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Better Living Through Well Being

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When I first came across news of a breakthrough in killing cancer by academic researchers repurposing the arsenic poison, the old expression “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” came to mind. Only in this case it would be more accurate to say “what doesn’t kill any of your healthy cells and succeeds in killing only cancer cells inside malignant tumors will make you stronger and potentially cure your cancer.”

The research team knew there had been high success in curing a type of blood cancer using low doses of arsenic trioxide, but the roadblock to finding a broader application was its toxicity. The key to their success came through the use of nanobin technology. A nanobin is a tiny droplet of fat (liposome), so small it is only visible through a microscope, which when injected into the bloodstream will release the arsenic it contains only once it is inside the cancer cell. The nanobin is able to do this because the biology of a cancer tumor uses angiogenesis, the ability to stimulate blood vessels to grow to it, through it and around it to nourish its growth. Because these new blood vessels are inferior with tiny gaps and holes large enough for nanobins to slip through but too small to leak the red blood cells they carry, the arsenic-loaded liposomes enter and build up inside the tumor. Since the cells of cancer tumors are slightly more acidic than normal cells, they dissolve the arsenic particles inside the nanobins, releasing the active drug inside the tumor.

Animal studies so far have shown that nanobin injections effectively kill breast, ovarian and lung cancer cells. These models reveal that unlike other drug regimens, nanobin treatment is “ferto-protective,” preserving fertility while killing cancer. The nanobin treatment is also proven to protect the heart by avoiding the toxicities of common cancer drugs.

This cutting-edge cancer research is now being tested to track nanobins injected inside the body after certain molecules used by the cancer cells to survive have been attached to their surface. Like a trojan horse, these decorated nanobins are lured by cancer cells where they attach to their surface and then the cancer cells open up and bring the lipid vessel, the whole kit and caboodle, into the cell.

Most significantly, these decorated nanobins are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and release arsenic to kill brain tumors metastasized from the breast. Thus, these findings show great promise for the cure of glioblastoma, a notoriously aggressive brain cancer with virtually no effective treatment.

Future public access is envisioned for a hidden Sonoma County gem thanks to the recent acquistion of the 730-acre Harold Richardson Reserve by the Save the Redwoods League. The property that had been kept preserved by private ownership for generations will soon become the first new old-growth redwood park in decades. This 730-acre section is part of the 8,000 acre Richardson Ranch established by Harold Richardson’s grandfather in 1876. The family’s method of selective harvesting rather than clearcutting contributed to the remarkable health of the old growth forest on the ranch. Harold Richardson was always fond of the 730-acre section with its hundreds of 300-foot-tall old-growth redwoods, including the 1,640-year-old McApin Tree with its 20 foot wide trunk, and he refused to ever harvest any of its trees. After his death at age 96 in 2016, Richardson left the nearly pristine 730 acres of ancient giants within the larger family ranch to his heirs, who in turn have worked with Save the Redwoods League to protect it for generations.

Eden Green Technology, a vertical farming company in Texas, aims to expand its proprietary vine-like system of growing produce into local markets beginning with Walmart stores in Dallas. Crisply is its non-GMO, pesticide-, herbicide- and chemical-free produce line, which includes multiple lettuce, greens and herb varietals. Their produce is grown inside greenhouses in vertical racks that provide each plant a hydroponic flow of nutrients but use natural sunlight to save on energy. They expect to grow 10 to 15 harvests a year, compared to an average of two harvests for conventional soil-based farms. The produce is planted, picked and packed at the same facility and kept in an unbroken cold chain to the retailer, decreasing the chances of contamination. The company's goal is to eliminate the problem of fresh food accessibility for every family no matter their economic situation.

Nature’s Path Foods, one of the first certified organic companies in North America and, ironically, a founder of Organic Merchants in 1971, a predecessor of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), has just resigned from the OTA. They did this in protest of OTA’s new agenda that supports a vague and misleading national GMO labeling law, and allows hydroponics to fall under the organic certification label regardless of using no organic agriculture or soil. The company plans to continue to invest in farming, research and associations that best reflect its vision for how organic can protect and enhance the health of both people and planet.


Other articles of interest in this Summer 2018 TMIS eNewsletter:

* New web-based National Resilience Strategy Blueprint has been launched to help communities deal with drug, alcohol and suicide crises.

* Farm Aid issues a statement on the CDC’s retraction of farmer suicide statistics, claiming that farmer stress, mental health and suicide are still serious issues needing to continue to be priorities.

* Cox Conserves Heroes program opens national competition to award $130,000 to local environmental nonprofits.

* Award-winning landscape designer selects top five plants to thrive in the heatwave.

* Mind-blowing research, including new understanding of enhanced senses and schizophrenia, is changing the landscape of brain science.

* Three-quarters of both NRA and Greenpeace members believe in rewarding clean energy producers, and both Red (77%) and Blue (80%) states overwhelmingly support government incentives for renewable energy businesses.

* Company sees possible access to universal donor stem cells to treat cancer associated cachexia under “Right to Try” law.


I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary Michele McLaughlin

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