Saturday, April 9, 2011

4 Artemisinin and cancer

Yeah, I know, I usually don't post on the weekend... well, here I am - but only for a few minutes.

I keep tripping over that Friday Four article I posted on using artemisinin to treat leukemia cells.

I wanted to see more of the research that's out there, and I found this:

Synthesis and anti-cancer activity of covalent conjugates of artemisinin and a transferrin-receptor targeting peptide. Steve Oha, Byung Ju Kim, Narendra P. Singh, Henry Lai, Tomikazu Sasaki. Cancer Letters. Volume 274, Issue 1, Pages 33-39 (8 February 2009)
Source link:

Effects of artemisinin-tagged holotransferrin on cancer cells
Henry Lai, Tomikazu Sasakib, Narendra P. Singha and Archna Messay
Department of Bioengineering, Box 357962, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7962, USA Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Received 2 August 2004. Accepted 25 August 2004. Available online 23 November 2004.
Link to above abstract

Apparently Henry Lai did previous research on the use of artemisinin on cancer, in which the earlier abstract states:
"Artemisinin reacts with iron to form free radicals that kill cells. Since cancer cells uptake relatively large amount of iron than normal cells, they are more susceptible to the toxic effect of artemisinin. In previous research, we have shown that artemisinin is more toxic to cancer cells than to normal cells. In the present research, we covalently attached artemisinin to the iron-carrying plasma glycoprotein transferrin. Transferrin is transported into cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis and cancer cells express significantly more transferrin receptors on their cell surface and endocytose more transferrin than normal cells. Thus, we hypothesize that by tagging artemisinin to transferrin, both iron and artemisinin would be transported into cancer cells in one package."
More recent research that was not done by Lai includes this study on using artemisinin to treat prostate cancer:

Effect of artemisinin derivatives on apoptosis and cell cycle in prostate cancer cells.
Morrissey, Colma; Gallis, Byronb; Solazzi, Jeffrey W.a; Kim, Byung Juc; Gulati, Romane; Vakar-Lopez, Fundad; Goodlett, David R.b; Vessella, Robert; Sasaki, Tomikazu. Anti-Cancer Drugs: April 2010 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - pp 423-432
Source Link:

An excerpt from the above abstract states:
"Artemisinin is a plant-derived anti-malarial drug that has relatively low toxicity in humans and is activated by heme and/or intracellular iron leading to intracellular free radical formation. Interestingly, artemisinin has displayed anti-cancer activity, with artemisinin dimers being more potent than monomeric artemisinin. Intracellular iron uptake is regulated by the transferrin receptor (TfR), and the activity of artemisinin depends on the availability of iron."

I also found an entire chapter of a book devoted to the study of artemisinin and how it affects pathogens and cancer:

Chapter 18: The Anti-Infective and Anti-Cancer Properties of Artemisinin and its Derivatives. Christopher Paul Hencken, Alvin Solomon Kalinda and John Gaetano D’Angelo. Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry. Volume 44, 2009, Pages 359-37
Link (doi): doi:10.1016/S0065-7743(09)04418-2

These are only a few examples of research being done out there on artemisinin for cancer... Seems there is an increasing interest in it. I still want to do a little more digging to see where that claim about artemisinin came from Henry Lai: "It's 100 times more specific than traditional chemotherapy. In breast cancer, it's even better."

Specificity in cancer treatment would improve treatment so much and improve the odds of surviving it with fewer side effects. So I'd really like to know more about this.

Artemisinin. It's not just for Malaria and Babesia any more.


  1. I am on the Marshall Protocol for Lyme. So far so good. It has reduced my inflammatory response and symptoms by 60% so far. Without antibiotics.
    My question is having not used antibiotics have I made less cysts and reduced the incessant hiding of the spirochetes? Eventually the MP uses pulsed low dose antibiotics when the immune system has chilled out. I have yet to see your opinion of the MP. I would love to know what brilliant researcher thoughts you have. The 'Vitamin' D theory.
    I just discovered Camp Other and I have to say it is superior to any other Lyme Blog. So well done. Thank you!

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    I am glad you are having a reduction in symptoms so far - that's good news, I always like to hear about people feeling better.

    To answer your question about whether or not the protocol is having any effect on spirochetes would require research.

    Spirochetes disseminate to various tissues and tend to live there rather than remain in the bloodstream for long. This is what happens in early dissemination of the infection without antibiotic treatment.

    So, in theory, your not having used antibiotics to treat Lyme disease would mean whatever spirochetes were not knocked off by the immune system would most likely be in tissues, in one form or another (if form is relevant - there is some debate about the relevance of "cysts" in Lyme disease).

    Would low doses of antibiotics help? They could have an inhibitory effect on existing spirochetes and an anti-inflammatory effect.

    It's not clear to me what effect a low dose of antibiotics has on Bb over time. Two of my concerns about antibiotics in general has been the risk of resistance and the change in the gut flora of anyone taking antibiotics. How that change affects our immune systems overall is unknown, and each person will be affected differently.

    In terms of the Marshall protocol and theories about Vitamin D usage, it's on my list of topics to write about in the future because I know there has been interest in it. Anecdotal experience with a protocol is something I will write about in passing - but in order to adhere to the scientific focus of this blog, I will have to look deeply into the subject and report what I've found.

    Thank you for your compliments. I hope to be able to be well enough to continue writing here.

  3. Thanks for your comments Miss Other. You are helping make some sense of Lyme related science for us all! I have been reading about XMRV particularly on X RX and the findings of Jamie Deckoff-Jones MD. MLRVs causing human disease, the use of retrovirals and the connection to Lyme-CFS...
    Such interesting and scary stuff. Hope to see more on your site soon.
    Hope you are feeling well always!

  4. Anonymous,

    Miss Other? I've never stated my gender here either way. Oh well, keep guessing.

    I guess as Camp Other is more of a what than a who, I don't really care what people call me, as long as they don't call me late for dinner.

    Anyway, I'm glad I'm helping make sense of Lyme related science. Is there anything in particular that you learned on this blog that you'd like to point out? Is there any topic you think would be of great value to see covered? Please let CO know.

    Thank you for your well wishes. I have more of my brain back to write this blog, and hope that my body (and fatigue) will improve as well. Best wishes for your own good health, too.


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