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LIFE EXTENSION UPDATE, APRIL 27 2001
IN THIS ISSUE, APRIL 27 2001:
LIFE EXTENSION UPDATE EXCLUSIVE: Immune system's role in cancer prevention
WHAT'S HOT: Vitamin A augments interferon in human cells;
PROTOCOL: Immune Enhancement;
FEATURED PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK: OptiZinc, Life Extension Mix;
LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE: Lactoferrin Update;
BLOOD TESTING SALE ENDS MAY 5!
LIFE EXTENSION UPDATE EXCLUSIVE
Immune system's role in cancer prevention reexplored
Although this information comes as no surprise to alternative medicine
practitioners and adherents, medical research is rediscovering the immune
system's role in cancer prevention. Prior to the 1970s, it was believed
that the body's immune system played a role in tumor prevention as well as
in the prevention of infection. Research conducted during that decade
found that nude mice lacking lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell,
experienced the same amount of tumor development as normal mice, whether
these tumors were spontaneous or induced by carcinogens. This led cancer
researchers to conclude that the immune system was ineffective in
preventing tumor formation. It was later discovered that nude mice did
possess some lymphocytes.
Research funded by the NIH and the Cancer Research Institute published in
the April 26 2001 issue of Nature discussed the results of several studies
conducted on mice which showed that lymphocytes and gamma interferon
produced by certain lymphocytes may be important in preventing tumors. In
one experiment, mice bred to lack any functional lymphocytes through the
inactivation of a lymphocyte-specific gene, RAG2, were injected with MCA,
a carcinogen. Sixty percent of these mice developed tumors, compared to
13% of a control group of mice who received the carcinogen. The mice
lacking lymphocytes also developed the tumors earlier than the controls.
Two additional studies confirmed these results. In a previous experiment,
mice bred to lack the receptor for interferon or one of the proteins
necessary for the functioning of the interferon receptor (Stat1) received
MCA with similar results. When the researchers bred mice lacking the
genes for both RAG2 and Stat1, the tumor incidence was not significantly
greater than the tumor incidence occurring in mice that lacked one gene or
the other. Therefore lymphocytes and the interferon receptor may have
overlapping roles in tumor prevention.
Additionally, genetically modified mice lacking the ability to both form
both lymphocytes and to possess proper interferon receptor functioning
were shown to develop cancer spontaneously without the administration of a
carcinogen, with all of them developing tumors, half of them cancerous.
Only two out of eleven controls developed tumors during the course of the
study, both nonmalignant.
Robert D Schreiber, PhD, Alumni Professor of Pathology and Immunology and
Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University School of
Medicine, who led the study, stated, "We think the two are potentially
part of the same mechanism but represent different steps in the process.
Interferon makes tumor cells expose themselves to the immune system. After
seeing the abnormal proteins in the tumor, the lymphocytes eliminate the
tumor cells . . . These results show that both interferon and lymphocytes
are involved in the prevention of tumors and that the two interact with
one another to protect individuals from cancer development."
Because some tumors that escape immune detection lack a protein called
TAP1, the researchers tagged highly aggressive tumors with the protein
before transplanting them into healthy mice and mice lacking lymphocytes.
The healthy mice rejected the tumors, while the lymphocyte-deficient mice
did not, showing that the immune system was responsible for eliminating
them. Dr Schreiber commented, "We think that tagged tumor could be used
to train the immune system to reject others like it. This is very exciting
because it indicates that immunotherapy has a significant potential use."
Vitamin A augments interferon in human cells
Research conducted at Penn State University has revealed that the active
form of vitamin A plays a role in immune response by enhancing the effect
of interferon. Interferon is an immune system regulator and one of the
body's defense chemicals.
Modified forms of interferon are used to treat autoimmune diseases such as
multiple sclerosis, arthritis and chronic inflammation, and maintaining
adequate vitamin A levels may enhance the effectiveness of these forms of
interferon. In the research reported at the Experimental Biology 2001
conference in Orlando Florida this week, human macrophages, which are
immune system cells that mediate the inflammatory response and also lead
to antibody production, were stimulated in the presence of sufficient
vitamin and in vitamin A deficient conditions. Vitamin A led to increased
Research team leader Dr. Catharine Ross, of Penn State's College of Health
and Human Development, commented, "There are quite a few animal studies
that show that vitamin A deficiency affects inflammation and the immune
system's response. These new data from experiments with human cells
suggest that vitamin A augments natural interferon's regulatory response.
Less interferon may be necessary when the active form of vitamin A is
The Life Extension Foundation's Immune Enhancement protocol is designed to
enhance immune function in aging patients, in patients receiving cancer
chemotherapy, and in those suffering from chronic viral or bacterial
Free radicals have been linked to immune system damage that accompanies
normal aging. A strong immune system is critical to the prevention of
infection by viruses, fungi, and bacteria. It is thought that cancer cells
form regularly, and that a vigilant immune response is therefore required
to kill or deactivate these deformed cells before they become malignant
tumors. Members of the Life Extension Foundation have long been encouraged
to follow a daily antioxidant regimen that protects against
immune-suppressing free radicals.
