this morning! Happy fooling, indeed…except this time,¬†I was fooled!¬† ūüėȬ†

Here is what happened: after stumbling downstairs in a¬†half-asleep fog, feeding the cats and drinking a cappuccino (yes, in that order…anyone who has cats will¬†know what I mean…purrfectly…hehe), I did what I always do: I logged onto my blog. And whoa…talk about¬†an eye-opener! Three blooming ads, one about snoring remedies (helloooo???!),¬†were staring at me from my April Fools’ post. Agh! I immediately tried deleting the ads, but nothing worked (at this point, I should mention that I am the least technical person on the planet…I mean, even a toad in Costa Rica could do more with a computer than I can).¬†Desperate to get rid of the¬†#@*&%?! ads,¬†I simply deleted the¬†post. But no,¬†oh noooo…the¬†ads simply floated down to my my pamidronate post! Double-aaaaagh!

After writing to the Healthblogs manager (because of the time difference between Europe and the U.S., though, she is asleep right now), well, I don’t¬†remember how I did it, but I¬†went into the inner workings of my blog and somehow, yes,¬†I fixed the problem. By myself. Amazing! If you knew me, you’d be amazed, too. ūüėČ

Here is my “deleted”¬†and now retrieved April Fools’ post, by the way:

I have just enough time this evening to post a link to two of the BBC’s best April Fool’s Day hoaxes ever: http://goo.gl/Wk6DX¬†(This might be my briefest post ever, too! ūüôā ) Enjoy!!!