Decade’s Next Major Advancement in Cancer Treatment Might be Found in a Common Weed

Tempe, AZ, June 16, 2003 – Recent research presented at the Comprehensive Cancer Care Symposium in Arlington, Virginia by researcher and scientist Neil Riordan, M.S. P.A.-C. identified a promising new compound in the war against cancer- from an unlikely source. The compound is called PGM (Proteoglycan Molecule) and is extracted from the common weed known as field bindweed.

Bindweed has long been a nuisance to farmers around the globe, and because it is ever present, difficult to get rid of and spreads quickly, it has earned the nickname “the cancer of weeds.” Ironically, this “cancer of weeds” is the source of a newly identified compound, PGM, which may be the decade’s next major advancement in cancer therapy.

In a research paper presented at the Cancer Care Symposium, Mr. Riordan demonstrated that in laboratory tissue models, PGM compounds were able to inhibit tumor growth up to 62%. “PGMs are thought to work by inhibiting new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), a key step in cancer progression,” says Mr. Riordan.

It didn’t take long for clinicians to put this forward thinking research into practice. Freidrich Douwes, M.D., Internist and Oncologist, and current Medical Director of Clinic St. George Cancer Hospital and previous Vice President of the German Society for Oncology, started preliminary testing of PGM compounds clinically with cancer patients two years ago and is now using it with almost all his cancer patients. Dr. Douwes tested PGM and several other angiogenesis inhibitors for their ability to inhibit the expression of VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor), one of the most powerful inducers of new blood vessel growth in tumors.

“In the majority of patients, PGM is the most effective suppressor of VEGF and angiogenesis,” reports Dr. Douwes. Angiogenesis is thought to play a central role in the development of nearly all cancers and to provide a common intervention point in all abnormal cell growth. “Without new blood vessel growth, tumors cannot grow more than the size of a pea,” says Mr. Riordan. This theory of cancer, known, as the “Angiogenesis Factor” was first promoted by Judah Folkman, M.D., now Professor of Pediatric Surgery at Harvard University. Dr. Folkman’s radical new way of thinking about cancer was once considered preposterous. So little was known about how cancer spreads and how blood vessels grow that he wasn’t even taken seriously enough to be considered a heretic. Now, the overwhelming consensus is that controlling blood vessel growth is the “Achilles Heel” of cancer and that it will largely replace current forms of cancer therapy, such as chemotherapy, radiation and even surgery.


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