Every once in a while a study pops up on the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database known as MEDLINE that not only confirms the therapeutic relevance of natural substances in cancer treatment, but blows the conventional approach out of the water.
Published in 2007 in the journal Planta Medica, researchers found that an enzyme extracted from pineapple stems known as bromelain was superior to the chemo-agent 5-fluorauracil in treating cancer in the animal model. The researchers stated:
This antitumoral effect [bromelain] was superior to that of 5-FU [5-fluorouracil], whose survival index was approximately 263 %, relative to the untreated control. [view entire study]
What is so remarkable about this research is that 5-FU has been used as a cancer treatment for 40 years, and has been relatively unsuccessful due to its less than perfect selectivity at killing cancer, often killing and/or irreversibly damaging healthy cells and tissue, as well.
As a highly toxic, fluoride-bound form of the nucleic acid uracil, a normal component of RNA, the drug is supposed to work by tricking more rapidly dividing cells — which include both cancer and healthy intestinal, hair follicle, and immune cells — into taking it up, thereby inhibiting (read: poisoning) RNA replication enzymes and RNA synthesis.