Understanding the many benefits of cannabis in cancer treatment


Image: Understanding the many benefits of cannabis in cancer treatment

A cancer diagnosis is both devastating and terrifying. Patients are almost always directed towards conventional cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and are made to feel that any other, more “natural” treatments are not only ineffective but dangerous.

The truth is, however, that mainstream cancer treatments wreak havoc on the body, leaving it defenseless against disease and breaking it down at the exact time when it needs to be as strong as possible. With its less than impressive success rate of between 2 and 4 percent, along with its devastating effects on the body, it is unsurprising that three out of every four doctors say they would refuse chemotherapy as a treatment option if they themselves became ill.

While doctors like to promote the idea that there are no treatments scientifically proven to work besides the usual surgery/chemotherapy/radiation regimen, the truth is there is a strong body of evidence that many natural, non-invasive treatments are effective in the fight against cancer. One of the most well-researched and solidly proven of all these natural medicines is cannabis.

The miraculous power of cannabinoids

As noted by Dr. Mark Sircus, writing for Green Med Info, there is no confusion about whether marijuana is an effective cancer treatment. Cannabis has been scientifically proven to kill cancer cells without the devastating and body weakening effects of conventional cancer treatments.

The marijuana plant contains about 113 powerful chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. The most well-known of these compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the chemical that induces marijuana’s “high” – and cannabidiol – a non-psychoactive compound which has been extensively studied as a cure for many diseases.

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These and other cannabinoids are what make marijuana such a potent anti-cancer treatment, as reported by Green Med Info:

Cannabinoids are found to exert their anti-cancer effects in a number of ways and in a variety of tissues.

  • Triggering cell death, through a mechanism called apoptosis
  • Stopping cells from dividing
  • Preventing new blood vessels from growing into tumors
  • Reducing the chances of cancer cells spreading through the body, by stopping cells from moving or invading neighboring tissue
  • Speeding up the cell’s internal ‘waste disposal machine’ – a process known as autophagy – which can lead to cell death

All these effects are thought to be caused by cannabinoids locking onto the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Almost daily we are seeing new or confirming evidence that Cannibinoids can be used to great benefit in cancer treatment of many types.

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What the science says

Scientific studies published in a host of peer-reviewed journals have confirmed marijuana’s powerful ability to fight breast, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and other cancers.

A meta-analysis of over 100 published studies, performed by researchers from Germany’s Rostock University Medical Centre, concluded that cannabis both boosts immunity and fights cancer.

The Daily Mail reported:

Scientists are calling for more studies to be done on humans after studying the cancer-fighting effects of chemicals in the drug.

Studies suggest chemicals called phytocannabinoids could stop cancer cells multiplying and spreading, block the blood supply to tumors, and reduce cancer’s ability to survive chemotherapy. …

The new research review admits cannabis has ‘anti-cancer effects’ and says more research needs to be done in real patients to confirm the findings.

It takes real courage to receive a cancer diagnosis and decide not to follow mainstream advice but seek alternative treatments. But even for those who choose to receive conventional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, cannabis can still be an important part of their overall wellness plan. As Dr. Sircus admonishes, “Every cancer patient and every oncologist should put medical marijuana on their treatment maps.”

Here’s what research shows about the mental health benefits of ginger


Image: Here’s what research shows about the mental health benefits of ginger

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that also offers other health benefits. In fact, the versatile plant can even help boost your mental health.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) comes from the rhizome or root of a flowering plant native to China, but the spice can grow in any area that is warm and humid. Aside from its use as a natural remedy for digestive disorders, ginger can also be used to address arthritis, memory loss and dementia, and muscle aches and pains.

Thanks to scientific research, experts are beginning to understand how ginger works. To date, research has identified over 100 compounds in ginger. More than 50 of these are antioxidants, which is crucial to brain health since the organ is vulnerable to free radical damage.