The incidence of cancer and new infectious diseases increases every year
in the United States. In addition, many dangerous bacteria have become
resistant to the antibiotics that once kept them in check. These virulent,
antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are increasingly becoming a
threat to our lives. There is strong scientific evidence showing that
antioxidants and other natural therapies can play an important role in
maintaining and enhancing immune function.
The trace element zinc has many roles in basic cellular function. These
include DNA replication, RNA transcription, cell division, and cell
activation. Zinc also functions as an antioxidant and stabilizes
membranes. Zinc-deficient patients display reduced resistance to
infection. Zinc's importance in many aspects of the immune system-from
skin barrier to lymphocyte gene regulation-may be based on its importance
in cellular function. Zinc is also needed for the normal development and
function of the cells which mediate nonspecific immunity (such as
neutrophils and natural killer cells). Zinc deficiency is known to enhance
the development of acquired immunity by preventing the outgrowth of and
certain functions of T-lymphocytes such as activation, cytokine
production, and B-lymphocyte help.
Immune dysfunction and susceptibility to infection have been observed in
zinc-deficient human subjects. A study investigated the production of
cytokines and characterized the T-cell subpopulations in three groups of
mildly zinc-deficient subjects. These included head and neck cancer
patients, healthy volunteers found to have a dietary deficiency of zinc,
and healthy volunteers in whom a zinc deficiency was induced by dietary
means. The study demonstrated that zinc status affects cytokine levels.
Production of interleukin-2 and gamma-interferon was decreased even when
the zinc deficiency was mild. Natural killer cell activity was also
decreased in zinc-deficient subjects. T-cell formation was decreased even
in mildly zinc-deficient subjects. The study demonstrates the crucial role
of zinc in promoting specific immune responses.
FEATURED PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK
Zinc is a mineral necessary for the formation of superoxide dismutase, one
of the body's free radical scavengers. It also promotes wound healing,
immune function, taste sensitivity, is necessary for protein synthesis,
assists in the formation of insulin and is important for the development
of all reproductive organs. OptiZinctm is the most bioavailable form of
zinc. The number of capsules you take depends on the amount of zinc in
your multinutrient formula. Most people's intake of zinc should not exceed
90 mg per day.
Life Extension Mix
Life Extension Mix is an antioxidant formula that affords a considerable
degree of protection against free radicals. In addition, Life Extension
mix includes nutrients that: enhance methylation (an essential process
that declines during aging); inhibit glycosylation (a significant cause of
aging damage); suppress apolipoprotein serum levels (a cause of
atherosclerosis); suppress homocysteine serum levels ( a cause of
cardiovascular disease); suppress mitochondrial oxidative stress (a cause
of premature aging); protect against thrombosis (abnormal blood clotting
inside arteries); maintain microcapillary perfusion; and protect against
DNA mutations that lead to certain cancers.
LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE
Lactoferrin Update by Will Brink
Readers of Life Extension magazine expect the latest research on natural
non-toxic supplements that prevent disease and improve health. A
lactoferrin update is therefore in order. Lactoferrin has captured the
interest of many researchers as a natural compound with a wide variety of
uses. What follows is a summary of previously published information on the
research and effects of lactoferrin followed by some of the more
Lactoferrin appears to be a subfraction of whey with the best documented
anti-viral, antimicrobial, anticancer and immune modulating/enhancing
effects. When we talk about whey we are actually referring to a complex
protein made up of many smaller protein subfractions (peptides). Many of
these subfractions are only found in very minute amounts in cows' milk,
normally at less than 1%. For example, lactoferrin makes up only 0.5% to
1% or less of whey protein derived from cows' milk. Mothers' milk, on the
other hand, will contain up to 15% lactoferrin.
Lactoferrin is found throughout the human body and occurs in all
secretions that bathe mucous membranes such as saliva, tears, bronchial
and nasal secretions, hepatic bile, pancreatic fluids, and is an essential
factor in the immune response. Lactoferrin is concentrated in oral
cavities where it will come in direct contact with pathogens (i.e.
viruses, bacteria, etc.) and kills or greatly suppresses these pathogens
through a variety of different mechanisms. In fact, there are specific
receptors for lactoferrin found on many key immune cells, such as
lymphocytes, monocytes and macrophages, and is known to be directly
involved in the upregulation of natural killer (NK) cell activity.
BLOOD TESTING SALE ENDS MAY 5!
To order blood tests, go to
If you have any questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues
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For longer life,
Editor, Life Extension Update
Life Extension Foundation
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