Twenty patients with various end-stage cancers were given 500 mg twice daily for 6 months. After 6 months 16 patients were still alive with a statistically significant increase in both NK function and TNF-alpha levels. Haemoglobin, haematocrit and glutathione levels were all greatly increased (See et al 2002). Although these results are interesting it is difficult to examine the direct effect of Andrographis paniculata as many other nutritional supplements were given concurrently.
In vitro experiments have demonstrated the possible benefits of andrographolide on various cancer cells. The compound has been shown to increase apoptosis of prostate cancer cells (Kim et al 2005), inhibit proliferation of human cancer cells and increase IL-2 induction in human peripheral blood lymphocytes in vitro (Kumar et al 2004, Rajagopal et al 2003). However, contradictory results have been described from a murine model. Andrographolide was found to decrease IFN-gamma and IL-2 production and therefore shown to have an immunosuppressive effect. Burgos et al (2005) concluded that andrographis may be useful for autoimmune disease, especially where high levels of IFN-gamma are present, for example, in multiple sclerosis and RA. In vitro and in vivo data has recently shown that andrographolide has the ability to interfere with T-cell proliferation, cytokine release and maturation of dendritic cells, as well as drastically decreasing the antibody response in delayed-type hypersensitivity (Iruretagoyena et al 2005). Additionally, andrographolide demonstrated a capacity to inhibit T-cell and antibody responses in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice and protect against myelin sheath damage.
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