Ginger is often used as an anti-inflammatory, making it a popular natural remedy for arthritis. The plant’s anti-inflammatory property can also help people with brain disorders like ADHD, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, brain fog, and depression, which are often associated with chronic inflammation of the brain. Experts believe that ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects on the brain are due to two unique compounds called 6-shogaol and 10-gingerol.

Like the Indian spice turmeric, ginger also has a compound called curcumin. This compound is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral. Curcumin is a potent herbal brain supplement ingredient that can help address anxiety, brain aging, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases. (Related: What Happens To Your Body When You Start Eating Ginger Every Day.)

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Ginger for brain health

Your body is constantly under attack from oxidative stress. Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons, and electrons can often be found in pairs. These atoms, called free radicals, scavenge the body to find other electrons so they can become a pair. When these atoms are paired, they cause damage to cells, DNA, and proteins. Studies show that free radicals are linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, and Parkinson’s, among others.

Your brain is prone to free radical damage since it requires a lot of oxygen. Free radicals are caused by common factors like:

  • Air pollution
  • Fried food
  • Grilled meat
  • Lack of sleep
  • Radiation from your mobile phone and computer
  • Stress

Antioxidants in ginger can also protect the brain from further damage and memory loss after a stroke.

Ginger increases the level of two of the most important brain chemicals: dopamine and serotonin. Depression is strongly associated with deficient levels of both chemicals.

Dopamine is called the “motivation molecule” because it helps you focus and be productive. Dopamine is also in charge of your pleasure-reward system. Meanwhile, serotonin is known as the “happiness molecule” because it helps sustain a positive mood.

The spice is traditionally used to treat memory loss and dementia and research has determined that ginger can help improve other cognitive functions besides memory. According to a study, healthy adults given dried ginger supplements showed improvements in attention, reaction time, and working memory.

People with diabetes also rely on ginger as a natural remedy because it can help control blood sugar, especially if you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Ginger has antioxidants called gingerols that enhance insulin sensitivity and prevent certain neurological diabetic complications.

Ginger is an effective remedy that can minimize the pain of migraine headaches. The spice has similar effects to sumatriptan, a commonly prescribed migraine drug that narrows blood vessels to the brain. But unlike sumatriptan, which is associated with negative side effects, ginger can relieve migraines without any side effects.

Suggested ginger dosages

Ginger, which comes in many forms, can be used as a food and as a supplement. Ginger supplements are available as capsules, crystals, essential oils, extracts, loose powder, and tinctures.

A typical dose of ginger is one gram, and the best way to ingest this dose is by taking two ginger capsules. Most supplements contain at 500 milligrams (mg) per capsule.

Below are some ginger dosage equivalents:

  • One teaspoon of fresh, grated ginger root
  • Two droppers (or two milliliters [ml]) of liquid ginger extract
  • Two pieces of crystallized ginger (about a one-inch square and 1/4 inch thick for each piece)
  • Four cups of ginger tea (Make the tea by steeping two teaspoons of grated ginger in 32 ounces of water for five to 10 minutes.)

Possible ginger side effects and interactions

When consumed as a food, especially fresh, ginger is considered very safe with little to no side effects. However, when too much ginger is consumed in other forms, especially powdered ginger, it may cause side effects such as bloating, gas, heartburn, and nausea.

Ginger also functions as a blood thinner. Avoid taking it as a supplement if you take blood-thinning medication such as warfarin. If you take diabetes or high blood pressure medications, talk to a healthcare professional to determine adjustments to your medication if you want to take supplemental ginger.

Ginger is a versatile herbal remedy that can help relieve digestive upset, and it also offers various benefits for brain health and function. Add fresh ginger to your diet or take it as a supplement to enjoy its many benefits and improve both your physical and mental well-being.

Visit Healing.news to read more articles about ginger and other natural cures that can help improve your mental health.

