|July 10, 2012||
Efficacy of a Medical Nutriment In The Treatment of Cancer
Gary L. Johanning, PhD; Feng Wang-Johanning, MD, PhD
The American Cancer Society estimated in 2006 that more than 2.4 million new cancer cases, including basal and squamous cell skin cancers, would be diagnosed in the United States that year.1 Cancer patients in the United States generally are treated using conventional therapy, which includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and newer, more targeted therapies such as immunotherapy, gene therapy, angiogenesis inhibitors and targeted therapies.2 With improved diagnosis and treatment, the 5- year survival rate of cancer patients will likely increase, and these cancer survivors will try to find treatments to prevent cancer recurrence and to advance longevity after a diagnosis of cancer. A recent study found that a large percentage of breast and prostate cancer patients use some form of complementary therapy, with vitamins being used by 63% and 37% of breast and prostate cancer patients, respectively, and diet and nutrition therapy being used by 84% and 46% of these patients.3
This study suggests that cancer patients have a strong desire to seek out alternative diet and nutritional therapies to augment their conventional cancer therapy. The challenge to physicians and healthcare providers, then, is to provide information to cancer patients about which therapies are likely to be beneficial to them in preventing recurrence of cancer and promoting their well-being.
This review will critically evaluate the efficacy of a plant extract that is currently being evaluated in clinical trials for treatment of cancer patients. The product is a fermented extract of wheat germ called Avemar. This article discusses how the extract is made, whether it is safe, its mode of action, and, finally, the use of Avemar in clinical cancer trials.