Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common form of the disease in the United States. Sadly, it is also one of the most deadly forms of cancer to contract; fewer than 5% of patients are still alive 5 years after their diagnosis. Its frequency and poor prognosis make it a very serious challenge to patients and healthcare workers alike.
In the West, where treatment involves chemotherapy or radiation, survival rates, as previously stated, are low. However, in the East, where treatment often involves herbs under systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine, success rates for pancreatic cancer treatment are impressive and this has researchers in the United States and Europe sitting up and paying attention. One herb in particular has caught the eye of researchers: the thunder god vine.
The Thunder God Vine: Native Knowledge, Modern Research
The thunder god vine (Tirpterygium wilforii) is also called lei gong teng and is native to China and other parts of the East, including Japan and Korea. It has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and other indigenous systems of healing for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties as well as its ability to treat various forms of cancer.
Modern research is beginning to discover why it is so effective.
To begin with, scientists at the Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center were able to study the thunder god vine and actually isolate is main active component, called triptolide, and to study its effect on cancer cells. The study, whose results were later published in American Journal of Physiology, found that this compound inhibits a particular protein which helps support and nourish the growth and survival of pancreatic cancer cells. This protein, in part, might also explain why pancreatic cancer, even in comparison to other forms of cancer, is able to grow and spread so quickly.
Why Thunder God Vine is Effective
Researchers believe that the reason why thunder god vine is so effective is that, apparently, its active ingredient is able to inhibit this particular protein by stressing the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), a part of the cell which is needed in order to put protein to use. By stressing the ER, the cancer cell eventually dies and tumor growth and metastasis are prevented. Not only can triptolide help slow tumor growth, however, it can also actively cause cancer cell death and actually reverse the condition.
These results were also confirmed by a separate study out of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, which found that thunder god vine extract was extremely effective at eliminating tumors and/or preventing them from metastasizing.
Now the question that remains is how to take this information and apply it towards creating a natural treatment that can give hope to pancreatic cancer patients and improve the prognosis for this serious form of cancer.
More Entries by Rosalina