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Artesunate for Cancer Treatment

Artesunate is a compound that is derived from the wormwood plant used in many therapies to detoxify and enhance bowel elimination. This plant has been used in China and India and other botanically based healing disciplines around the world  for millennia to treat malaria and intestinal parasites Another name for Artesunate is one form of ‘artimisinin’ or ‘artemesia’ designed for intravenous (IV) use.

Research at the University of Washington has shown that artesunate selectively kills cancer cells and leaves normal cells unharmed.

Artesunate reacts with iron to form free radicals, which then kill cells.  Since cancer cells require much more iron than normal cells, they are quickly recognized and killed, hence they are much more susceptible to the cytotoxic effects of artesunate than normal cells in part because of the amount of iron and also because cancer cells lack the normal antioxidant enzymes that normal cells have in abundance.

Furthermore, artesunate is approximately 100 times more selective in killing cancer cells as opposed to normal cells and recent research has shown that combining it with iron makes it 34,000 times more deadly to cancer cells than normal cells.

Because they multiply much more rapidly than normal cells, cancer cells need more iron in order to replicate their DNA.  In addition, cancer cells have small portals on their surface (transferrin (protein bound iron) receptors) in in much larger numbers than normal cells. Those receptors allow for rapid transport into the cells.

Once inside the cell, the artesunate reacts with the iron, producing highly reactive compounds called, “free radicals”.  The free radicals destroy other molecules as well as the cell membrane, which  breaks it open and the cell dies.

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