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Dr. Nalini Chilkov

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How to Turn on Cancer Fighting Genes

Posted: 08/14/11 08:11 PM ET

Space-filling model of the PTEN protein (blue)...

Image via Wikipedia

Remarkable Plant Medicines Can Turn on "Cancer Suppressor" Gene

Nature gave us a gene that may work to suppress cancer. Obviously we have it for a good reason. Every day damaged cells that could become cancer cells arise in our bodies. So, we need bodily systems in place to control that process -- to work to stop cancer growth. One such system is the PTEN protein that is coded for by this PTEN "Cancer Supressor" gene. The PTEN gene is the software for making the PTEN protein which does all the work of stopping cells from growing out of control.

Wouldn't it be great to know if you have a normal or abnormal PTEN gene? Wouldn't it be great to know if you were missing this gene? This might help you to understand if you have a high or low risk for developing cancer. There are laboratories today that do just that (Caris Life Sciences and Veripath). But what is the use of knowing you can't make the cancer suppressor protein if you cannot do anything about it? That would just be a source of anxiety.

Because nature already knows that we need a gene like PTEN to help suppress and possibly prevent cancer, it only makes sense that nature would also provide natural substances that do turn on that gene. After all, nature is not going to wait for eons of time for a pharmaceutical company to make a synthetic molecule when Nature can make its own molecules that can talk to the PTEN gene. Nature is smart. We do have plant medicines that may work to activate the PTEN gene and the PTEN protein (although this in no way guarantees the prevention of cancer).

Here is a list of plant medicines that contain constituents that may talk to your PTEN gene and turn it on, get it activated or prevent damage and malformation (mutation) of the PTEN gene. Be good to yourself. Protect and turn on your PTEN. Eating these foods and spices may help with this.

  • Quercetin:, a bioflavinoid found in onions, apples, gingko and many other food and medicinal plants
  • Resveratrol: a potent antioxidant, cell protector and modulator of hormones found in dark red and purple grapes and some medicinal plants such as polygonum cuspidatum
  • Genistein and Daedzein:, isoflavones known as plant or phytoestrogens found in soy and red clover
  • Curcumin: found in tumeric, the bright yellow spice that gives Indian curries its golden color
  • Honokiol: found in the bark of a Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Magnolia grandiflora, found in many modern anti-cancer formulas


Recognizing that having a substance that could turn on the PTEN gene, could be valuable in both the prevention and treatment of cancer. Active research is underway to discover how to build a drug that can do just that, turn on your PTEN gene. The drug Rapamycin, when combined with chemotherapy, has shown some promising results.

Deep inside every cell in the human body, at the very center is the nucleus where our genetic material -- our DNA -- resides. Inside the nucleus, each one of us should have two copies of this PTEN gene that is may suppress the growth of cancer cells. This gene makes sure that cells self-destruct when they have finished out their healthy lifecycle. If you have normal healthy copies of of this gene, you will have a lower risk for developing cancer -- although that risk does not go away. If one or both copies of this gene is damaged or malformed or missing, then it cannot do its job and your body will be less able to stop the growth and progression of cancer.

PTEN is an abbreviation of a long chemical name (phosphatase and tensin homolog). This gene codes for the PTEN protein, a specialized enzyme (a phosphatase). When this PTEN enzyme is doing its job properly, it tells cells to stop dividing and it can even cause cells to self-destruct (undergo apoptosis) -- which is a normal process in the life of a healthy cell.

It is one of natures best efforts at recycling and it also makes sure that when a cell is old, it will be eliminated so that no mistakes will be made. Basically, nature is pretty smart. It knows when a cell needs to be recycled. Unfortunately this process is lost in cancer cells which divide on and on and on and never die. When the PTEN gene and PTEN protein are not active, cells can grow uncontrollably, and may end up forming malignant cancerous tumors.

When the PTEN gene is missing or not activated, then lots of other problems occur downstream that may also increase cancer risk. Loss of PTEN may lead to more inflammation (COX 2 and NFkB), greater formation of blood supply for tumor cells (angiogenesis), greater growth and resistance to cell death, and more growth factor activity (EGFR). When the PTEN gene is asleep, the stage is set for multiple factors that can encourage the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Cancer cells are so smart that they can turn off the PTEN gene and then cancer cells become resistant to growth factor suppressing drugs (EGFR 1 and 2).

The following cancers are known to be a result of abnormal dysfunctional PTEN activity: breast, prostate, kidney, uterine (endometrial), colon, glioblastoma (brain), melanoma (skin) and thyroid.

Some leading edge oncologists combine botanicals with conventional chemotherapy treatment in an effort to support normal PTEN function. For those who have survived cancer or who have never had cancer, normal PTEN function is protective and can be optimized by including plant foods and spices know to activate and protect this cancer-suppressor gene in our daily diets. Nature's health aids are never very far away. Just look in your spice rack or the produce section of the grocery store.

If you would like to learn more about how to take steps to a cancer free life download my free 30 page report

3 Dangerous Cancer Myths Revealed: What Your Doctor Isn't Telling You

References:
Honokiol Magnolia grandiflora/officinalis
Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 Sep 4;591(1-3):43-51. Epub 2008 Jun 12.
Liu H, Zang C, Emde A, Planas-Silva MD, Rosche M, Kühnl A, Schulz CO, Elstner E, Possinger K, Eucker J.

Curcumin Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Cancer Res. 2010 May 1;70(9):3606-17. Epub 2010 Apr 13.
Int J Cancer. 2009 Jul 1;125(1):1-8.

Quercetin Onions, apples, and many herbs (Gingko)
Anticancer Res. 2006 Mar-Apr;26(2A):1177-81.
Hum Mol Genet. 2005 Jun 1;14(11):1457-63. Epub 2005 Apr 13.

Resveratrol Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) and grapes
Cell Cycle. 2008 Apr 15;7(8):1020-35. Epub 2008 Feb 15. Review
Hum Mol Genet. 2005 Jun 1;14(11):1457-63. Epub 2005 Apr 13.

Isoflavones (genistein and daidzein) Soy, Red clover
Biomed Environ Sci. 2006 Feb;19(1):35-41
Hum Mol Genet. 2005 Jun 1;14(11):1457-63. Epub 2005 Apr 13.
Carcinogenesis. 2005 Oct;26(10):1793-803. Epub 2005 May 19

Rapamycin Wendel HG, Malina A, Zhao Z, Zender L, Kogan SC, Cordon-Cardo C,
Pelletier J, Lowe SW. Cancer Res. 2006 Aug 1;66(15):7639-46.

 
 
 

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