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Boswellic Acids (BOSWELLA)

In the early 1990s, German researchers discovered the mechanistic basis for salai guggul’s anti-inflammatory efficacy.   Boswellic acids are very potent inhibitors of the enzyme 5-LPO – and thus can suppress production of leukotrienes which act as cancer growth factors.  

The impact of 5-LPO activity on the sensitivity of cancers to chemotherapy or radiotherapy has received little attention up to this point.  However, one fascinating recent report indicates that concurrent expression of 5-LPO is associated with substantial protection from the cytotoxicity of chemotherapeutic cancer drugs.  Conversely, suppression of 5-LPO in these cancers greatly enhances their sensitivity to these drugs.  This implies that 5-LPO inhibitors, administered prior to and during chemotherapy, should enhance the responsiveness of a high proportion of human cancers. 

Zileuton is a drug that can inhibit 5-LPO and has shown cancer-retardant activity in hamsters with pancreatic cancer.  However, we have chosen to use boswellic acid-rich extracts in Oasis of Hope IRT regimens because they are considerably less expensive and can be presumed to be safe based on centuries of use in traditional medicine.  Moreover, a number of cell culture studies indicate that boswellic acids, most notably one known as acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid, can slow the proliferation and boost the death rate of various human cancer cell lines.   The only published clinical experience with boswellic acids in the treatment of cancer dealt with the use of these agents in children with progressing brain cancers. Although some of the children experienced improved neurological function during this treatment, this might have reflected an anti-inflammatory effect of leukotriene suppression rather than tumor regression.  Nonetheless, the observed benefit was worthwhile.  In rats transplanted with gliomas, treatment with boswellic acids could more than double survival time.  In the IRT protocol and at-home regimen, we include a potent dose of boswellic acids.

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