Sources include:

BeBrainFit.com

LiveScience.com

Scientists study Canadian medicinal plants to explore natural cures for diabetes


Image: Scientists study Canadian medicinal plants to explore natural cures for diabetes

Diabetes is a complex disease that leads to a wide variety of complications, one of the most common of which is diabetic nephropathy (DN) or kidney damage. A team of researchers from Canada sought to identify natural extracts, found in the eastern James Bay area, with potent anti-apoptotic properties that can prevent kidney cell death characteristic of DN. Their study was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

When it was first recorded in ancient Egypt, diabetes was considered mainly a rare disease. Today, it has exploded into a worldwide epidemic, with about 422 million sufferers on the planet in 2014. The prevalence of the disease is known to be spreading steadily, particularly in mid- to low-income countries.

One of the most dangerous complications of diabetes is DN, which is usually a precursor to kidney failure when left unaddressed. It is just one of the many results of the abnormal apoptotic process that occurs as a result of diabetes.

Apoptosis or cellular death is a natural process that’s essential to the continued balance of the human body. Because of it, old, dysfunctional cells are replaced by new ones. A proof of its importance is how its absence can cause the development of severe diseases, such as cancer.

But as with everything, too much apoptosis is hardly a good thing. In diabetes, the cells go through apoptosis at an abnormal rate. It usually starts with the death of the pancreatic beta cells, the cells responsible for producing the hormone insulin. The insufficiency in insulin results in a jump in blood glucose levels, which leads to more cellular death. Apart from kidney cells, those in the liver and the nervous system are also at a considerable risk.

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DN is one of the most common offshoots of diabetes among the people of the Cree nation in Canada, according to the study’s authors. This has prompted them to look into potential natural treatments that are readily available in the area. They compiled a list of 17 plant species:

  • Balsam fir – Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.
  • Speckled alder – Alnus incana subsp. rugosa (Du Roi) R.T. Clausen
  • Creeping snowberry – Gaultheria hispidula (L.) Muhl.
  • Ground juniper – Juniperus communis L.
  • Sheep Laurel – Kalmia angustifolia L.
  • Tamarack – Larix laricina Du Roi (K. Koch)
  • Common clubmoss – Lycopodium clavatum L.
  • White spruce – Picea glauca (Moench) Voss
  • Black spruce – Picea mariana (P. Mill.) BSP
  • Jack pine – Pinus banksiana Lamb.
  • Balsam poplar – Populus balsamifera L.
  • Labrador tea – Rhododendron groenlandicum (Oeder) Kron and Judd
  • Northern Labrador tea – Rhododendron tomentosum (Stokes) Harmaja subsp. subarcticum (Harmaja) G. Wallace
  • Tealeaf willow – Salix planifolia Pursh
  • Pitcher plant – Sarracenia purpurea L.
  • Showy mountain ash – Sorbus decora (Sarg.) C.K. Schneid.
  • Mountain cranberry – Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.

Extracts were obtained from specific parts of the different plants. The researchers then took cultures of Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells, which are cells from a cocker spaniel that are used for biological studies involving the kidneys. They induced damage on the MDCK cells by the administration of a hypertonic medium. This particular step was performed in the presence or absence of each of the 17 plant extracts’ maximal nontoxic concentrations. After 18 hours of treatment, the cells were examined to determine the cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic effects of the extracts. The researchers then looked at the effect of the treatment on the activity of caspases-3, -8, and -9, all of which play an important role in apoptosis.

After the test, the researchers identified Gaultheria hispidula and Abies balsamea as having the most potent cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic effects. The said extracts prevented apoptosis by blocking the activity of caspase-9 in the mitochondrial apoptotic signaling pathway.

Curcumin reduces the effects of a high-fat diet


Image: Curcumin reduces the effects of a high-fat diet

Diets high in fat are known as major contributors to many health diseases, such as heart disease, and cancer. Researchers at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in India discovered that taking curcumin supplements minimizes the damage caused by a high-fat diet.

