Tag Archives: cancer patient

Amino Acid Glycine Protects Muscles From Cancer Cachexia

Can the non-essential amino acid glycine become part of a treatment to improve quality of life for cancer patients? An animal study from Australia found some promising results.

Cachexia is a wasting syndrome, characterized by loss of weight, muscle atrophy, and loss of body mass which cannot be reversed by simply consuming more nutrition. This loss of body mass is often caused by cancer, often end-stage or advanced cancer. Cancer cachexia greatly affects quality of life, and can often hasten the patient towards their death. Cachexia is probably responsible for about 20 per cent of cancer deaths.

Cancer cachexia is caused by inflammation, the body’s complex response to harmful stimuli, such as cancer, as the body tries to destroy the cancer cells. Inflammation causes pain, and often swelling and loss of function. New treatments to reduce inflammation, which would also improve cancer therapies, are being researched globally.

D Ham, K Murphy, et al, researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia, developed an animal trial to see if the amino acid glycine could become part of a safe, non-toxic treatment for cancer-induced muscle wastage.

Glycine is not an essential part of the human diet, as we synthetize it in our bodies from the amino acid serine. It is a neurotransmitter, but has other important effects too. It plays a role in detoxification, and could be an effective anti-inflammatory agent. It is glycine’s anti-inflammatory qualities that the researchers wanted to test.

Glycine protects muscle wastage – may be used for cachexia in cancer patients

Cachexia was induced in mice, which were then injected with glycine, alanine, or citrulline every day for 21 days. After this, selected muscles, tumors, and fat tissues were studied.

The glycine had impressive results. The mice given glycine had much less fat and muscle wastage, and less inflammation. Oxidative stress was also reduced.

The researchers concluded that glycine protected skeletal muscle from wastage and loss of function caused by cancer. They hope that in future, safe, non-toxic glycine treatments to protect against cancer cachexia will be developed.



Reduce Symptoms of Hemorrhagic Cystitis with Histidine

Histidine amino acid may help hemorrhagic cystitis for cancer patients. Hemorrhagic cystitis, a complication of the lower urinary tract, is characterized by painful urination and blood in the urine. Often caused by chemotherapy, bladder infections or pelvic radiotherapy, hemorrhagic cystitis is usually treated first with clot evacuation and elimination of any obstruction in the bladder outlet. 

But according to researchers at Urmia University’s Department of Pathobiology in Iran, another possible treatment for hemorrhagic cystitis is vitamin C and the essential amino acid histidine.

Histidine, an important component in the biosynthesis of histamine and carnosine, can be converted into ammonia, urocanic acid and even antioxidants. Because vitamin C and histidine both have antioxidant activities, the researchers hypothesize that a combination of the two would reduce the symptoms of hemorrhagic cystitis in rats.

For the experiment regarding histidine, researchers Amir Farshid, Esmaeal Tamaddonfard and Sepideh Ranjbar administered the drug cyclophosphamide to induce hemorrhagic cystitis in 48 rats through oxidative stress. They were then divided into groups given either saline alone as the control group, 200 mg/kg of vitamin C, 200 mg/kg of histidine, or a combination of vitamin C and histidine. The injections were administered three times at 2, 6 and 24 hours after induction of hemorrhagic cystitis. The researchers then collected blood samples and assessed any changes in the bladder wall.

The effects of amino acid histidine on hemorrhagic cystitis

After evaluating the data on plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC), the researchers found that injection of cyclophosphamide significantly decreased plasma TAC levels. This activity was reversed with separate and combined treatments of vitamin C and histidine, suggesting the experimental therapy recovered the negative symptoms of cyclophosphamide.

The same effect was shown with plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. As for histopathological changes in the bladder, the researchers found that histidine was able to significantly reduce all the negative changes in the bladder brought on by cyclophosphamide-induced hemorrhagic cystitis. Some of the negative changes include congestion, edema, hemorrhages and leukocyte infiltration of the bladder’s wall.

Based on the histidine related test results Farshid, Tamaddonfard and Ranjbar believe that a combination treatment of vitamin C and histidine will suppress any negative effects of hemorrhagic cystitis.

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