Phytochemicals as adjunctive with conventional anticancer therapies.

“Cancer is defined as the abnormal proliferations of cells which could occur in any tissue and can cause life-threatening malignancies with high financial costs for both patients and health care system. Plant-derived secondary metabolites are shown to have positive role in various diseases and conditions. The aim of the present study is to summarize clinical evidences on the benefits of phytochemicals as adjuvant therapy along with conventional anticancer therapies.

The findings showed that positive effects of phytochemicals are due to their direct anti-carcinogenic activity, induction of relief in cancer complications, as well as their protective role against side effects of conventional chemotherapeutic agents.

Results obtained from current review demonstrated that numerous phytochemical agents from different chemical categories including alkaloid, benzopyran, coumarin, carotenoid, diarylheptanoid, flavonoid, indole, polysaccharide, protein, stilbene, terpene, and xanthonoid possess therapeutic effect in patients with different types of cancer. Polyphenols are the most studied components. Curcumin, ginsenosides, lycopene, homoharringtonine, aviscumine, and resveratrol are amongst the major components with remarkable volumes of clinical evidence indicating their direct anticancer activities in different types of cancer including hepatocarcinoma, prostate cancer, leukemia and lymphoma, breast and ovarian cancer, and gastrointestinal cancers.

Cannabinoids, cumarin, curcumin, ginsenosides, epigallocatechin gallate, vitexin, and salidroside are phytochemicals with significant alleviative effect on synthetic chemotherapy-induced toxicities.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27262332

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Natural Phytochemicals in the Treatment and Prevention of Dementia: An Overview.

“The word dementia describes a class of heterogeneous diseases which etiopathogenetic mechanisms are not well understood. There are different types of dementia, among which, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular dementia (VaD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are the more common.

Currently approved pharmacological treatments for most forms of dementia seem to act only on symptoms without having profound disease-modifying effects. Thus, alternative strategies capable of preventing the progressive loss of specific neuronal populations are urgently required.

In particular, the attention of researchers has been focused on phytochemical compounds that have shown antioxidative, anti-amyloidogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties and that could represent important resources in the discovery of drug candidates against dementia.

In this review, we summarize the neuroprotective effects of the main phytochemicals belonging to the polyphenol, isothiocyanate, alkaloid and cannabinoid families in the prevention and treatment of the most common kinds of dementia.

We believe that natural phytochemicals may represent a promising sources of alternative medicine, at least in association with therapies approved to date for dementia.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27110749

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The role of phytochemicals in the treatment and prevention of dementia.

Drugs & Aging

“Dementia pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are reaching epidemic proportions, yet they are not successfully managed by effective symptomatic treatments. Only five drugs have been developed to alleviate cognitive symptoms, and more effective and safe treatments are needed for both the cognitive symptoms and behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). As two of these licensed drugs (cholinesterase inhibitors [ChEIs]) are naturally derived (galantamine and rivastigmine), the potential for plants to yield new therapeutic agents has stimulated extensive research to discover new ChEIs together with plant extracts, phytochemicals and their derivatives with other mechanistic effects relevant to dementia treatment. This review presents the potential and actual therapeutic strategies for dementia in relation to the known mechanisms of dementia pathology. Phytochemicals that have shown mechanistic effects relevant to the pathological targets in dementia are discussed, with an emphasis on those showing positive clinical trial evidence. Those phytochemicals discussed include the alkaloid physostigmine, a ChEI from the calabar bean (Physostigma venenosum), which has been used as a template for the development of synthetic derivatives that inhibit acetylcholinesterase, including the drug rivastigmine. Also discussed are other ChEI alkaloids including huperzine A, from Huperzia serrata, and galantamine, originally from the snowdrop (Galanthus woronowii); both alkaloids improve cognitive functions in AD patients.

Other phytochemicals discussed include cannabinoids (e.g. cannabidiol) from Cannabis sativa, which are emerging as potential therapeutic agents for BPSD, and resveratrol (occurs in various plants) and curcumin (from turmeric [Curcuma longa]), which have been investigated for their pharmacological activities relevant to dementia and their potential effects on delaying dementia progression. The review also discusses plant extracts, and their known constituents, that have shown relevant mechanistic effects for dementia and promising clinical data, but require more evidence for their clinical efficacy and safety. Such plants include Ginkgo biloba, which has been extensively studied in numerous clinical trials, with most outcomes showing positive effects on cognitive functions in dementia patients; however, more reliable and consistent clinical data are needed to confirm efficacy. Other plants and their extracts that have produced promising clinical data in dementia patients, with respect to cognition, include saffron (Crocus sativus), ginseng (Panax species), sage (Salvia species) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), although more extensive and reliable clinical data are required. Other plants that are used in traditional practices of medicine have been suggested to improve cognitive functions (e.g. Polygala tenuifolia) or have been associated with alleviation of BPSD (e.g. the traditional prescription yokukansan); such remedies are often prescribed as complex mixtures of different plants, which complicates interpretation of pharmacological and clinical data and introduces additional challenges for quality control. Evidence for the role of natural products in disease prevention, the primary but considerably challenging aim with respect to dementia, is limited, but the available epidemiological and clinical evidence is discussed, with most studies focused on ChEIs, nicotine (from Nicotiana species), curcumin, wine polyphenols such as resveratrol and G. biloba. Challenges for the development of phytochemicals as drugs and for quality control of standardized plant extracts are also considered.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21639405

https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165%2F11591310-000000000-00000

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