In their study, the researchers looked at the beneficial effects of curcumin on inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance in high-fat-fed rats. They examined two groups of rats: one group fed with a high-fat diet only and another group given a high-fat diet with 200 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) body weight of curcumin every day for 10 weeks.

The researchers measured the rats’ food intake, body weight, and biochemical parameters at the start and the end of the study. After 10 weeks, they also measured the oxidative stress parameters in skeletal muscle and liver triglyceride levels.

The results revealed that the high-fat diet increased the body weight and liver fat. It also increased the levels of plasma glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-c), and decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

The high-fat diet also increased inflammation and oxidative stress in skeletal muscles. It also increased liver triglyceride content and caused fat buildup in the liver.

However, the supplementation with curcumin significantly improved these changes. Curcumin supplementation significantly reduced body weight, liver adipose tissue, glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance. In addition, it decreased plasma levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, VLDL-c, and inflammatory markers, and increased HDL cholesterol. Moreover, it reduced oxidative stress, hepatic triglyceride content, and liver fat deposition.

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With these findings, the researchers concluded that curcumin could improve lipid levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance caused by a high-fat diet.

Curcumin and turmeric

Curcumin is the active ingredient of the spice called turmeric and is responsible for most of the spice’s health benefits. It takes up about two to eight percent of most turmeric preparations and gives turmeric its distinct color and flavor.  Here are some health benefits of turmeric and curcumin backed up by scientific evidence:

  • Cancer: One of the most notable benefits of turmeric and curcumin is their ability to prevent cancer. Turmeric and curcumin may help prevent cancer by reducing the activity of colon and other cancer cells. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that curcumin inhibits to the DYRK2 enzyme. Inhibiting this enzyme stops protein complexes known as proteasomes that contribute to cancer development. This action interrupts the proliferation of cancer cells, reducing tumors, and slowing cancer’s growth. This is beneficial for preventing proteasome-addicted cancers, such as triple-negative breast cancer and multiple myeloma.
  • Antibacterial: Turmeric and curcumin have powerful antibacterial effects. They have been reported to inhibit the growth of many disease-causing bacteria.
  • Antifungal: Studies have also reported that turmeric and curcumin have antifungal effects. They can disrupt fungal cell membranes and could be used with other fungal medicines for better effect.
  • Diabetes: Turmeric and curcumin can improve blood sugar metabolism and potentially reduce the effects of diabetes in the body.
  • Heart disease: As mentioned in the Indian study, curcumin reduced bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. These effects, which were also seen in earlier studies, can cut the risk of heart disease.
  • Liver health: Turmeric and curcumin can also protect the liver from damage caused by oxidative stress.
  • Obesity: Research has shown that turmeric and curcumin may inhibit the inflammatory pathway related to obesity and may help control body fat.
  • Osteoarthritis: Plant compounds in turmeric, including curcumin, can decrease inflammatory markers and relieve osteoarthritis symptoms, such as pain and stiffness.

Here are some natural interventions that slow down (and sometimes even reverse) cataracts


Image: Here are some natural interventions that slow down (and sometimes even reverse) cataracts

Regardless of your actual age, your eyes are often the last thing that stays young. However, this is only possible if you regularly follow a healthy diet.

Preventing and reversing cataracts

While cataracts are linked to poorer eyesight and even blindness, they are believed to be an inevitable part of aging. However, certain modifiable risk factors and natural interventions may help slow and even reverse this condition.

