What’s in a beehive that naturally slows prostate cancer?
Researchers have isolated a natural compound in beehives that can slow the spread of prostate cancer that can be purchased over the counter. The compound, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, or CAPE that comes from propolis is a popular herbal remedy that hasn’t gained acceptance from the scientific community simply because researchers haven’t known how it acts on cells.
Propolis is sold as a supplement. According to MedLinePlus, its use dates back to 350BC. The resin that also comes from the buds of poplar and trees with cones has been found to be “possibly useful” treating cold sores, genital herpes and treating pain and inflammation after mouth surgery.
Other uses for propolis for treating cancer, tuberculosis, colds, burns, intestinal upset and other conditions have not been proven, though it is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Propolis shuts down nutrition sensing ability of prostate cancer cells
Cancer cells thrive on nutrients to grow, but in order to do that they have to receive the right signals.
In mouse studies, the researchers discovered Caffeic acid phenethyl ester or CAPE from propolis stopped tumors from growing.
Richard B. Jones, PhD, assistant professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research and Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology and senior author of the study said in a media release, “So it doesn't kill the cancer, but it basically will indefinitely stop prostate cancer proliferation." The researchers found if they stopped feeding CAPE to the mice, their prostate cancer tumors started growing again at the same speed as before the treatment.
"It's only recently that people have examined the mechanism by which some of these herbal remedies work," Jones said. "Our knowledge about what these things are actually doing is a bit of a disconnected hodge-podge of tests and labs and conditions. In the end, you're left with a broad, disconnected story about what exactly these things are doing and whether or not they would be useful for treating disease."
Over-the-counter compounds are sold for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, but, those statements don’t leave consumers with knowledge about the full biological effect of herbal remedies and other natural treatments.