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Cancer prevention.

Dr. Karoly Lapis is a distinguished professor at the Semmelweis Medical University in Budapest who heads up a team of researchers experimenting with lysine and white mice.

Last month we reported how they injected mice with tumor-inducing materials. After the mice grew tumors, they were given lysine with chemotherapy to determine if these mice would survive better than another group of the same breed of mice that were given only chemotherapy. The group of mice that was given lysine with chemotherapy had more survivors; even those who died had lived longer, on the average, than the mice in the group given chemotherapy alone.

When Dr. Lapis visited our offices, he inspected the mice we have beed feeding a high-lysine/low-arginine diet since August. Dr. Lapis is not able to obtain this AKR strain of leukemia-prone mice in Hungary. We know that the AKR mice on regular mice chow will start to die from their leukemia inFebruary. We hope the ones that are receiving high lysine and low arginine will live longer. A normal life span for a healthy, ordinary mouse is about three years.

We asked Dr. Lapis if he believes lysine is absolutely safe to give humans experimentally with conventional radiation and chemotherapy. He assured us that, in his opinion, lysine is completely safe for such use. We are discussing possible clinical trials with practicing oncologists to determine whether lysine given to cancer patients with conventional therapy would prove beneficial.

Although we are optimistic that lysine may be used in conjunction with the conventional therapy in treating cancer patients, our real anticipation is that the use of high-lysine/low-arginine diets will act as a cancer deterrent in normal cells. We reveiwed with Dr. Lapis the results of our reader survey, which disclosed that a large popolation of our readers regularly taking lysine have a very low incidence of cancer compared to our readers who are not taking lysine. The significant difference holds true when the groups are matched as to age and sex. This epidemiological data gives encouragement to our research colleagues taht lysine might be a determinant in the prevention of cancer.

We believe that the widespread use of the high-lysine corn developed by Dr. Edwin Mertz might make a difference in the incidence of cancer. Lysine has long been an important food supplement in the commercial feeding of chickens and pigs. These animals, like humans, have one stomach. Cattle, which have four stomachs, do not require lysine supplementation. The good news is that high-lysine corn tastes better and is sweeter than ordinary corn. An article on high-lysine corn recipes appeared in the December '83 SatEvePost. High-Lysine/Low-Arginine Research

We were pleased to note that the November 11, 1983, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association made mention of the high-lysine/low-arginine diet in herpes research. They wrote: "One unusual finding comes from the laboratories of Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, where in vitro data indicate that an arginine deficiency suppresses HSV-1 (herpes virus) replication. The investigators have suggested: 'Patients prone to herpetic lesions and other viral infections, particularly during periods of stress, should abstain from arginine (found particularly in nuts and seeds) excess and may also require supplemental lysine (an essential amino acid found in all animal products) in their diet.' Chemotherapy 1981; 27:209-213."

In the same paper, Dr. Richard Griffith of the Eli Lilly Company had reported that lysine appears to be an anti-metabolite acting as an analog of arginine. Lysine competes with arginine for the transport system across the wall of the intestine and also with the reabsorption of argiine by the transport system in the renal (kidney) tubules.

The net result with the oral administration of lysine is a reduction of the arginine absorption and an increased excretion of arginine in the urine. Dr. Griffith further explained that lysine entering the transport system of the tissue cells decreases the intracellular content of arginine. The total result is a depletion of the amino acid pool of arginine with a preponderance of lysine, a detrimental ratio for viral replication. A genetic variation in arginine and lysine utilization may make certain individuals more susceptible to viral infection, he theorized.

Genital Herpes Not Always from Sex

An estimated 85 percent of genital herpes infections are attributed to herpes simplex 2 virus. The rest of genital herpes cases are attributed to herpes simplex type 1 virus which is the "cold sore" virus. Herpes simplex type 1 virus was formerly associated almost exclusively with cold sores and herpes keratitis. Our mail has certainly convinced this writer that genital herpes can be contracted by people who have been widowed and celibate for as long as ten years prior to acquiring it. We trust their statements and believe that it can be acquired by self-contamination via fingers touching a cold sore and then the genital area.

Neonatal Herpes

Dr. Andre Nahmias of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta has been granted a five-year, $1.75 million grant to determine the incidence of herpes, how it develops, the nature and severity of its symptoms and at what stages it is contagious to the sexual partner or to the baby born to a mother with genital herpes.

An infant who is delivered vaginally and whose mother has an active genital herpes infection has a 40 percent to 60 percent chance of becoming infected. Public health officials estimate the resulting death rate among such neonates is probably 50 percent or greater.

The key to avoiding neonatal herpes is for the patient to be totally honest with her doctor, even though she may have never revealed her herpes history before. A woman can shed genital herpes virus from her cervix without having visible lesions, so it is important that the physicians know if she has ever had sexual relations with a herpes-infected partner.

Pap smears, herpes antibody-level blood tests and viral cultures have all been used to diagnose questionable cases. Culturing requires up to four days because the virus grows slowly, but it is the most dependable test. Unfortunately, however, culturing is not available in all hospitals.

The FDA has just approved a new herpes diagnosis laboratory test in which monoclonal antibodies bind to Herpes 1- or Herpes 2-infected cells, giving them a brilliant fluorescent appearance when viewed under the microscope. The test differentiates between Herpes-1 and 2, but doesn't diagnose genetal herpes in pregnant women without symptoms.

Molybdenum Against Cancer

Animal reserach on molybdenum done by Dr. S.P. Yang at Texas Tech University indicates that sufficient molybedenum in the diet may protect people from esophageal cancer. In Dr. Yang's experiments, molybedenum is included in very small amunts in the diet of rats. The animals are then exposed to a chemical that is known to cause esophageal cancer in rats. Rats that do not receive the molybdenum in the diet develop cancer 80 to 90 percent of the time. In the animals given the molybdenum, the incedence of cancer was reduced by an average of one half.

On the basis of Dr. Yang's work and that of Dr. E.F. Rose with the Bantu of the Transkei, we are recommending multivitamins which contain molybdenum. The sources of molybdenum in multivitamins with minerals are very limited; our survey showed only three with any molybdenum. Three are: Centrum, 15 mcg. by Lederle; Naturehs Bounty 1 Tablets, 15 mcg., Nature's Bounty; and One-A-Day Multivitamin Supplement Plus Minerals, 10 mcg. , Miles Laboratories.
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Title Annotation:Medical mailbox
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:column
Date:Jan 1, 1984
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Next Article:Good news for kidney stone formers.

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