Cancer vaccine being tested on multiple myeloma patients…

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 had been “withdrawn prior to enrollment”…no explanations given.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). 

Until today.

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! 🙂

22 Comments

  1. Margaret, thanks for all of this info. By the way, the Israeli trial seems promising, especially in that it is dovetailing with the peptide research out of Dana Farber in Boston. Hoefully, it won’t take till bloody 2017 to come to market. I also checked and found that apigenin is easily obtainable at the click of a mouse, at least in the US. I just bought a bottle of Swanson’s apigenin derived from grapefruit for about ten bucks for 90 capsules. Regards. Terry

  2. Ha ha that is so funny. I hav an empty vege garden, have only managed to plant 9 plants.
    They were the only ones on sale at the local gardeners,and guess what they were 3 parsley plants for 99cents, and they had 3 left, so I took all three because I cannot resist a bargin.
    Now I have an abundant apigenin, was going to juice it, maybe I will dry it.:)

  3. Hi Margaret,

    I must say I am confused here. According to the following article, it appears that Dexamethsone is regularly used for treating Multiple Myeloma.

    http://www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-myeloma/dexamethasone-steroid-treatment.aspx

    In this 1999 study, it also appears that dexamethasone upregulates Mucin 1 (MUC 1).

    http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/content/93/4/1287.long

    If inhibition of Muc 1 is a potential target for MM treatment, how is dexamethasone as a Muc 1 promoter good for Multiple Myeloma treatment?

    I must be missing something here.
    Can you please shed some light on this for me Margaret???

    Thank You.

    Art

  4. By the way, if people are interested in taking apigenin, chamomile is a great source in addition to parsley. I don’t know how many cups of tea you have to drink but I guess you could let it steep for hours…or just buy the readily available extract.

  5. Have been on various combinations of chemo for the past yr.
    4 day 24 hour drips. Now in clinIcal trial.

    would like information. Thanks.
    C. Howard

  6. I was diagnosed in Nov. 2009, IgG 12,000ish. Treated with Velcade for almost six months–couldn’t quite finish the treatment. Bad neuropathy, but recovered in four months. Felt good for another four months. When IgG reached 2600, my doctor recommended a second round of Velcade, two months’ worth this time. That knocked the IgG was down to 600, but it rose 300, then 400 pts. per month. After reading about curcumin, I began taking it regularly, about 1 Tbsp. per day. That seemed to slow down the increase in the IgG, to about 200 pts. per month. That was mixed with V8, the most palatable way I’d found to ingest the stuff. Then, in December 2011, I decided to act on the information that curcumin dissolves in oil or alcohol, and began having a glass of red wine after my curcumin dose. After that month’s routine, my IgG actually went down for the first time without chemo!

    I now have a new doctor, who has me on Revlimid. My hope is that the chemo will give the myeloma a good beating, and then I’ll be able to keep the IgG numbers in check with curcumin and wine.

    Thanks for your ongoing story, Margaret. You’re a great example. By the way, you wonder about the effects of chemo: The drugs I’ve taken are relatively gentle–no hair loss or much nausea–but still bothersome. With Velcade it was mostly neuropathy–leg and foot pain; the Revlimid causes a lot of dizziness and lethargy, for me. They are poisons, and you’re certainly wise to avoid them if you can. But I’m grateful for not being dead by now!

    Pat

  7. Ok you’ve convinced me, bring out the red wine,
    I was just taking mine with green tea and my lGg has gone back up from 25.9 to 27.7.
    Now I have bee told it is the free light chain markeer I am supposed to be watching for results from curcumin…not the lGg

  8. Margaret I would like to know if you have any materialon L Glutathione on Myeloma cell. There are views which say its increases the killers cells. I would be gratful if you could provide some light on this. I know you mentioned Myeloma patients should not take NAC. I have conflicting views pls do enlighten

  9. Apigenin delivers a double whammy – also inducing apoptosis via effects on p53:

    “Normally, cells have low levels of p53 diffused in their cytoplasm and nucleus. When DNA in the nucleus is damaged, p53 moves to the nucleus where it activates genes that stop cell growth and cause cell death. In this way, p53 ensures that cells with damaged DNA are killed.

