In the face of a terminal illness, many patients seek alternative treatments, and this is as true for malignant mesothelioma as for any other type of intractable cancer. Some of the solutions being offered are little better than snake oil – witness the fruitless search for a miracle that actor Steve McQueen pursued when he traveled to Mexico after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease. But a Turkish study is offering hope that a manmade version of a traditional Chinese Herb may offer real hope as a supplement to traditional cancer treatments.
Halofuginone May Cause Early Mesothelioma Cell Death
The Turkish researchers set out to determine whether halofuginone, a synthetic version of an alkaloid found in a Chinese herb obtained from a plant in the Hydrangea family, has an anti-cancer effect on malignant mesothelioma cells. Writing in the journal Cell Biology, they conclude that when applied to both mesothelioma cells and lung cancer cells it successfully interrupted the cell cycle.
According to lead author Asuman Demiroglu-Zergeroglu, “HF exerts its anti-cancer effects in lung-derived cancers by targeting signal transduction pathways…to reduce cancer cell viability, induce cell cycle arrest, and apoptotic cell death.” This means that the drug leads to faster cell death. Halofuginone is currently used in veterinary medicine and is being explored for use in the treatment of autoimmune disorders. It has received orphan drug designation from the U.S Food and Drug Administration for its treatment of scleroderma.
Alternative Treatments as Complementary Care
The role of Chinese herbs (and manmade versions of them) in treating mesothelioma and other cancers is intriguing and worthy of exploration, but alternative treatments should only be pursued after consultation with your cancer specialist. Some of these treatments can interfere with the effectiveness of the protocols that are currently viewed as being most effective.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and need information about available treatments, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.