During the 1960’s, between the ages of 6 to 14 years of age, my parents kindly lavished science instrumentation upon me at the slightest whiff of a birthday or other celebration. Chemistry set, electronic kit, telescope, microscope, large glossy heavy books and the licence to explore, experiment and have fun. They must have seen something in me I couldn’t possibly articulate other than perhaps to say “look at this, it’s amazing, I want to find out more.”
Ever since then a driving healthy curiosity to find out more, also known as science, has danced through my life. F.O.M. stands for “Find Out More”
Fast forward to 18th August 2016 with grown children, science degree and research/investigation skills under the belt. When a family member posted this Facebook clip from the 7 News Perth in Australia, the seed for F.O.M. was surreptitiously but firmly planted.
The clip is entitled “A single injection of a berry extract found only in Australia’s far north is now thought to cure many types of cancer..”
Now the 7 NEWS Perth has fine-tuned the delivery of their Facebook news into crafted 1-minute clips that are assuredly designed to grab your attention and encourage sharing with others. And so it was.
What follows is what I followed, in sequence, to uncover the source of this incredible but hard to believe revelation in the clip. As many of us know, there are plenty of scams and silly click-bait time-wasting traps waiting all over the internet. So I decided to use this opportunity as an exercise to showcase and introduce F.O.M. Here we go.
First, the ubiquitous Google reveals that this is not new news. The ABC reported in October 2014 –
Scientists discover cancer-fighting berry on tree that only grows in Far North Queensland By Jessica van Vonderen
And it goes back even further – “An eight-year study led by Dr Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, found a compound in the berry could kill head and neck tumours as well as melanomas.” Warning: images and research on animals.
“An experimental drug derived from the berry, called EBC-46, has so far been used on 300 animals, including cats, dogs and horses. In 75 percent of cases, the tumour disappeared and had not come back. There’s a compound in the seed – it’s a very, very complicated process to purify this compound and why it’s there in the first place, we don’t know,” Dr Boyle said.
The berry grows on the blushwood tree, on the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland, Australia.
According to Jessica’s report Dr Boyle said that the drug derived from this compound in the tree fruit “could only be used for tumours that can be accessed by direct injection and was not effective against metastatic cancers” but that “pre-clinical trials suggested the drug could be effective in human patients.”
Moving on we learn that QBiotics is the company that has done the work on extracting the compound and has since been conducting clinical trials. One can find out more and register for the trial as they indicate next (as of Aug 2016).
“We currently have a clinical trial programme running in Australia for suitably qualified patients with skin or head and neck cancer. We are pleased with the progress of these safety trials to date and look forward to obtaining more results as the trials progress.”
According to the QBiotics website – “EBC-46 is a novel natural product – a small molecule with anticancer activity being developed as a local treatment for solid tumours in humans and companion animals (dogs, cats and horses). EBC-46 was discovered by applying the EcoLogic™ approach to drug discovery from the tropical rainforests of Far North Queensland. EcoLogic™ was developed by QBiotics’ parent entity EcoBiotics.”
“QBiotics has already demonstrated very compelling proof-of-concept of the drug’s efficacy and safety by successfully treating advanced, spontaneous tumours in companion animals that were considered untreatable with current standards of care. As the principles behind the development of cancer in animals and humans are analogous, it is likely that EBC-46 will have similar effects in humans as in animals.”
The EcoLogic algorythm sounds interesting. The parent company Ecobiotics has background on the EcoLogic technolgy and interestingly the two companies went through a demerger at the end of 2015, indicating some sort of movement is afoot.
A press release from Queensland Institute of Medical Technolgy(QIMR) Berghofer indicated that ” Professor Peter Parsons and his team have been an integral part of the EcoBiotics team and have been involved in purifying EBC-46 from the seed. The rainforest plant can be grown in commercial quantities, and EcoBiotics has established pilot plantations in a number of locations in Queensland. Because the compound is so active, only a small area of the plantation is required for large scale supply of the active ingredient.”
The university of the sunshine coast (USC) has a profile on Dr Steven Ogbourne, a research scientist with a background in plant science and who works on the EBC-46 project.
“EBC-46 is extracted and purified from Fontainea picrosperma, a native tropical rainforest plant found in far North Queensland. Dr Ogbourne’s research will assist EcoBiotics with domesticating the species; an important milestone for EcoBiotics that will facilitate the secure supply of raw material for the manufacture of EBC-46.”
