Through a series of confidential communications involving a researcher from one of America’s largest pharmaceutical companies, this ancient tree’s anticancerous properties have recently come to light. Although not yet tested in human trials, the tree has been studied in more than 20 laboratory tests since the 1970s, where it’s been shown to: effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 different types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung, and pancreatic cancer and selectively hunt down and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells, unlike chemotherapy.
So why isn’t every health publication extolling the benefits of this treatment? Why hasn’t it been made widely available throughout the natural-medicine community? And, if it’s only half as promising as it appears to be, why isn’t every oncologist at every major hospital insisting on using it on all his patients? Especially when you consider that since the early 1990s, extensive independent research, including research by one of today’s leading drug companies and by the National Cancer Institute, confirms that the tree’s chemical extracts attack and destroy cancer cells with lethal precision.
How does it work:
Annonaceous acetogenins are only found in the Annonaceae family (to which graviola belongs). These chemicals in general have been documented with antitumorous, antiparasitic, insecticidal, and antimicrobial activities. Mode of action studies in three separate laboratories have recently determined that these acetogenins are superb inhibitors of enzyme processes that are only found in the membranes of cancerous tumor cells. This is why they are toxic to cancer cells but have no toxicity to healthy cells.
In 1997, Purdue University published information with promising news that several of the Annonaceous acetogenins were “not only are effective in killing tumors that have proven resistant to anti-cancer agents, but also seem to have a special affinity for such resistant cells.”
In several interviews after this information was publicized, the head pharmacologist in Purdue’s research explained how this worked. As he explains it, cancer cells that survive chemotherapy can develop resistance to the agent originally used as well as to other, even unrelated, drugs. This phenomenon is called multi-drug resistance (MDR). One of the main ways that cancer cells develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs is by creating an intercellular pump which is capable of pushing anticancer agents out of the cell before they can kill it. On average, only about two percent of the cancer cells in any given person might develop this pump—but they are the two percent that can eventually grow and expand to create multi-drug-resistant tumors.
Some of the latest research on acetogenins reported that they were capable of shutting down these intercellular pumps, thereby killing multi-drug-resistant tumors. Purdue researchers reported that the acetogenins preferentially killed multi-drug-resistant cancer cells by blocking the transfer of ATP—the chief source of cellular energy—into them. A tumor cell needs energy to grow and reproduce, and a great deal more to run its pump and expel attacking agents. By inhibiting energy to the cell , it can no longer run its pump. When acetogenins block ATP to the tumor cell over time, the cell no longer has enough energy to operate sustaining processes, and it dies. Normal cells seldom develop such a pump; therefore, they don’t require large amounts of energy to run a pump and, generally, are not adversely affected by ATP inhibitors. Purdue researchers reported that 14 different acetogenins tested thus far demonstrate potent ATP-blocking properties (including several found only in graviola). They also reported that 13 of these 14 acetogenins tested were more potent against MDR breast cancer cells than all three of the standard drugs (adriamycin, vincristine, and vinblastine) they used as controls.
An interesting in vivo study was published in March of 2002 by researchers in Japan, who were studying various acetogenins found in several species of plants. They inoculated mice with lung cancer cells. One third received nothing (the control group), one third received the chemotherapy drug adriamycin, and one third received the main graviola acetogenin, annonacin (at a dosage of 10 mg/kg). At the end of two weeks, five of the six in the untreated control group were still alive and lung tumor sizes were then measured. The adriamycin group showed a 54.6% reduction of tumor mass over the control group—but 50% of the animals had died from toxicity (three of six). The mice receiving annonacin (graviola) were all still alive, and the tumors were inhibited by 57.9%—slightly better than adriamycin—and without toxicity. This led the researchers to summarize; “This suggested that annonacin was less toxic in mice. On considering the antitumor activity and toxicity, annonacin might be used as a lead to develop a potential anticancer agent.”
As one of graviola’s mechanisms of action is to deplete ATP energy to cancer cells, combining it with other supplements and natural products which increase or enhance cellular ATP, may reduce the effect of graviola. The main supplement which increases ATP is a common antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10 and for this reason, it should be avoided when taking graviola.
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Caution: Do not take Graviola if you are pregnant or nursing. Graviola is not recommended for people who have motor control difficulty or suspected of having Parkinson’s disease.