In mesothelioma therapy, doctors are often finding that the chemotherapy drugs they use can only get them so far in the treatment process. Then the treatment fails. However, scientists from other countries where natural healing strategies are used more often than in the U.S. are taking their knowledge of promising substances that are natural and combining it with the usual drug approach. They are then testing the effectiveness of the combination – and sometimes coming up with a winner! In this case, we will talk about Resveratrol!
To understand what scientists are up to in this next report, take a look at a little introduction to the p53 pathway and the natural substance called resveratrol first, which will set the stage for your understanding about what Korean scientists are up to in their labs.
p53 Pathway and Its Relationship to Cancer
The p53 gene in humans plays a role in regulation or progression through the cell cycle, cell death (called apoptosis), and stability of the genome. It’s capable of activating DNA repair proteins and causing programmed cell death, such as for cancer cells.
One of the functions of this pathway is that it can suspend a cell during its cycle long enough so that DNA repair proteins can come in and repair the cell. Once the repair is finished, the cell cycle will continue.
You can understand how this pathway may have great importance in something like malignant mesothelioma.
What is the Natural Substance Called Resveratrol?
Phytochemicals are chemicals found naturally in plants. There are literally hundreds of phytochemicals in the foods we eat daily, and they fall into different categories based on their structure and their function in the body.
Resveratrol is a phytoalexin first isolated from plants in the 1940s. A phytoalexin is a substance produced by plant tissues in response to contact with a parasite. Resveratrol is also in the category of stilbenes, which are known for their ability to provide resistance against microbial and fungal infection.
Resveratrol’s documented effects include the following:
• mimics effects of caloric restriction, activating SIRT1 proteins that affect stress resistance, cell survival, cellular aging, and circadian rhythms
• affects the initiation and progression of many diseases
• blood sugar-lowering
Resveratrol is Potent in Its Effects Against Cancer
Regarding cancer, resveratrol affects all three stages of carcinogenesis: initiation, promotion and progression. It targets multiple pathways in cancer; both in vitro and in vivo studies show it’s a promising anticancer agent. Resveratrol also induces the death of cancer cells through several mechanisms.
Here are some of the ways resveratrol causes apoptosis:
- Affects the nuclear factor xB (NF-xB) signaling pathway. This pathway regulates inflammation, immune response to infection and how cells respond to stimuli.
- Significantly inhibits the IGF-1R/Akt/Wnt pathways and activates p53, thus influencing cell development and the creation of tumors.
- Inhibits the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway to regulate cell differentiation, growth, proliferation and several other activities.
Korean Scientists Combined Natural Ingredient with Chemo Drug
Korean scientists previously discovered in their laboratory that when resveratrol and clofarabine were used together against malignant mesothelioma cells, the positive benefits were greater than when each substance was used by itself. Clofarabine is a chemotherapy drug that is generally used for a type of leukemia called acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is resistant against most drugs.
The scientists then delved in deeper to find out how resveratrol in combination with the clofarabine was causing the mesothelioma cells to die.
They found that the combination of the natural substance and the chemo drug was affecting the p53 gene. The mesothelioma cells were stopped at their G1 phase while DNA repair mechanisms could be elicited and the signal for the cancer cells to die could be given.
Now that the scientists know what is happening on a molecular basis, they can provide a scientific rationale for using resveratrol as a promising adjunct to therapy in malignant mesothelioma.
Future human studies will of course need to be done to verify these new ways of thinking, but the future is bright. If you or a loved one has mesothelioma and requires legal assistance, click here.
Lee, Y.J., et al. Resveratrol contributes to chemosensitivity of malignant mesothelioma cells with activation of p53. Food Chem Toxicol 2014 Jan;63:153-60.
Salehi, B., et al. Resveratrol: A double-edged sword in health benefits. Biomedicines 2018, 6, 91; doi:10.3390/biomedicines6030091.
Berman, Adi Y., et al. The therapeutic potential of resveratrol: a review of clinical trials. npj Precision Oncology, Sept 2017, 1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41698-017-0038-6