Williams Cancer Institute

NATURAL SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS TO IMPROVE THE IMMUNE RESPONSE TO CANCER

Many cancer patients take large amounts of supplements to help treat their cancer. Patients really have a wide variety of supplements to help them treat this disease.

While researching about alternative and natural cancer treatments, it is common to find people claiming that marijuana cures cancer, however, this has not yet been proven.

There are receptors in the immune system for compounds found in cannabis called cannabinoids which help improve symptoms of cancer, but that does not mean that they help improve cancer.

Additionally, cannabis is a complex mixture containing numerous compounds. It is possible that specific isolates may provide benefits, we still have a lot to learn regarding cannabis products and cancer treatment.

It seems clear that cannabis products can help with certain symptoms related to cancer, but they are more used for palliative purposes than for effective cancer treatment.

SILIBININ

Silibinin, derived from milk thistle, is used as a liver protectant and is commercialized as Legasil. Silibinin is a STAT3 inhibitor, which inhibits the immune response by increasing CSDMs and Tregs. STAT3 also promotes the secretion of FCT-B which, as we have seen, is a powerful suppressor of the immune response against cancer.

6-Gingerol

6-Gingerol is a bioactive ingredient found in raw ginger that inhibits arginase and helps convert M2 (tumor-protecting) macrophages into an M1 (tumor-attacking) phenotype. This is an important area of ​​immune resistance and immune checkpoint failure.

BERBERINE

Berberine is an extract derived from a plant that has been shown to lower blood sugar, studies suggest that berberine may inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis. Nevertheless, there are other studies that suggest that berberine may have immunosuppressive effects, which raises concerns in cancer treatment, but other studies have contradicted this finding, so the role of berberine as a potential anticancer agent is not clear.

SELENIUM

Selenium supplementation might help patients who fail PD-1 inhibitors to get them to respond again. There is a lot of information describing the anticancer and cancer prevention properties of selenium, selenium supplement presentations are selenomethionine (SeMet) and, occasionally, selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine.

CURCUMIN

Curcumin is a plant-based compound that is the main active ingredient in the spice known as turmeric. It has often been used as a supplement in cancer treatments. Bhattacharyya, et al. published in J BiolChem in June 2007 their findings that curcumin may protect T-cell-mediated tumor destruction. In addition to the direct effect on tumor growth, curcumin appears to increase the tumor suppressor gene p53 and may enhance the immune response against cancer by reducing TFC-B.

References:

Williams, J. (2019, 15th October) The Immunotherapy Revolution. Pg 128-132

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