An ingredient in traditional Korean medicine has been found to inhibit lung cancer metastasis, and future research may reveal that the same is true for malignant mesothelioma and other cancers. The discovery is yet another example of how traditional Korean and Chinese medicines may have functional use in the treatment of disease and in improved health.
Processing Method Makes a Difference in Ginseng’s Medicinal Value
Though the researchers from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) focused their studies on lung cancer metastasis rather than on malignant mesothelioma, their findings were still notable for those suffering with the rare asbestos-related disease. They found that two components of red ginseng, Rk1 and Rg5, can play an important role in stopping cancer’s spread, but that the beneficial impact of the herb depended upon how it had been processed.
According to Dr. Jungyeob Ham from the Natural Product Research Center at the KIST Gangneung Institute of Natural Products and Dr. Hyeonseok Ko of Seoul Asan Medical Center, the ability of red ginseng to slow metastasis is dependent upon the concentration of these active components, and that concentration is significantly impacted by how it is processed. While traditional methods involve repetitive steaming and drying of the plant material, use of a microwave processing method called kMxG has previously been proven to make red ginseng effective against prostate, cervical and skin cancers as well as drug-induced kidney damage.
Metastasis of Mesothelioma and Other Cancers Caused by Similar Properties
Whether a cancer’s cells are identified as lung cancer or mesothelioma, one of its primary dangers is the ability to metastasize to other parts of the body. This invasive spread is triggered by a cytokine protein called TGF-β1, which causes the cells to develop properties similar to those of stem cells. Lung cancer cells treated with the specially processed components of red ginseng displayed a resistance to this process.
Speaking of their findings, Dr. Ham said, “Although components of red ginseng have previously been shown to kill cancer cells, this study proved that these components of red ginseng have other anti-cancer effects and can inhibit lung cancer metastasis. This provides scientific evidence that may lead to the future development of anti-cancer drugs derived from natural products. Because we can control the active ingredient contents of red ginseng by using microwave processing methods like the one that produced KMxG, it may be possible to develop customized functional materials for various diseases.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is heartening to hear of the diverse research being done to stop the disease. For information on other technical developments, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.