Back in mid November, a blog reader (thanks, J!) posted a link on my blog’s Facebook Page about the development of a cancer vaccine called ImMucin, which, and here’s the exciting part!, was being tested in clinical trials on patients with multiple myeloma. Very exciting news.
Now, I’d known for a while that a vaccine was in the works. But the 2005 clinical trial testing the vaccine (same thing, same company etc.) had been “withdrawn prior to enrollment”…no explanations given. It might have been a simple sort of bureaucratic hiccup…I mean, they might simply have run out of funds or whatnot. But, lacking an explanation, I stopped following this “case.”
And that is why I’m very grateful to J for bringing the vaccine to my attention again. I noticed that this second trial (still recruiting, btw) has added something to the mix, something called “recombinant human granulocyte-monocyte colony stimulating factor.” Drat, I don’t have the time right now to check on that…oh well. But it left a question in my mind, since the first trial was only going to test ImMucin by itself…hmmm…
I’m also verrrry grateful to another blog reader, L, for pulling together a whole bunch of links for me. Back in November, however, I have to confess that I was overwhelmed, so I postponed writing a post on this topic until I had more time to check out all L’s links and do more research. Of course, time passed, life got busy and eventually, well, I forgot about it (my deepest apologies both to J and L).
Today a third (!) blog reader sent me a link providing an update on the clinical trial: http://goo.gl/O4kRc (you can also check the Clinical Trials website: http://goo.gl/uNyMs). Here’s an interesting excerpt: The new vaccine works by activating the immune system by “training” T-cells to search and destroy cells with the MUC1 molecule, typically found only on cancer cells. More than 90% of common solid tumor cancers bear the MUC1 molecule, as well as many non-solid tumors, including lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma.
Okay, so we know that the vaccine blocks a thingy called MUC1. Well, back in November, my above-mentioned blog reader L had the absolutely brilliant idea of checking to see if there were any natural MUC1 blockers. Success! Wonderful L found a study (full text available online: http://goo.gl/3b0yn) showing that apigenin blocks MUC1.
I’ve written a few posts about apigenin, a compound that can be found mainly in parsley but also in other foods and herbs (do a Search of my blog for “apigenin”). The most important one would be my August 30 2011 post in which I reported about a Chinese study showing that apigenin kills myeloma cells on its own (full text available online for free: http://goo.gl/Rqs02).
L also sent me the link to a 2009 study linking MUC1 to the NF-kappaB pathway, which is one of the main bad guys in myeloma: http://goo.gl/RJ3JI As the study’s title suggests, MUC1 activates NF-kappaB, which is clearly BAD. The great news therefore is: if we can stop MUC1, we can block NF-kappaB, too. Theoretically.
So, given all this great info about apigenin’s dual activity (= blocking MUC1 AND killing myeloma cells), why wait until 2017 for the vaccine to be available on the market? Why can’t some of us go ahead and increase our daily intake of apigenin? I’m referring to those of us who aren’t on any chemo or other drugs whose activity might be hindered by apigenin. And here I must tell you this: before imbibing huge quantities of apigenin via parsley or a supplement, please keep in mind that it might possibly interfere with the drugs you are taking. Wonderful L sent me a list that you can check out: http://goo.gl/p5MFK She also pointed out that parsley is loaded with vitamin K, which can interfere with coumadin or blood-thinning meds.
Bottom line: do your research…ask your doctors before taking anything…and please be careful.
L also found out that dried parsley actually contains a higher amount of apigenin than fresh parsley. She calculated that 2.4 grams of dried parsley has the same amount of apigenin (300 mg) as 100 grams of fresh parsley.
She didn’t stop there. She went into her kitchen and did some measuring for us (love that!). She calculated that each gram of dried parsley yields 135 mg of apigenin. And one gram of dried parsley = two level teaspoons. So that seems to be an easy way to get more apigenin into our body. I mean, two teaspoons of dried parsley added to a glass of water (L tried it and reported that the taste was okay) will give us 135 mg of apigenin, based on L’s calculations.
My own very quick bit of research this morning led me to a Chinese study on EGCG and the wayward MUC1 protein: http://goo.gl/uCs0b So yay, we can add another readily available item to our natural, anti-MUC1 list.
Well, this post is not exhaustive by any means, but it gives us a start, at least…
Your comments and contributions are greatly appreciated…Thanks! 🙂