As mentioned in this blog on several times, we are always on the lookout for interesting scientific studies related to the treatment of pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas) with alternative or complementary treatment approaches.
The July 2013 issue of the journal Oncology Reports features research by Chen and colleagues from the University of Kansas Medical Center looking at the effect of the naturally occurring extract of the Pao Pereira tree from the Amazon forests on pancreatic cancer cell lines and in mice. This is a follow-up to earlier work out of Columbia University in New York City suggesting that a couple of plant extracts containing beta-carbolines (including Pao Pereira) appeared to inhibit cancer cell lines.
The current study is somewhat elaborate. The Pao showed inhibition of all five of the pancreatic cancer cell lines that were studied. Also, the combination of Pao Pereira plus gemcitabine showed synergy in the inhibition of these cancer cell lines. Finally, Pao and gemcitabine alone and in combination were presented to live mice with pancreatic cancer tumors (PACN-1) which were then serially scanned. The Pao Pereira showed significant action in inhibiting tumor growth. And the combination of Pao Pereira coupled with gemcitabine showed even more apparent activity (inhibition).
This is the kind of serious science that we love to see with alternative therapies. It appears at this early stage that Pao Pereira is worthy of further study – possibly eventually making its way to clinical trials. There are many stages to this of course, but this research is a refreshing clean look at an interesting potentially effective new treatment agent for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Time (and future research) will tell …
Dale O’Brien, MD