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Most Cancer Patients Use
LONDON (Reuters) July 15, 2002 - More than half of all cancer patients are using complementary therapies to cope with the
side effects of hospital-based therapies, according to a report published Sunday.
Market consultant Datamonitor said as many as 60% of cancer patients in certain European countries, and 80% in the
United States, used special diets, vitamin supplements, herbal remedies or acupuncture.
It said European use of complementary and alternative medicines appeared highest in Germany where products such
as mistletoe had become established folk remedies.
Datamonitor estimated the global market for complementary and alternative medicines used by cancer patients could be
as high as $18 billion annually, rivaling the sales of many traditional pharmaceutical approaches.
The report warned that information published on Web sites about herbal remedies was not always accurate and advised
patients to consult a physician before using them.
"Some herbal products or diets can affect how prescription cancer drugs are absorbed, or can increase certain side
effects of mainstream cancer therapies," according to the report.
"Patients taking complementary medicines need to share their use of these products with their oncologist, for the
patients' safety and for the patients' best chance of fighting cancer," it added.
The report forecast that increased scientific studies of alternative medicines could lead to the discovery of new
Complementary medicine and pharmaceutical drug development could move closer to each other, perhaps resulting in novel
therapies, new manufacturing companies and commercially successful partnerships.
Enzyme may Help Curb Disease
Jul. 19, 2002 (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- New research
shows an enzyme that corrects mutations in genes could be a key factor in
reducing a person's susceptibility to diseases such as hemophilia, cancer and
Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales and
the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have found the MBD4 enzyme could protect
people from gene mutations that can lead to diseases.
Different combinations of genes are expressed in
different cells. For example, a different combination of genes is expressed in
heart cells as compared to liver cells. Researchers say mutations in these genes
can lead to serious diseases, such as cancer. They say, although factors such as
cigarette smoke and dietary habits may trigger genetic mutations, a lot of gene
damage is caused simply by the natural chemistry that goes on in the human body.
When a mutation occurs, the genes stop doing their "jobs" effectively.
Researchers say one in three genetic changes or
mutations that causes disease in people can be attributed to methyl-groups.
Methyl-groups work to shut down genes, but in doing so significantly increase
the risk of genetic mutation. Researchers have found the MBD4 enzyme attempts to
repair the damage caused by methyl-groups before they cause harm.
Alan Clarke, a researcher from Cardiff
University, says, "It is very likely the MBD4 is a key defense against
self-inflicted gene damage in humans." In this study of lab animals,
Professor Clarke and fellow researchers found mice lacking the MBD4 enzyme are
up to three times more likely to have genetic mutations. Authors of the study
conclude, "These findings suggest that human MBD4 plays a similarly
important role in reducing inherited disease and cancer."