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Pomegranate Juice Helps Keep PSA Levels Stable in Men With Prostate Cancer, UCLA Study Finds.
(press release)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Drinking an eight-ounce glass of pomegranate juice daily increased by nearly four times the period during which PSA levels in men treated for prostate cancer remained stable, a three-year UCLA study has found.

The study involved 50 men who had undergone surgery or radiation but quickly experienced increases in prostate-specific antigen or PSA, a biomarker that indicates the presence of cancer. UCLA researchers measured "doubling time," how long it takes for PSA levels to double, a signal that the cancer is progressing, said Dr. Allan Pantuck, an associate professor of urology, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and lead author of the study.

Doubling time is crucial in prostate cancer, Pantuck said, because patients who have short doubling times are more likely to die from their cancer. The average doubling time is about 15 months. In the UCLA study, Pantuck and his team observed increases in doubling times from 15 months to 54 months, an almost four-fold increase.

"That's a big increase. I was surprised when I saw such an improvement in PSA numbers," Pantuck said. "In older men 65 to 70 who have been treated for prostate cancer, we can give them pomegranate juice and it may be possible for them to outlive their risk of dying from their cancer. We're hoping we may be able to prevent or delay the need for other therapies usually used in this population such as hormone treatment or chemotherapy, both of which bring with them harmful side effects."

The study appears in the July 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Association of Cancer Research.

"This is not a cure, but we may be able to change the way prostate cancer grows," Pantuck said. "We don't know yet the specific factors behind this response --- that's our next step in this research. We want to find out what cell signaling pathways might be affected, what is happening to keep PSA levels stable."

Pomegranate juice is known to have anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of antioxidants, which are believed to protect the body from free-radical damage. It also contains polyphenols, natural antioxidant compounds found in green tea, as well as isoflavones commonly found in soy, and ellagic acid, which is believed to play a role in cancer cell death.

"There are many substances in pomegranate juice that may be prompting this response," Pantuck said. "We don't know if it's one magic bullet or the combination of everything we know is in this juice. My guess is that it's probably a combination of elements, rather than a single component."

The levels of PSA in men immediately following treatment should be undetectable, Pantuck said. If PSA can be detected, it's an indication of an aggressive cancer that is likely to progress. The men in Pantuck's study all had detectable PSA following treatment. Of the 50 men enrolled, more than 80 percent experienced improvement in doubling times.

Conventional treatment for men with recurrent prostate cancer includes hormonal therapy, a chemical castration that removes testosterone from the system. Men treated with hormonal therapy can experience hot flashes, osteoporosis, fatigue, depression, muscle wasting, loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. If drinking pomegranate juice can delay or prevent the need for hormonal therapy, patients would experience a better quality of life for a longer time, Pantuck said.

The patients in Pantuck's study experienced no side effects and none of the participants had cancers that metastasized during the study.

Pantuck, along with UCLA colleagues including Dr. Arie Belldegrun, professor and chief of urologic oncology, and Dr. David Heber, professor and director of the Center for Human Nutrition, first began research on the effects of pomegranate juice on prostate cancer about six years ago, conducting preclinical research in cell cultures and in animals. Those studies showed pomegranate juice slowed the growth of prostate cancer, Pantuck said.

The data was impressive enough to test pomegranate juice in clinical trials, Pantuck said. To confirm their findings, a larger Phase III study, headed up by UCLA, will be conducted at 10 centers across the county. UCLA is the only Southern California center involved in the study. For more information on the Phase III trial, call (310) 825-5538.

Pantuck said he has men on the study more than three years out who are not being treated for prostate cancer other than drinking pomegranate juice and their PSA levels continue to be suppressed.

"The juice seems to be working," he said.

The study, performed at the Clark Urology Center, was funded by the Stewart and Lynda Resnick Trust. The Resnicks own POM Wonderful, which provided the juice from the Wonderful variety of pomegranate for the study.

UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center comprises more than 240 researchers and clinicians engaged in research, prevention, detection, control, treatment and education. One of the nation's largest comprehensive cancer centers, the Jonsson center is dedicated to promoting research and translating the results into leading-edge clinical studies. In July 2005, the Jonsson Cancer Center was named the best cancer center in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for six consecutive years.

Published research on POMx shows similar health benefits to pomegranate juice.
(press release)

Monday, September 11, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Three years after introducing consumers to the health benefits and delicious taste of the world's first refrigerated, super-premium pomegranate juice, POM WonderfulŽ announced today that it has developed a concentrated form of pomegranate antioxidants known as POMx. POMx, already being noted by medical researchers as an important natural ingredient, is so concentrated that only a small amount is needed to obtain an optimal level of daily antioxidants. For consumers who are not seeking additional calories and sugars, this is an important product benefit. POMx comes from the same Wonderful variety of pomegranates that are used to make POM Wonderful's healthy pomegranate juices. It also has a similar biochemical profile to pomegranate juice since both contain a diverse range of phytochemicals, of which polyphenols make up a large proportion. POMx is currently an active ingredient in POM Tea (http://pomtea.com), a refreshing, healthy, ready-to-drink iced tea that is available in retail stores nationally.

According to Michael Aviram, DSc, Professor of Biochemistry and Head Lipid Research Laboratory, Technion Faculty of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, who was at the forefront of the initial research on pomegranates, the research on POMx looks very promising. In 2006, Aviram led a study on POMx, which was recently published (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2006 54:1928-1935). Commenting on this research, Professor Aviram remarks, "The results showed that POMx is as potent an antioxidant as pomegranate juice and just like pomegranate juice may protect against cardiovascular as well as other diseases."

The POMx research comes as the benefits derived from the Wonderful variety of pomegranate are, once again, being noted by the worldwide medical community. Recently, the American Association for Cancer Research published research that indicates that a daily pomegranate regimen has a positive effect for men with prostate cancer. Specifically, drinking 8 ounces of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice daily prolonged post-prostate surgery PSA doubling time from 15 to 54 months (Clinical Cancer Research, July 1, 2006). PSA is a protein marker for prostate cancer and the faster PSA levels increase in the blood of men after treatment, the greater their potential for dying of prostate cancer.

David Heber, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, provided additional commentary on POMx as it relates to prostate cancer. "Basic studies indicate that the effects of POMx and POM Wonderful pomegranate juice on prostate cancer are the same. The most abundant and most active ingredients in pomegranate juice are also found in POMx."

Pomegranate juice confirmed as miracle medicine for prostate cancer.
(NewsTarget) A UCLA study of pomegranate juice suggests it can have a beneficial effect on prostate cancer in humans.

The study, funded by a pomegranate juice manufacturer, tested men's levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSAs), a chemical produced by prostate cancer cells, and measured how long it took the PSAs to double in each patient. The men who drank a glass of pomegranate juice daily showed a doubling time of 54 months on average, as opposed to the standard average of 15 months, meaning that pomegranate juice slowed the growth of prostate cancer tumors to less than one-third the typical rate.

The participants showed suppressed PSA levels despite the fact that they were only drinking pomegranate juice, and not supplementing the drink with costly prescription drugs or prohibitively expensive conventional cancer treatments.

"We are hoping we may be able to prevent or delay the need for other therapies usually used in this population, such as hormone treatment or chemotherapy, both of which bring with them harmful side effects," lead researcher Dr Allan Pantuck said.

Pantuck added that many substances in the juice could be prompting the positive response, as it is known to have anti-inflammatory effects and also protects the body from cell damaging particles known as free radicals due to a high level of antioxidants.

"We don't know if it's one magic bullet or the combination of everything we know is in this juice," Pantuck said. "My guess is that it's probably a combination of elements, rather than a single component."

Despite these impressive findings, pomegranate juice is unlikely to ever be heavily promoted for prostate cancer, since it cannot be patented. Drug companies, pharmacies and hospitals make money on patented chemicals, not natural fruit juices, so there's no financial incentive to publicize or prescribe pomegranate juice, even when it's more effective than cancer drugs.
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