I found out about this wonderful little gem from a couple of myeloma list friends (thank you both so very much, D & D!). It’s an editorial (see: http://tinyurl.com/b7z59z) on a Mayo Clinic study titled “Targeting the Pathogenic Role of Interleukin 1beta in the Progression of Smoldering/Indolent Myeloma to Active Disease,” (abstract: http://tinyurl.com/acqlkb; full study: http://tinyurl.com/akqd4r). I haven’t read the full study yet (I will read it tomorrow…it requires more attention and care than I can give it at the moment: ). Both can be found in the February 2009 Mayo Clinic Proceedings. At any rate, I am basing my post on the editorial (shorter and easier to read than the full study…).
47 patients, all at the inactive or smouldering myeloma stage (=my stage) but at high risk of progression, participated in the Mayo study, which was carried out between 2002 and 2007. The idea was to answer the fundamental question: WHAT THE HECK makes folks progress from inactive to active myeloma?
Apparently what happens is that IL-1beta, another of those beastly pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic cytokines, induces marrow stromal cells to produce large amounts of interleukin 6 (IL-6), thereby promoting the survival and expansion of the myeloma cells.
The researchers confirmed their theory that reducing the activity of IL-1beta does, in fact, significantly increase progression-free survival (PFS) in these high-risk patients. This is extraordinary!
And now read this: blocking IL-1beta reduces IL-6 as well as the proangiogenic chemokine IL-8, therefore the use of IL-1beta-blocking strategies may result in new standards of therapy for high-risk patients with SMM/IMM. WOWIE!!!
In the study, all the smouldering myeloma patients were given anakinra, an IL-1beta inhibitor that is used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and autoinflammatory diseases. I should add that 25 patients were also given a low dose of dexamethasone. Two of the them remained stable for about four years, and in fact, at the time of this writing, progression to active disease has not yet occurred […]. Since, as I mentioned, I haven’t yet read the actual study, I don’t know what happened in the other 23 cases…
Another significant excerpt from the editorial: In the study, patients with a decrease in CRP levels were more likely to have stable disease, confirming that effectively blocking IL-1beta (using CRP levels as the marker for IL-1beta activity) can halt progression to active myeloma.
Halt progression to active myeloma…aaaaah, how sweet those five little words sound…
Hmmm, but WHY am I so excited that I could skip and dance all around my study (probably will, as soon as I post this)?
Because, drum roll!, CURCUMIN INHIBITS IL-1BETA!!! (See, e.g.: http://tinyurl.com/b7yr3j and http://tinyurl.com/bgqud4) There are heaps of studies on this topic, in fact, probably much much better than the above two that I found after a lightning search…but right now I am too elated and, well, in a bit of a hurry–it’s almost dinnertime–to see if I can find the perfect one…I just want to go ahead and post this bit of good news!
More good news: curcumin is not the only one. Here is a list of the other natural IL-1beta inhibitors that I have found thus far (ah, but my quest has only just begun, so there will probably be more…):
2. omega-3 http://tinyurl.com/c2ksmg
3. genistein http://tinyurl.com/cbtpsr
4. EGCG http://tinyurl.com/andmdj
5. resveratrol http://tinyurl.com/cmnayw
6. ellagic acid (on my to-be-tested list) http://tinyurl.com/bgvutf
I will stop here because I want to go give my husband a big bear hug…and do another little jig of joy around the room on the way! Yippity yippity doodle! Evvaiiiii, grandeeeee!!! 🙂