    In many cancers, p53 is rendered inactive by a process called cytoplasmic sequestration. APIGENIN is able to activate p53 and transport it into the nucleus, resulting in a stop to cell growth and cell death.”

    http://www.science20.com/news_releases/apigenin_why_fruits_and_vegetables_improve_patient_response_chemotherapy

  10. I have been taking two teaspoons of parsley in a soup, 3 chamomile teas and and a tea made from 1 teaspoon full of Black cumin seeds since February 2012. I was diagnosed Dec 2004 with Light chain asymtomatic myeloma (thought Creatinine 180+ and rising) Hence started CTD + Stem Cell Transplant June 2005. Relapse April 2009 no treatment since June 2005 to date. Jan 2012 test results 24 hr Urine BJ 1.26 grams, SFLC Kappa 1400 Creatinine 128. July 2012 test results 24hr urine .56 grams SFLC kappa 1700 Creatinine 111. Full blood count all in normal range. Pleased with the BJ & Creatinine results, not sure about the SFLC.

  11. Tony
    Glad things seem to be going in the right direction. I started curcumin in January this year after my numbers jumped up a little. I nthink it had something to do with large doses of methyl b12,but thats another story. Had labs done after 2 1/2 months of curcumin and there was a drop in Kappa free light chain from 4.10 to 3.83.When first diagnosed it was 2.78 dropped to 2.73 then jumped to 4.10 and thats when I started curcumin. After about three months I started getting gastritis symptoms and backed off the curcumin and eventually stopped it recently had labs done after a month on apigenin/parsley averaging 50-100 mg apigenin daily. My Kappa free light chains dropped from 3.83 to 3.07. I think this is significant. I am not recommending anyone stop curcumin as I think they can be used together. The apigenin has an effect on p53 and muc1 among others which I think is valuable.
    Be well
    Ron

  12. Tony

    You are in the same camp as me with respect to Light Chain Deposition Disease. Great to know that you protocol has reduced your creatnine and urine BJ. Pity about the Kappa SFL but the jury is out on this. Im currently finishing off my 5th cycle of Vel/Dex that was recommended by myeloma specialist given that my Kappa SFL was exceeding 500, well below your levels. My creatnine was pretty stable although it bounds about the 145 mark (please I underwent SCT in 2006 and kidney transplant in 2009). My nephrologist is not a big believer in SFL results and recommends that decision to treat myeloma should be based on more objective evidence like urine BJ and sudden elevation of Creatnine levels. Once Im off the Velcade/Dex I will return to my parsley/black cumin/chamomole.

  13. Hi Ron that is dried parsley. Hope your numbers keep coming down and you stay well.
    Tom I hope the velcade works for you. I nearly started PAD 21 months ago but a bone marrow test showed better than expected results and my numbers levelled off (sflc kappa 800).

  14. Thanks Tony, I have been using the dried parsley and some of the apigenin supplement from Swanson which is 50 mg per capsule.

    Be Well

    Ron

  15. Concerning MUC1, I have read “Hadasa” & “Rambam” Israeli hospital had a research with this protein. They found out while researching Multiple Myeloma, that MUC1 has a great effect on M.M. 5 out of 15 participants in the trial got read of the M.M. by another 4 it stopped developing and by 1 it slowed down. It turned out the MUC1 enhances the immune system quite strongly.
    If you know who supplies this protein I’ll be happy to get it since I am bearing M,M, for the last 6 years with ups and downs, while right now it is galloping up to the range of IgG protein levels of 5000
    If you may have some other idea/ treatment/ remedy to assist me out of my problem I’ll be grateful. I am not on any Chemo or Dexacort, just using some herbs supplements for the last two years.
    Thank you for your attention

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