I try not to post a lot of wild, speculative information on this site. Too many readers rely on me to provide them with up to the minute more conventional medical news and views about multiple myeloma.
But in this next case, I am prepared to make an exception.
Researchers and myeloma specialists in New York have been studying the extract from sea cucumbers–collected in Australia–as an anti-multiple myeloma therapy.
More specifically, TBL-12 “is a blend of Sea Cucumber, Sea Sponge, Shark Fin, and Sea Urchin (animals that lives in the Pacific Ocean) as well as Sargassum (a plant that lives in the Pacific Ocean).”
Things have progressed to the point where the researchers are involved with an ongoing, Phase Two clinical trial, involving around 20 patients.
What makes this whole thing a bit “weird,” is the research path that the apparent owner of this sea cucumber compound, Sam Grant, has chosen to take.
Apparently, Mr. Grant is the owner of the Unicorn Pacific Corporation (Really?) which manufactures and distributes TBL-12 in Australia.
In order to help fund future trials, Mr. Grant hired a personable gentleman, Drew Shardlow, to set-up a website and start selling their product, TBL-12.
If you go to the company’s website: TBL-12.com, they explain that:
EDITOR’S NOTE: This link is temporarily inactive. Apparently TBL-12 is undergoing Stage 2 clinical trials. A notice onsite says:
Our Site is under Construction.
We currently have a Phase II Clinical Trial underway
( This can be viewed at: ClinicalTrials.gov )
and do not want any information on-line that may effect the outcome of these trials.
TBL-12 is used as an alternative or complementary cancer treatment due to its healing qualities. Our product contains 100% natural ingredients that have no known side effects, interactions with medications or toxins. TBL-12 contains powerful anti-inflammatory, marine invertebrate. It is currently involved in a number of clinical studies to prove its healing properties that our customers have enjoyed since 1981.
TBL-12 is classified as a nutraceutical which have the characteristics of both a nutrient and a pharmaceutical. Taken as dietary supplement, TBL-12 can modulate the symptoms of various disease conditions by providing the additional nutrients to your body to maintain well being.
What fascinates me about all of this is the blurred line between supplement and drug.
On one hand, the study(s) seems legit. Here is a link to a study about TBL-12, which was presented at ASH:
Here are their conclusions so far:
In this pilot study of high risk ASxMM patients, TBL12 was welltolerated and 11 patients (65%)remain on treatment. The expectedrate of progression for this population from diagnosis is 52%at 2 years, however, the median time to progression has notbeen yet reached in this study. Additional follow up is requiredand data will be updated at the annual meeting. The decreasein the rate of rise in the m-spike in a high risk patient concomitantwith the initiation of study treatment is suggestive of a biologiceffect of TBL12 in MM and warrants further study of TBL 12 ina larger cohort of patients.
Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
OK, then. Notice how I selected a cool blue color–like the sea!
All kidding aside, this seems pretty legit.
And if I could make a suggestion, shouldn’t TBL-12 be involved in combination studies, to see if it can enhance the effectiveness of established novel therapy agents like Revlimid and Velcade?
I’m sure money–or lack thereof–is a major stumbling block here. Which brings me to the unusual way that Unicorn Pacific is trying to make some as a way to fund their ongoing clinical trials.
Go to the company’s website and they are trying to sell you a three month supply of the stuff with a money back guarantee. At this point, I start to question things all over again…
This story has more twists and turns than a real, live sea cucumber. You can’t make this stuff up!
Am I being too hard on these guys?
Since I was having trouble deciding how to position this article, I emailed Drew for some clarification about raising funds and future research. Here is his response:
Thanks for getting back to me. I am a close friend of Sam Grant, the manufacture and distributor of TBL-12. His focus is on the research and studies of the product. He asked me to setup a product website and help him generate some sales to not only generate some revenue to help fund additional studies and grow the business/production capacity. He also offers the product free of charge to all locals in the pacific region who suffer from various cancers and immune disorders that do not have access to quality doctors that people like you and me take for granted which also puts pressure on costs.
Sam believes he can fund future studies, increase production capacity, continue the support for the local communities with the support of the online sales through the TBL-12 websites. Although the treatment is expensive we offer a 100% money back guarantee for the first 3 months. This gives people enough time to see if the treatment is improving their quality of life and condition. If they feel they have not seen any benefit from taking TBL-12 we will refund all of their money. We feel if people get to 3 months and see the improvements then they will most likely continue with the treatment.
I have meet the people in Australia that have used TBL-12 and had amazing results. It took Sam a long time to convince me about the treatment but the studies are beginning to prove his claims.
We believe that TBL-12 will be granted orphan drug status in the next couple of months which will begin to give the product the credibility we feel it deserves. Sam has some exciting news about the studies he is updating me with once he is back home on Monday. I will send you the details once I have spoken to him.
Please let me know if you require any additional information.
OK. Still a bit confused. But look at the bright side: At least the product/supplement/therapy–or whatever you call it– is available for use right now.
Hey… Many of us are critical about how nutritional supplements aren’t being tested and proven in clinical trials. At least these guys seem to be trying.
I never did click the magic “Try TBL-12 Now!” button to find out how much the stuff costs…
I would like you all to think about something that I feel is very important.
According to Drew and Mr. Grant, TBL-12 is like a modern day elixir or super supplement, capable of helping patients fight a wide variety of cancers.
So why did these guys pick multiple myeloma to proceed with their testing?
Here is a link back to a fascinating article in Nature, written by Cathryn Delude:
Ms Delude feels that:
“Multiple myeloma is the ideal disease to study a controversial theory about the biology of cancer — and how to cure it.”
Lots of info there to muse about, including this hopeful statement:
“Targeting cancer stem cells may turn short-term recoveries into long-term, disease-free survival.”
Hope so! But let’s return to the topic at hand.
My theory about why Unicorn Pacific Corp (Don’t you just love that name!) would chose to test their anti-cancer, deep sea wonder agent on multiple myeloma patients is much simpler.
I often kid how “Multiple Myeloma is so whimpy, baking soda can knock it down.”
Of course I go on to say, “But myeloma is relentless. It gets stronger with time and never goes away.”
I have also been making the point that multiple myeloma patients are fortunate for years. There seems to be a flood of new researchers joining our fight–far more than most other, uncommon cancers.
Why? Well, maybe baking soda can’t slow multiple myeloma down, but apparently sea cucumber extract–with the help of fluids from some of their little friends–can.
So why wouldn’t a start-up company or aspiring researcher pick multiple myeloma and start there?
Simple. Our cancer responds to a wide variety of therapies.
New drug works for a while–company sells-out to another larger company–everyone makes money.
And a lot of patients get much needed help and hopefully survival benefit as a result.
It’s a win/win isn’t it? Well, sort of. Now if one of these start-ups could only find a way to turn-off myeloma’s ability to morph and change and become resistant to any and all of these drugs which seem to work so well at the start.
That’s worth going to Australia for–or clicking-on that “Try TBL-12 Now!” button.
But I’m not going to try the stuff until these guys can prove to me that their “click-off my myeloma” button works just as well as their “Try TBL-12 Now–so we can take your money” button.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat