Grapefruit juice helps lower dosage of a potential cancer drug

Grapefruit known to show treacherous reactions with several drug prescriptions appeared to improve the use of the cancer drug.

Researchers found that a single glass of the citrus fruit juice together with the powerful drug called sirolimus enhanced the body’s cancer fighting response.

The potent combination perked up the human body’s reaction to sirolimus leading to a reduction in the medicine dosage by almost one third.

The grapefruit study
The researchers conducted a small study on 150 people suffering from terminal cancer. The patients were split into three groups.

The first was administered sirolimus, the second given eight ounces of grapefruit juice with sirolimus, and the third received ketoconazole with sirolimus.

The analysis revealed that some patients responded well to grape fruit juice and their general condition stabilized. The tumors did not regress but the dosage of the cancer treatment drugs was significantly reduced.

Grapefruit juice restrains certain enzymes from entering in the intestinal walls. These enzymes can dramatically reduce the speed of many medicines from entering the bloodstreams .When the enzymes are stopped entry the drugs get a chance to travel quickly leading to a rise in the toxic amount of the medication in the blood.

Sirolimus or rapamune
Sirolimus has an important place on the prescription list of the medical fraternity as an immunosuppressant and antifungal medication.

It is used commonly after the kidney transplants to take care of organ rejection. Previous studies indicate the drug possesses the ability to keep tumors at bay and its derivatives have been used for breast and kidney malignancy.

Sirolimus has its own limitations as only 14 percent of the drug can be effectively absorbed by the body.

Lead researcher, cancer specialist Dr. Ezra Cohen, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center stated, “We thought if we could manipulate it we could increase the availability, make it easier to take and make it more effective. This has a wider application beyond sirolimus. This is a proof of principle that grapefruit juice could be used in this way.”

He added, “Cancer drugs that are being introduced will cost anywhere from $ 3,000 to $ 10,000 per month. Here’s a mechanism that might allow us to significantly reduce the cost.”

Cohen said this same tactic will work with other cancer drugs .If the study research holds true then grape fruit may help reduce the costs of the medications resulting in minimum side effects.

However, there is need for further research to substantiate the findings of the study.

The study is reported in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

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