  1. Curcumin (turmeric extract) – There is significant data that confirms the health benefits of curcumin in the animal model of cataract formation. Study data revealed that curcumin, a highly therapeutic polyphenol that’s responsible for turmeric’s bright yellow color, can help prevent the formation of cataracts.
  2. Don’t use cholesterol-lowering statin drugs – For more than 20 years, data from animal research has determined that statin drugs are linked to cataracts. In the post-marketing surveillance of statin drug users, findings have shown that when taken, “either alone or in combination with other drugs which inhibit their metabolism,” the drugs increase the risk of cataracts in individuals who take them. An identified mechanism for the cataractogenic potential of these drugs is the fact that they can gain systemic distribution in the body, which happens when they pass through the blood-brain-barrier and enter the eye itself, specifically, the outer cortical region of the lens where cholesterol synthesis is critical. This mechanism is responsible for the damage in the lens. (Related: 8 Eye issues you can’t afford to ignore.)
  3. Lutein – According to a two-year double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study, lutein can help improve visual function in individuals with age-related cataracts. Sources of lutein include egg yolks, kale, and marigold.
  4. Wheatgrass – Data from a 2005 study, which was titled “Aging reversibility: from thymus graft to vegetable extract treatment — application to cure an age-associated pathology” and published in the journal Biogerontology, wheatgrass can potentially reverse lens opacity linked to cataracts. Researchers explained that for the study, the lens opacity of old dogs who received oral dosages of wheatgrass for one month was measured before and after the treatment. The results revealed that there was a 25 to 40 percent reduction of lens opacity. The study authors posited that the wheat sprouts can help in “the recovery of age-related alterations and in treating age-associated pathologies” because they contain “regulatory acid peptides, a remarkable level of highly energetic phosphoric radicals and antioxidant molecules. These compounds in wheatgrass can potentially help reduce lens opacity.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are dense and cloudy areas that can form in the lens of your eye. A cataract often develops when proteins in your eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to your retina.

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The retina works by turning the light that comes through the lens into signals. The signals are then sent to the optic nerve, which is finally sent to the brain.

A cataract forms slowly and in time, it will interfere with your vision. You might get cataracts in both eyes, but they rarely form simultaneously.

Older people often develop cataracts. The National Eye Institute reports that more than 50 percent of individuals in the U.S. have cataracts or have undergone cataract surgery the moment they turn 80 years old.

Some common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision in the affected eye
  • Frequently needing changes in prescription glasses
  • Halos surrounding lights
  • Increased sensitivity to glare
  • Trouble seeing at night

Some underlying causes of cataracts may include:

  • Certain diseases (e.g., diabetes)
  • The long-term use of steroids and other medications
  • Radiation therapy
  • Smoking
  • Trauma
  • Ultraviolet radiation

Don’t wait until your eyesight starts to worsen. Follow a healthy diet today to delay and maybe even reverse your cataracts.

Find more ways of taking care of your eyes naturally at Healing.news.

Sources include:

GreenMedInfo.com

Healthline.com

Why do Rastafarians use marijuana in their religion?


Image: Why do Rastafarians use marijuana in their religion?

Rastafarians are associated with reggae music, dreadlocks, Bob Marley and of course marijuana. Rastas often refer to weed as “The Holy Herb” and consider it to be sacred. Do Rastas smoke marijuana just to get high, or does it have some other meaning in their culture and religion?

The Rastafari religion is stereotyped as having members who are constantly stoned and that the whole movement is, in fact, just an excuse to smoke a lot of pot. In fact, it is seen by many as a cover for nothing more than a bunch of drug users and drug smugglers.

Rastafarians – what their religion teaches them about marijuana

Marijuana’s use as part of religious ceremonies is not new. The practice goes back for thousands of years in a variety of cultures. For example, in India and Nepal, traveling monks have used marijuana for centuries, and other religious groups have also used marijuana or viewed the substance as sacred, including the ancient Chinese, ancient Germanic pagans and Hindus. Many Rastafarians believe that cannabis originated in Africa and that it is part of their African culture that they are reclaiming.

Rastafarians feel that marijuana is important for their understanding of self, the universe and God. The use of cannabis is part of what the Rastafari refer to as “reasoning sessions” where members join up and are encouraged to interact and discuss life according to the Rasta perspective. Rastafarians reject materialism, oppression and sensual pleasures, called “Babylon.” In fact, they see the marijuana plant as the “Tree of Life” mentioned in the Bible and often quote scriptures that support their beliefs. For example, at Revelation 22:2, the phrase “the leaves of the tree [of life] were for the healing of the nations” refers to the marijuana plant, according to them. While marijuana use forms part of their beliefs, it is not compulsory for a Rastafarian to smoke it.

