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  • Slash-Burn-Poison Era Of Cancer Treatment May Be Over. Resveratrol Poised To Enhance Natural Killer Cells To Directly Destroy Tumor Cells

    May 9, 2016: by Bill Sardi

    Researchers now turn toward resveratrol to activate a direct cancer cell-killing effect via activation of natural killer cells in a new era of immune-cell cancer therapy.

    Natural killer cells are a class of white blood cells that comprise a small fraction of all the white blood cells in the blood circulation but can have profound anti-tumor effect.

    Natural killer cells can target cancer cells without prior “priming” as other white blood cells are required to do.  Natural killer cells can recognize and eliminate tumor and virus-infected cells, some parasites and certain types of bacteria by release of toxic substances such as interferon.  [International Journal Molecular Sciences 2016]

    The “slash, burn and poison” era of cancer therapy may be on the way out.  A recently published report entitled “Cancer Immunotherapy: The Beginning Of The End Of Cancer,” says: “the tide has finally changed and immunotherapy has become a clinically validates treatment for many cancers.  [BMC Medicine 2016]  The futility of chemotherapy is revealed by the fact these toxic drugs impair NK cell killing, limiting the cancer patient’s chances for a cure.  [Molecular Cancer Therapy 2007]

    Large pharmaceutical companies are searching for developmental drug companies involved in something called adoptive immunotherapy where white blood cells (T-cells) are collected from cancer patients and increased in numbers in a lab dish, then activated and infused back into the patient.  [National Cancer Institute]  Harvesting natural killer cells for cancer treatment is a main thrust of this immunotherapy revolution. [Clinical Immunology 2016]

    Natural killers cells dock up next to a tumor cells or other invasive pathogen and release a toxin that breaks through the cell wall of the offending cell that leads to its immediate death.  A video showing how natural kills cells spontaneously kill a cancer cell can be viewed online.  [YouTube]

    As background information, the inability of natural killer cells to strike back at nascent (early developing) cancer cells has been linked to increased cancer risk in humans. [Lancet 2000]

    Natural killer cells, first discovered in 1975, were attractive for research because of their ability to kill cancer cells without the prior requirement of the antigen/antibody response observed in other white blood cells (lymphocytes).

    Initial use of autologous (from the same patient) NK-cell therapy to treat cancer was pioneered in 1980. [Critical Reviews Oncogenesis 2014]  Disappointingly, early attempts to reduce or destroy already established tumors with NK cell therapy failed.  In non-solid cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, there has been success.  [Critical Reviews Oncogenesis 2014]

    Natural killer cells are considered “ideal” cellular therapy for cancer patients. [Current Opinion Organ Transplantation 2015]

    Simply said, natural killer cells constitute our bodies’ frontline defense system, guarding against tumors and launching attacks against infections. [Hematological Oncological Stem Cell Therapy 2015]

    NK cells recognize cells that pose a biological threat in the absence of chemical triggers others white blood cells need to mount an immune response.  [Alcohol Research Current Reviews]

    Whereas T-cells need to be primed in the thymus gland so they can develop antibodies (memory) against invading pathogens and tumor cells, natural killer cells work directly to track down and kill cancer cells without thymus gland involvement. [Clinical Cancer Research 2014]  The thymus gland atrophies (shrinks) with advancing age, leaving humans vulnerable to threats like cancer.

    Surprisingly, NK cells have also been shown to exhibit “memory” against pathogens and tumor cells in a manner similar to T-cells. [Immunity 2015]

    The infusion of natural killer cells is considered safe and feasible with almost no toxicity.  Complete remissions and increased disease-free survival has been demonstrated in blood and lymph (non-solid) cancers (leukemia, lymphoma), but with only a limited effect in solid tumors.  [Frontiers in Immunology 2015]

    Natural killer cells emanate from originator cells (stem cells) the bone marrow.  NK cells are activated by small proteins called cytokines (sigh-toe-keens) that facilitate the movement of white blood cells toward sites of inflammation and infection. [Trends Immunology 2013]

    Natural killer cells only comprise about 5% to 15% of the human white blood cell population.  [Critical Reviews Oncogenesis 2014]

    Natural killer cells, by virtue of their ability to spontaneously kill tumor cells are considered a first line of defense against cancer.

