Today is going to be the hottest day of summer in Florence thus far. It was already muggy and awful when I woke up at 6 AM…but the worst is that the ceiling fan in my study seems to have decided to die. Today. Noooooo…
Things could be worse. I could be a tourist visiting the center of Florence today (hi, Deirdre!)…YIKESSSS! 😉
But the title of my post today isn’t “how to whine about boiling hot weather.” So let’s get to the point…
I actually have not one but TWO studies on curcumin. The first is specifically myeloma-related. The full text is in Chinese (so I won’t even bother looking it up…Now WHY didn’t I study Chinese in college? Duh…), but the abstract is in English…luckily: http://goo.gl/WYx70
It’s another in vitro study, showing that curcumin and bortezomib (=Velcade) together can exterminate a myeloma cell line called H929. Synergistically. When used together, they also more effectively increase the levels of a pro-apoptotic protein called Bax (you can do a search of my blog for more info on Mr. Bax…but in a nutshell, he’s one of the really good guys…).
Point is, these two substances, curcumin and Velcade, work well together. And kill more myeloma cells than when used alone. By the way, this merely confirms what we knew from previous studies…
Of course, as my blog reader Pan would point out, this is only an in vitro study. Still, if I’d waited for the curcumin-myeloma trial at MD Anderson to release its data before starting the curcumin protocol (that is, if I hadn’t tested curcumin on myself), where would I be today? I don’t want to answer that question…or even think about it!
The second study (http://goo.gl/0uegS) discusses curcumin’s effect on bone loss, which, as we saw just recently (see my July 7th post), is a colossal problem in myeloma. This was a study done on mice, = a step up from in vitro, that is.
Excerpt: The bone mineral density of the femurs of curcumin-administered mice was significantly higher than that of vehicle-treated mice after ovariectomy (OVX) and this was accompanied by reduced amounts of serum collagen-type I fragments, which are markers of bone resorption. So, in a nutshell, curcumin increased the mice’s bone density. Super! You can read the abstract for more technical details…Again, previous studies have already informed us that curcumin can probably help prevent bone destruction…
Now, I don’t mean to whine again, but whenever I read abstracts like these I get sorely irritated…
To think that we might have THE PERFECT extract, indeed SEVERAL extracts (!), at our fingertips…hence, possibly a CURE…but that almost nothing is being done about it. Only a few brave researchers, such as Prof. Aggarwal, care enough to keep plugging ahead and publishing their research. There are a few encouraging signs: if you have a look at PubMed, as I did just a couple of days ago, curcumin research has increased quite a lot since 2001, a year that saw the publication of only 41 curcumin-cancer studies. For comparison purposes, in 2010 there were 239 curcumin-cancer studies. But this increase is merely a drop in the bucket…Just a drop in the bucket…
Our big pharma-connected/financed myeloma foundations (=hate to admit it, but it’s painfully and glaringly obvious, so why should we stubbornly stick our heads in the sand…) keep repeating that a cure is on the horizon, blablabla…–you can imagine what I think of that statement…!!!–yet they invest NOTHING in what I consider to be THE MOST PROMISING research to date. Most (all?) of the myeloma funds are directed towards toxic conventional drug research, which, upon close examination, consists mostly of combinations of relatively “old” drugs or their derivatives that may work for a while on some patients…but in the long run…
It’s frustrating. Verrrrrry frustrating.
But all I can do, at least for now, is let off a little steam now and again here on my blog…
Part of the reason for the lack of curcumin-based “big” treatments is that it’s not profitable. Anyone can get it and no company can “own” it. I believe I read somewhere (maybe here?) that one or another company are trying to create a synthetic version of curcumin, ostensibly to make it “more effective” but really just so they can patent and own it. It’s sickening and outrageous, but that’s big business. What’s more outrageous, to the point where we should be revolting and maybe even taking up “arms against our oppressors,” is that government-sponsored agencies are in bed with all this. Citizens’ taxes are being used to subsidize these greedy companies and stifle honest research simply because it is not profitable.
Meanwhile we have some visionary intellectuals out there and a growing number of patients-turned self-researchers like you Margaret, who will do the job that our governments and drug makers have failed to do. Thank you for your work and your blog!
I completely agree with Rob: THANK YOU MARGARET!
The problem is not that no drugs company is funding the research, it’s that governments aren’t. Drug companies are good at lots of things, but they exist to make money (and they’ll do that by targetting profitable areas, obviously). However, governments have plenty of funds to play with (it’s our money, which they are more than happy to take in taxes). Why aren’t clinical trials being carried out at tax payer expense? That’s where we need to apply the pressure!
My MGUS curcumin story: starting taking 3-4g day after my FLC continued to rise toping out at 250. Six mths after I started my FLC fell to 160 and plateaued there. Surprisingly my oncologist doesn’t think the curcumin had any impact at all and he doesn’t know why my FLC would suddenly drop. Of course it hasn’t cured my MGUS but I feel much better.
For an idea of what happens when big pharma decides to take a natural substance and make it into something that they can patent and sell, melatonin might be an example. After hundreds of studies showing the potential multiple health benefits of melatonin, a dirt cheap naturally occuring substance in the human body, big pharma decided to make their own “different versions” called Ramelteon and Agomelatine. To be fair, they do not have exactly the same mechanism of action as melatonin, but does that equate to better? The studies I have read so far do not seem to prove that conclusively.
Here is the price list for Agomelatine:
Here is a price list for Ramelteon:
By comparison a bottle of 60 capsules of 10 mg melatonin can be had for less than $6.
I agree with Rob and I like Pan’s idea over waiting for big pharma to make curcumin happen in a big way.