Did You Know…that an extract from beehives may offer a promising new treatment for prostate cancer?
More good news about bees, and another good reason to protect them: a recent study revealed that bees may offer hope to men who suffer from prostate cancer. The research, conducted at the University of Chicago Medical School, showed that an over-the-counter natural remedy from honeybee hives stops the growth of prostate cancer cells and tumors in mice.
CAPE: A Powerful Agent Against Disease
The promising substance from honeybee hives is called Caffeic acid phenethyl ester, or CAPE. It comes from a substance called propolis. Bees produce propolis and use it in their hives to patch up holes and to encapsulate foreign invaders.
Propolis itself has been valued for centuries as an effective remedy for numerous conditions. It is used widely in many European countries to fight off colds and flu. And it has been proven effective against conditions ranging from sore throats and allergies to burns and cancer. Based on early lab trials, propolis may even be developed into an effective treatment for HIV/AIDS.
CAPE Against Cancer
The exciting prostate cancer research conducted with CAPE was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. Researchers found that CAPE stops early-stage prostate cancer by shutting down the tumor cells’ system for detecting sources of nutrition.
“If you feed CAPE to mice daily, their tumors will stop growing. After several weeks, if you stop the treatment, the tumors will begin to grow again at their original pace,” said the study’s lead author. The researchers also tested CAPE on a series of cancer cell lines, and CAPE successfully slowed the growth of cultured cells taken from human prostate tumors.
CAPE was also effective at slowing the growth of human prostate tumors grafted into mice. After six weeks of treatment with the compound, the rate of tumor growth was cut in half. When CAPE treatment was stopped, however, tumor growth resumed its prior rate.
“It appears that CAPE basically stops the ability of prostate cancer cells to sense that there’s nutrition available,” the research team said. “They stop all of the molecular signatures that would suggest that nutrition exists, and the cells no longer have that proliferative response to nutrition.”
These results suggest that CAPE might halt the growth of prostate tumors in humans—although of course clinical trials would be needed before any new treatment is released.
While researchers continue to investigate CAPE and its potential as a cancer treatment, propolis remains widely available and offers many proven health benefits. Propolis can be found at natural health stores and online and is sold in many forms, from raw to capsule, depending on whether you enjoy its slightly unusual sweet, tangy taste or not. Whichever form you might choose, many natural health experts agree that including propolis in your supplement regimen makes good sense.