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A recent study conducted by the University of Chicago Medicine has yielded positive results of cancer-fighting abilities of the drug sirolimus, when mixed with grapefruit juice. Sirolimus is a drug that has been around since the 1970’s, and, even then, it had shown promise to treat cancer. However, over time, the patent ran out and not much research (time or money) had been invested into focusing on the caner-fighting properties of the drug. Since then, it has commonly been used for treatment of organ transplant patients, leaving its relationship to cancer treatment on the back burner.
Sirolimus is a drug that can drastically affect the gastrointestinal system, with side effects including diarrhea, nausea, joint pain, and even sleeping problems. Because of the high dosage needed to yield the drugs cancer-fighting properties, patients who took sirolimus for cancer treatment, usually experienced drastic side effects.
The study has found that by adding grapefruit juice into the daily regimen of taking the sirolimus, dosages can be lowered, the drug acts more efficiently, and it actually moves into the bloodstream faster. This allows for proper levels of cancer-fighting properties to build up in the bloodstream with less waste and less negative effect on the patient.
Grapfruit juice has been known to negatively react with other prescription medications including those for blood pressure, cholesterol, and pain medications. The reason for this is that it affects enzymes found in the stomach lining, allowing for quick absorption of these medications. Not only can the quick absorption of these drugs cause dangerous side effects, but this process can actually cause overdose in patients. However, sirolimus has such high metabolism it is often difficult for the body to ingest it in a reasonable amount of time. With grapefruit juice inhibiting the stomach enzymes, the bloodstream is able to take the drug in faster and accept the proper dosage instead of just part of it.
These findings are impressive because most patients in the sirolimus-only test group had to cut their dosage in half just to continue taking the treatment. Doctors believe the side effects of sirolimus start around a 45mg dosage. While the test group who took ketoconazole (a drug that slows metabolic properties of drugs) showed the best combined effect with the sirolimus, researchers suggest that grapefruit juice is the best additive for use with the drug because it is a natural product. The less drugs the body has to take in the better! Grapefruit juice was shown to cuts dosage down by 10-20mg, from the side effect-inducing 45mg, and it increases the productivity of sirolimus by 350%. Just amazing.Sources: WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/drugs/mono-5301-SIROLIMUS+-+ORAL.aspx?drugid=17701&drugname=sirolimus+Oral&source=1NBC News - http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/07/13166988-grapefruit-juice-may-improve-cancer-drug?liteCBS News - Health POP - http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57489210-10391704/grapefruit-juice-may-make-low-doses-of-anti-cancer-drug-as-effective-as-higher-doses/Fox News Health - http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/07/grapefruit-juice-shown-to-boost-drug-anti-cancer-properties/