Eat your bipterostilbenes!!!

UPDATE. Errata corrige, Saturday November 12: after publishing this post, I re-read the abstract (many thanks to Nicola, grazie!, for pointing out the obvious, which I’d missed at first glance…) and realized I’d made a mistake. Oooops! The compound found mostly in rhubarb is called pterostilbene, from which the researchers synthesized bipterostilbene. Two different molecules. So my post title should have read “eat your pterostilbenes!!!” without the prefix “bi.” I have a few more things to say on this topic…but no time today…perhaps tomorrow. But I did want to apologize quickly for that petit booboo. I’m just in too much of a hurry these days…Need to slow down…But I have also been assigned more English classes now, which is good since we need the money…but of course that means less time for research…oh well. Can’t have everything! 😉 Anyway, here follows the original post I wrote a couple of days ago…

Yesterday a blog reader (thanks, TL!) sent me the link to an abstract that was presented at the December 2011 American Society of Hematology, or ASH, meeting: (click on “I agree blablabla”). This abstract is the purrrrfect segue to yesterday’s post about cancer cell resistance to conventional drugs. Yes, just purrrrfect!

It’s about a compound called bipterostilbene (hey, try to pronounce that, and then repeat it ten times in a row, fast! I dare ya! 😉 ) mostly found in RHUBARB…Remember yesterday’s mystery pie ingredient? Yep, that would be rhubarb. In fact, whenever I read the word rhubarb, the first thing that pops into my mind is “pie,” even though for the life of me I cannot remember EVER having a piece of rhubarb pie…in fact, I can’t remember ever eating rhubarb in any shape or form. But that will have to change from now on, I guess!

Let’s get back to the abstract, which states that bipterostilbene SIGNIFICANTLY inhibited myeloma cell proliferation. More importantly, it EXTERMINATED all the myeloma cells. Note: it also had a similar effect on a lymphoma cell line, but no effect on breast and ovarian cells.

Aha, quelle surprise (NOT!!!), it also didn’t harm any healthy blood cells, even at doses that were lethal to the myeloma cells. A familiar tale, huh? Yeah.

The following is mainly for those who have scientific tendencies: bipterostilbene inhibited the AKT1 and mTOR gene expression…Now, as I recently wrote in my quercetin post (see October 16 2011 post or my Quercetin Page), mTOR is verrrrry bad news for myeloma folks. It helps MM cells become resistant, among other things…so we’re back to the problem of resistance to treatment. Inhibiting mTOR, as we’ve seen recently, is BIG in multiple myeloma research right now. So is inhibiting AKT…just check PubMed. Curcumin, goes without saying!, inhibits both of these nasty thingies…and much more, of course…But there is that little, er, issue of curcumin’s not being patentable… 😉

I love the abstract ending: We propose that bipterostilbene may be better tolerated than other anti- cancer drugs that are currently being used for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.

In the meantime, bring on those rhubarb pies! (By the way, does anyone have any good rhubarb recipes? Please share ’em! Thanks!)


  1. “Pterostilbene is predominantly found in Rhubarb. We synthesized bipterostilbene (C28H22O5) of a molecular weight of 438.48 Kda. In this study, we first examined whether bipterostilbene affects tumor cells proliferation using breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphoma and multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines”.

    Sembra siano due molecole diverse, il bipterostilbene non si trova nel rabarbaro ma è un prodotto di sintesi. Sbaglio?

  2. The Rhubarb Crisp above looks good, bit like my wife’s Rhubarb Brown Betty. But, if you don’t want to overload with carbs there’s nothing wrong with plain stewed rhubarb (with sugar of course)and double cream or custard.

  3. Should we be making and eating savory rather than sweet rhubarb dishes?

    I have been reading that cancer cells simply LOVE and thrive on sugar and other simple carbs (white rice, bread, potato, etc.) that our bodies turn to sugar as though they were candy. Baked potato = a candy bar!!!

  4. It depends what you use for a kind of rhubarb. In studies mostly chinese rhubarb was used and then especially the roots.
    So rhubarb from the garden behind the house may not be sufficient.
    It’s always the same with the natural resources, only a specially prepared extract is effective and that at a higher dose. The dose is often not precisely determined.

  5. I’ve been lurking at your site for a while and really enjoy the dietery research and suggestions. When I saw this topic, figured it was time to finally post a comment. Here’s one of my families favorites..

    Peach Rhubarb Crisp
    3/4 c rolled oats
    2/3 c packed dark brown sugar
    1/2 c all purpose flour
    3/4 t ground cinnamon
    1/4 t salt
    1/2 c chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    1/2 c chopped pecans
    4 c sliced fresh rhubarb (3/4 inch thick) –
    about 1 1/2 pounds
    6 fresh peaches sliced (or 16 oz package,
    thawed & drained)
    1 c granulated sugar
    2 T quick cooking tapioca
    2 t fresh lemon juice
    1 t ground cinnamon
    1/8 t ground nutmeg
    vanilla frozen yogurt (or ice cream)

    1. Topping.
    Combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter to mixture – cut in with pastry blender or knead together with fingers until mixture clumps together. Mix in nuts. Cover and chill.
    2. Filling.
    Mix filling ingredients in a large bowl.
    3. Cooking.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Butter an 8x8x2 inch glass baking dish. Add filling to dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling, covering completely. Bake on center rack until fruit is tender, juice is bubbling around sides, and topping begins to brown – about 40 minutes.
    Remove crisp from oven. Preheat broiler. Replace crisp in oven and broil 6 inches from until topping just begins to crisp and golden – about 2 minutes.
    4. Serving.
    Remove crisp from oven and transfer to rack to cool (about 15-30 minutes based on personal preference for how warm crisp should be). Top with frozen yogurt. Approximately six servings.

  6. Rhubarb is one of the four herbs in Essiac tea. I am considering trying that now as I know someone who keeps their total remission from MM by using Essiac tea. Has anyone else used Essiac tea with success? It would seem to me that would be a more concentrated way of getting it into our system. And I agree, pie with lots of sweetener is not a good idea.

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