Hitting walls…and a new cancer-killing pepper plant extract…

Well, it’s been about a week since I last published a post. I’ve been busy, yes..but mostly I just haven’t felt like doing any research or even posting any silly stuff. Last week a wall drove into my sister’s car (well, I guess it was the other way around)…luckily, she wasn’t badly hurt, but the airbag deployed and broke a couple of her ribs and her sternum, so she spent a few days in the hospital and was in a lot of pain…still is…Sometimes it’s really hard to be so far away from my family (my sister and niece live in Arizona)…Well, the important thing is that she’s doing better…but her recovery will be slow…

That’s the main reason why I’m a bit distracted these days…

But, let’s see, I had a very nice birthday last week (this was before my sister’s accident), and a full-of-fun after-birthday party, too, with a group of best friends who clapped and cheered until my face turned the color of a very ripe beet. Very embarrassing…But lovely, too. 🙂

Okay, let’s hop on to my next topic, which concerns a new (?) natural extract that selectively kills cancer cells while completely ignoring normal cells. Familiar story, eh? 😉 This one is called piperlongumine (hey, try repeating “piperlongumine” ten times, fast! Hehe.), and it’s a constituent of the fruit of a hot pepper plant found in southern India and southeast Asia.

I learned of this compound from a Science Daily article, which provides a few more details, if you’d like to have a look at it: http://goo.gl/w10fR (the abstract: http://goo.gl/qOyab). In a nutshell, though, a group of Harvard, MIT and Mass General researchers discovered that piperlongumine blocked tumor growth and metastasis but showed no toxicity in normal mice. In contrast, the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (Taxol) was less effective, even at high levels. Oh, another thing: the pepper extract also wiped out normal cells that possessed a cancer genotype, meaning that they would have turned into cancer cells at some point…Interesting… 

Not surprisingly (!), the fruit of this pepper plant has been used forever in traditional medicine, Ayurveda e.g., to treat a variety of ailments, from diarrhea to bronchitis and even viral hepatitis and, tada!, tumors…Check out this PubMed article (incidentally, there are 30 studies in PubMed on piperlongumine): http://goo.gl/iZm8v 

Now, while there are no specific studies on piperlongumine and myeloma (yet!), I would bet almost anything that it would smash MM cells to bits, too…

5 Comments

  1. Tell her 3rd day is the worst. I’ve been through it.

    I’m wondering how much piperlongumine differs from piperine which is currently in certain brands of curcumin.

  2. Interesting post on piperlongumine.Is it from the same family as piperine I wonder. I truly hope there will be something from this for MM sufferers.

    So sorry to read of your Sisters mishap, she will be so very sore for some time but at least she is safe and will be well with good TLC. Best wishes Margaret.

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