Wheat germ extract inhibits cancer, says new expert report

Chicago: A fermented wheatgerm extract has a greater tumor inhibiting effect on estrogen positive and estrogen negative breast cancers than the world’s best selling cancer drug, Tamoxifen, according to research published today at the 2007 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Known as Avemar, this compound has been extensively studied in many cell lines, animal tumor models, and human clinical trials. In the current study, Andras Telekes, MD, Ph.D., head physician at the Hungarian National Institute of Oncology, and his colleagues, implanted estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer cell lines from humans and mice into female mice and monitored tumor growth. They compared subjects treated with Avemar alone, with those monotherapy with three of the most widely used and studied breast cancer drugs, Tamoxifen (sold under the brand names Nolvadex, Istubal, and Valodex), Exemestane, (sold under the brand name Aromasin), and Anastrozole, (sold under the brand name, Arimidex), and subjects receiving those drugs along with Avemar.

Against the mouse derived estrogen receptor positive (ER+) cell line, MXT, compared to controls, Avemar inhibited growth by 50%, Exemestane by 46.7%, Tamoxifen by 34% and Anastrozole by 29.3%. Against the human ER+ cell line, T47T, Avemar inhibited growth by 49%, Tamoxifen 42%, Exemestane 25% and Anastrazole 25%. The effect of each agent was enhanced by 5 to 10% when combined with Avemar. The best result was obtained from the combination of Exemestane and Avemar, inhibiting both the mouse and human derived ER+ breast tumors by 60%.

Effects against estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer was measured with the human derived, MDA-MB-231 cell line. Since prior research shows that these estrogen-blocking drugs are not effective against ER- breast cancers, they were not tested in this tumor model. However, Avemar did inhibit the growth of the ER-negative MDA-MB-231 breast tumors significantly (52%), suggesting to researchers that the mechanism by which the extract works is different from that of the anti-estrogen drugs, and is independent of a breast tumor’s estrogen receptor status.

Since Avemar works equally well against ER+ and ER- cell lines, this suggests that the mechanisms of action by which Avemar inhibits growth in breast tumors are the same mechanisms as those that inhibited tumor growth in multiple other cell lines and tumor types against which the extract has been tested (other breast; lung, pancreatic, colon, melanoma, leukemia, and pancreatic cancers). Avemar anti-tumor effects have been attributed to several mechanisms, in particular its proven ability to interfere with the excess use of glucose by cancer cells, (the Warburg effect), which interferes with the synthesis of DNA needed for cell proliferation.

Avemar is produced by Biromedicina, RT of Budapest, Hungary through the fermentation of wheat germ by baker’s yeast according to a patented process (US no. 6,355,474) and standardized on the compound methoxy-substituted benzoquinones. The Hungarian Ministry of Health has approved Avemar as a “medical food,” with an on-label indication for the treatment of colorectal and other cancers. In the US, Avemar is distributed as a dietary supplement under the brand name Avé™, by American BioSciences, Inc. in Blauvelt, NY and is available nationwide through vitamin retailers, doctors and pharmacies. Additional research on Avemar research can be found via the National Library of Medicine website, www.pubmed.gov, with the search term Avemar. Additional information is available from American BioSciences, 888-884-7770, and www.americanbiosciences.com