On his blog, Mercola.com, Dr. Joseph Mercola examines the anti-cancer abilities of curcumin. In a post from 2014, he wrote:
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death. What if there were a safe, natural herb that could work for nearly every type of cancer?
According to Dr. William LaValley, who focuses most of his clinical work on the treatment of cancer, curcumin — a derivative of turmeric and the pigment that gives the curry spice turmeric its yellow-orange color — may fit the bill. It’s a natural compound that has been extensively researched, and has been found to have numerous health applications.
Like me, LaValley was trained in general medicine, but he’s devoted a considerable amount of time to understanding the biochemical pathways that can support health nutritionally. In 1982, he participated in an exchange program to the People’s Republic of China, where he got first-hand experience with the ancient practices of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
“One of the important messages that I learned there was that natural products, natural molecules, from plants and animals that are already available in nature, have been used by the Chinese for at least hundreds, probably thousands of years. That deeply changed my perspective in the world of medicine,” he says.
“I came back to medical school, and thereafter, looked at how I could integrate the perspective of conventional pharmaceutical administration as well as natural extract, natural product administration.”
Curcumin Has Potent Anticancer Activity
In 2005, he took a 75% sabbatical from clinical practice to immerse himself in the science of molecular biology, specifically the molecular biology of cancer. He also devoted approximately 9,000 to 9,500 hours building a relational database from the PubMed literature about the molecular biology of cancer.
One important lesson he learned through that venture is that the understanding of molecular biology can be applied across a range of diseases and symptoms described in the scientific literature. That knowledge can be applied by searching PubMed and other related databases, looking at the relevant molecular pathways involved.
“In learning the molecular biology of cancer pathways, and in learning that what the evidence actually shows for the effect of natural product extracts on various relevant molecular targets in various cancers, we see that there’s actually quite a large amount of evidence that supports using various molecules, natural products, and pharmaceuticals that are already approved and that have been around for a long time to affect anti-cancer activity along that pathway at that target.
That’s called molecularly targeted anti-cancer treatment, and it’s widely practiced in oncology today.
What’s not widely practiced is the use of the natural products for the molecularly targeted anticancer activity. I provide that for my patients because the evidence base suggests and supports the use of these treatment recommendations.”
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