The Salvestrol molecules themselves are not new discoveries, since their chemical structures and the plants in which they occur have been known about for many years. But never before have these chemicals been grouped together on the basis of this particular set of recently discovered anticancer actions. The key feature of Salvestrols is that they are activated only inside the cancer cells, which they arrest or kill. The anticancer effects are due, not to the plant chemicals themselves, but to what they turn into within the cancer cells triggered by the presence of a specific enzyme.
Salvestrols Are Nature’s Defence Against Attack
Since plants cannot run away from predators and pathogens, how do they defend themselves? The answer is by chemical warfare. Plants produce chemicals that act as attractants and repellents. The repellents are synthesised in response to microbial attack and fight off microbial pathogens such as fungi (mould) or bacteria. When ripe fruits and vegetables are attacked by fungus, which happens all the time, they develop Salvestrols as a natural defence. When we eat the plants, the Salvestrols in the food are triggered by a particular enzyme in pre-cancerous or cancerous cells to produce piceatannol, which then then attacks these cells. So, instead of using a synthetic drug to fight cancer, it may be possible to plug into one of nature’s existing natural defence mechanisms.
Potter believes that Salvestrols have evolved as “a rescue mechanism” that causes a cascade of events that can kill cancerous cells before they have a chance to develop into tumours, possibly explaining the protective effects of a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Having discovered this, his team searched for plants that had the highest level of Salvestrols. Their definition of salvestrol is not an actual compound, like vitamin C, but an actual effect. So, any plant that could activate the production of the anti-cancer agent piceatannol only within cancer cells, but not normal cells, is deemed to have a salvestrol effect.
As I’ll illustrate shortly, Potter’s team identified the potency of each plant in Salvestrol ‘points’. Professor Potter then started testing to see if the compound would fight an active cancer if taken in a concentrated form as a supplement. Results were impressive. Professor Burke describes Salvestrols as “the most significant breakthrough in nutrition since the discovery of vitamins”. Dr John Briffa, writing in the Observer, voted salvestrols as the ‘No. I Big Idea in Health’. And This Morning’s Dr Chris Steele has featured Salvestrols and considers the research behind them to be ‘very persuasive’. If they can really do to cancer cells in the body what they can do in the laboratory, this is a really big breakthrough. In case you didn’t know, single cancer cells are continually forming in our bodies to some extent, but most are destroyed before they develop into malignant tumours. Salvestrols in the diet may be a main mechanism by which this ongoing prevention of cancer can occur.
In terms of cancer treatment, most current anticancer chemotherapy is beset by serious side effects. These occur because the majority of anticancer drugs are cell poisons that do not distinguish between cancer cells and many types of healthy cells. Because Salvestrols are activated only within cancer cells, they offer the possibility of anticancer treatment without the awful side effects. But how can they be so selective?
How Salvestrols Only Target Cancer Cells – the CYP1B1 Story
Salvestrols are initially innocuous. They only become active when they come into contact with a particular enzyme within cancer cells. Knowing that Salvestrols convert into the anti-cancer agent piceatannol, Professor Burke’s group started a hunt for the enzyme in cancer cells that did this critical conversion. In the early 1990s, at Aberdeen University Medical School, they discovered it. The enzyme is CYP1B1 (pronounced “sip one bee one”). It is now well established that CYP1B1 is present in the tumour cells of a wide variety of human cancers but is undetectable in the normal cells of the corresponding healthy tissues. This has been described as “one of the most important revelations in cancer research for the past 25 years” and has since been confirmed by at least 12 different studies by a number of eminent laboratories around the world, including The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Gray Cancer Institute in London.
According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “chemotherapeutic agents generally do not differentiate between cancer and normal cells, resulting in considerable toxicity. Since CYP1B1 expression is limited in normal tissue, and highly expressed in human cancers, immunotherapy directed against CYP1B1-expressing cells is far more specific”. CYP1B1 is found inside cancerous cells of tumours within the bladder, brain, breast, colon, kidney, liver, lung, oesophagus, ovary, skin, small intestine, stomach and uterus and is considered to be a tumour marker enzyme since it is virtually exclusive to cancer cells. So, CYP1B1 can be thought of as a Trojan Horse inside cancer cells, which merely has to be provided with Salvestrols in the diet in order to unleash a stream of chemical agents that are deadly to cancer cells. In other words, the presence of CYP1B1 in cancer cells seems to have provided cancer cells with the seeds of their own destruction – if you happen to eat foods high in Salvestrols. What’s interesting to note is that where the CYP1B1 enzyme is artificially inhibited, the Salvestrols will not succeed in destroying the cancer cell.
Although there are now over 3,000 people, mainly cancer patients, using Salvestrols and some extraordinary stories of recovery confirmed by their doctors, the hard evidence to date is specifically on human cancer cells tested in the laboratory in what’s called ‘......
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