Rastas fight for the right to use marijuana as part of their religion

In South Africa, Rastafarian lawyer Gareth Prince has been challenging legislation that outlaws dagga (South African word for “marijuana”), notes LegalBrief.co.za, citing a report in The Mercury. Prince has that requested certain sections of the Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act and the Criminal Procedure Act be declared invalid, among other things.

Prince himself faces criminal charges in the Khayelitsha Regional Court for dagga possession, dealing and cultivation. He questioned to what extent the government could dictate what people ate, drank and smoked. The case has been postponed.

In the US, government and corporate propaganda has caused marijuana to be seen as a dangerous drug that should be illegal, although many states have now legalized the plant for medicinal use and some states for recreational use. A massive number of people in the US have been sentenced to prison for possession ofhealth-promoting marijuana, even in cases where they have claimed that they use the substance for religious or spiritual reasons.

Cancer: Herbal medicine reduces chemotherapy toxicity


CancerHerbal medicine reduces chemotherapy toxicity

The toxic side effects of anticancer drugs can be a major limitation to their effective use, as well as seriously affecting quality of life. Now, Lam and colleagues report the beneficial effects of a herbal mixture known as PHY906 in reducing the gastrointestinal toxicity associated with the DNA topoisomerase inhibitor irinotecan, which is a second-line treatment for colon and rectal carcinomas.

Diarrhoea and nausea are common side effects of irinotecan, and ulceration and intestinal bleeding can occur following its administration as the drug causes cell death and inflammation in the intestine. However, current approaches to manage these toxicities have limited effectiveness.

PHY906, which is derived from an ancient Chinese medicine used to treat nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, has been shown to reduce diarrhoea and nausea in initial trials in patients receiving irinotecan. It consists of a mixture of four herbs, quality controlled for consistency.

To investigate how PHY906 relieves irinotecan-induced intestinal damage, the authors used a mouse model of colorectal cancer. Tumour-bearing mice were treated with irinotecan in combination with PHY906 for 4 days. PHY906 treatment alone did not inhibit tumour growth but it potentiated the antitumour activity of irinotecan and decreased the weight loss associated with its use. In addition, PHY906 promoted the recovery and regeneration of intestinal cells that were damaged by irinotecan.

Further investigations showed that although PHY906 did not prevent irinotecan-induced DNA damage in intestinal cells, it reduced the number of apoptotic cells and increased the number of proliferative cells in the intestine following irinotecan treatment. PHY906 also promoted the expression of intestinal progenitor or stem cell markers, such as CD44, leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 5 and ASCL2, following irinotecan treatment.

Stimulation of the Wnt signalling pathway may be implicated in the observed regeneration of intestinal cells, as PHY906 increased the expression of key Wnt constituents, including WNT3, frizzled 5 and low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5, following irinotecan administration. Studies in human embryonic kidney 293 cells also showed increased WNT3A activity following PHY906 treatment.

Finally, the authors sowed that PHY906 inhibited several steps of irinotecan-provoked inflammation. PHY906 treatment blocked the infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages and reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumour necrosis factor-α, in the intestine. Particular elements of PHY906 were also discovered to potently inhibit nuclear factor-κB and its downstream mediators cyclooxygenase 2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase.

So, although PHY906 does not provide protection from chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal damage, it does stimulate the recovery of intestinal cells by promoting progenitor cell repopulation and inhibiting inflammatory responses. This study highlights the potential value of traditional herbal medicines for which consistent manufacturing protocols can be established, and illustrates the likely mechanistic basis of such products — the modulation of multiple biological activities by multiple components of the medicines — which might provide therapeutic effects that are not currently achievable with conventional drugs.

source:Nature