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Old 05-26-2010, 05:55 AM
HealthyMomma's Avatar
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Exclamation The "Resveratrol" drug is NOT Resveratrol!

Some of you have been asking about the May 4th 2010 announcement by GlaxoSmithKline that they were suspending a clinical trial of their resveratrol drug because of safety concerns.

Some of the articles went so far to say that people should be cautious about taking resveratrol supplements until these safety issues had been resolved.

Let me make this perfectly clear!

The "resveratrol" drug referred to in these articles is not resveratrol itself!

But let's start at the beginning.

The story started when scientists at Harvard screened over 500,000 chemicals to find which would be most effective at turning on anti-aging genes.

They were looking for a drug that they could patent and sell to a drug company for big bucks - not a naturally occurring botanical nutrient.

But what they found was that resveratrol, a nutrient that is found naturally in red wine, was the most effective compound out of those 500,000 that they screened at turning on the anti-aging genes.

That was great news for those of you who are using resveratrol supplements, but it was bad news for them because they couldn't patent it and, therefore, couldn't sell it to a drug company.

But all was not lost. There is a time-tested process for dealing with this dilemma.

You just make a chemically modified derivative of the natural compound and, if it works, you patent the chemical derivative and sell it to a drug company.

So that's what the scientists at Harvard did. They made a chemical derivative of resveratrol called SRT501, showed that it also turned on the anti-aging genes, patented it and sold it to Sirtris Pharmaceuticals for $500 million. Sirtris, in turn, sold it to GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million.

As I said, this is a frequently used process. Many successful drugs have been obtained this way, but the process is also fraught with perils.

The problem is that the chemically modified derivative is often not metabolized in the same way as the original and frequently can be toxic in unexpected ways.

In fact, the failure rate for this process is quite high. Most of the chemical derivatives fail during clinical trials for one reason or another. It is only on a very rare occasion that these chemically modified derivatives make it through clinical trials and become a successful drug.

Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that SRT501 displayed unexpected toxicity that caused GlaxoSmithKline to halt clinical trials of the drug.

But, SRT501 is not resveratrol and the toxicities of this drug have nothing to do with resveratrol.

Resveratrol is a completely natural nutrient found in grapes, red wine and other foods. SRT501 is a man-made chemical derivative of resveratrol.

Sometimes it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature!

To Your Health!
Dr. Stephen G Chantey
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