    Says a scientific report: “NK cells are promising in cancer therapy, considering their speed of action, potency in cancer cell killing, applicability to many types of cancer, lack of adverse effects, ease of preparation and administration, availability, permissibility of donor selection, affordability and complimentary actions with other therapies.  The unique properties of NK cells open a new era of novel cell-based immunotherapy against cancers that are resistant to contemporary therapies.” [Clinical Cancer Research 2014]

    NK cells bridge and help regulate both the immediate (innate) and delayed (adaptive) immune response.  [Immunology 2014]

    Enter resveratrol

    It may be resveratrol’s day in the cancer laboratory searching for ways to boost NK activity.  [Nutrition Journal 2016]

    Cancer patients frequently have functionally impaired natural killer cells and therefore, a compromised antitumor response.  Application of technologies that enhance NK cell activity is a current research goal.  Several studies demonstrate the direct influence resveratrol has over NK cells and their cancer cell killing ability.

    Cancer progresses with the activation of blood platelets (clotting factors).  Platelets are in a “dangerous alliance” with cancer cells to facilitate the spread (metastasis) of cancer.  Blood platelets adhere to cancer cells to form a protective cloak that helps cancer cells to escape immune surveillance and natural-killer cell attack.  Platelet-targeted anti-cancer strategies may bring novel anti-cancer treatments.  [International Journal Cancer 2016]

    The fact blood platelets protect cancer cells from natural killer cells is not an insurmountable problem.  Resveratrol has been demonstrated to completely inhibit platelet clumping while increasing natural killer cell toxicity directed toward cancer cells.  [Indian Journal Biochemistry Biophysics 2013]

    Resveratrol activates NK cells at low dose and suppresses NK activity in mega-doses. [Life Science 2001; Journal Agriculture Food Chemistry 2014]  This has been a fact this author has made again and again.  Mega-dose resveratrol may be problematic.

    Other natural molecules may assist in activating NK cells.  [Molecular Carcinogenesis 2015]

    In advanced age, it is important to maintain adequate nourishment, particularly zinc, selenium and vitamin E, in order to maintain NK cell activity.  [American Journal Clinical Nutrition 2000]  Zinc deficiency compromises the number and function of NK cells. [Biofactors 2014]

    Normal NK cell response is also maintained by vitamin A. [Journal Nutrition 1999]  Mega-dose vitamin A (100,000 IU/day) has been shown to enhance natural killer cell activity in patients suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia. [Acta Medica Hungary 1988]

    The consumption of 50 milligrams of beta carotene every other day in men aged 65-88 years exhibited enhanced NK cell activity. [American Journal Clinical Nutrition 1998]  Beta carotene appears to activate NK cells even among animals without a functioning thymus gland.  [Anticancer Research 1997]

    Vitamin D plays a central role in natural killer cell functions. [Cell Immunology 1989; In Vivo 2014; European Journal Immunology 2015]

    Mushroom polysaccharides activate NK cells. [Food & Function 2012]

    Allicin from garlic activates natural killer cells. [Journal Nutrition 2016; Molecular Biology Reports 2013]

    Panax (red Korean) Ginseng has been demonstrated to activate NK cell activity in animals via its ability to increase interferon. [Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine 2015]

    Of interest, vegetarians exhibit a 2-fold greater ability of NK cells to lyse (split) tumor cells compared to omnivores. [Nutrition Cancer 1989]

    Fucoidan, a natural component of seaweeds, boosts NK cell activity. [Journal Cell Physiology 2016]

    The addition of vitamin C to a lab dish filled with NK cells results in faster maturation of NK cells and higher cells counts.  [Cytotherapy 2015]  Cancer is known to deplete vitamin C.  The maintenance of normal vitamin C levels in lab animals with implanted tumors facilitated NK tumor cell die off. [Immunobiology 2012]  High-dose oral vitamin C (4200 milligrams) has been shown to raise natural killer cell activity up to ten-fold in 78% of patients whose NK cell activity had been stunted by exposure to toxic chemicals.  [Immunopharmacology Immunotoxicology 1997]

    ©2016 Bill Sardi,

    Natural Killer Cell Effect A Direct Kill Of Tumor Cells Without The Development of Antibodies

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