The Australian in April 2014 also cast some light onto how EcoLogic started with the two founding members Victoria Gordon and her husband, Paul Reddell. The article by Jamie Walker entitled Have Victoria Gordon and Paul Reddell found a new weapon against cancer with blushwood? is in-depth with background on the founder’s discovery along with details of what it takes to bring a new drug to market.
Then in October 2014 the Guardian in Australia reported that ” The preclinical trial (of EBC-46) was funded by QIMR Berghofer and the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the results were published in the journal PLOS One.”
This is a good lead that sends us to the actual scientific basis for the workings of EBC-46. PLOS One is the world’s first multidisciplinary Open Access journal, that accepts scientifically rigorous research, regardless of novelty. Open access means that we, the public, don’t have to pay $30-$40 to read the article. That’s great news.
The bad news is you might need a translation service to grasp the gist of the narrative. It starts with the title – Intra-Lesional Injection of the Novel PKC Activator EBC-46 Rapidly Ablates Tumors in Mouse Models and from there quickly dives deep into chemical, medical and enzyme terminology that explains why this level of technical detail hardly ever shows up in the news.
It not that bad if you have a guide. Let’s give it a shot. Here is part of the abstract with an interpretation to follow.
Here we describe a novel diterpene ester, EBC-46, and provide preclinical data supporting its use as an intra-lesional treatment. A single injection of EBC-46 caused rapid inflammation and influx of blood, followed by eschar formation and rapid tumour ablation in a range of syngeneic and xenograft models. EBC-46 induced oxidative burst from purified human polymorphonuclear cells, which was prevented by the Protein Kinase C inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide-1. EBC-46 activated a more specific subset of PKC isoforms (PKC-βI, -βII, -α and -γ) compared to the structurally related phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). Although EBC-46 showed threefold less potency for inhibiting cell growth than PMA in vitro, it was more effective for cure of tumours in vivo. No viable tumour cells were evident four hours after injection by ex vivo culture. Pharmacokinetic profiles from treated mice indicated that EBC-46 was retained preferentially within the tumour, and resulted in significantly greater local responses (erythema, oedema) following intra-lesional injection compared with injection into normal skin. The efficacy of EBC-46 was reduced by co-injection with bisindolylmaleimide-1. Loss of vascular integrity following treatment was demonstrated by an increased permeability of endothelial cell monolayers in vitro and by CD31 immunostaining of treated tumours in vivo. Our results demonstrate that a single intra-lesional injection of EBC-46 causes PKC-dependent hemorrhagic necrosis, rapid tumour cell death and ultimate cure of solid tumours in pre-clinical models of cancer.
Here is the TRANSLATION of the above into human speak
The current research focuses on testing a new compound as to it’s usefulness in tumour reduction and complete eradication in animals, and possibly humans later. The compound, EBC-46 was injected directly into a diseased part of the body i.e. tumour in this case. This resulted in increased blood flow to the wound area along with signs of a ramped-up immune response. This was followed by the forming of a scab and rapid tumour size reduction.
The results looked good according to animal cancer models, both an old established variety and a new model that better serves as a surrogate for human patients and the studying of how cancer therapies perform in conjunction with a functional immune system.
The effort was made to figure out how EBC-46 worked at a cellular and even molecular level. To this end, EBC-46 was shown to elevate human immune cells into a heightened state of action by enhancing their release of substances (like hydrogen peroxide) known to kill foreign invaders or tumour cells in this case.
To confirm how this actually worked and what parts of the cell were involved, they used the following standard scientific procedure; block the action of an important normal cell substance by introducing another inhibiting compound and witness the results of the experiment.
With this approach, the team was able to confirm EBC-46 acts directly on a subset of Protein Kinase C enzymes. These are important normal cellular components that act to control the function of other proteins in normal cellular functioning. They form part of a complex and elaborate signalling system within human cells and as such have far reaching implications to the whole being.
The team went further and compared EBC-46’s tumour inhibiting action with another compound known to inhibit cell growth. While the other compound performed better in the test tube (in-vitro), EBC-46 was more effective in curing tumours in real living animals and tissue (in-vivo)
No living tumour cells were seen 4 hours after injection, and this response was further enhanced if the EBC-46 was injected directly into the tumour area.
It appears that EBC-46 induces some blood vessel disruption and “leakiness”, and more specifically within the tumour site with the consequence of a concerted and concentrated anti-cancer effect following.
There we have it. End of translation. And makes a lot more sense.
If you like this work and have a question you need researched, send your question via email to Food Synergy Founder – Hartmut Günther
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Should be a lot of fun and learning and true to the spirit of open access and nurturing a driving healthy curiosity to find out more – aka science.
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So F.O.M. and move forward.
by Hartmut Günther