Garlic Repels More Than Vampires

Oct 24, 2023

Inspired by the likes of Blade, Buffy, Van Helsing, and Abraham Lincoln (who weirdly dispatches bloodsuckers in an excellent novel and a movie) this Halloween we plan to dress up as Vampire Hunters.

If vampires are a metaphor for diseases like cancer that feed off the blood and tissues of its hosts, as some literary scholars claim, then Vampire Hunters/Slayers are perhaps analogous to drug developers whose aim is to eliminate disease.

So, in other words, not really a stretch for us.

Besides fire, wooden stakes, crosses, mirrors, and sunlight, one of the most effective deterrents in the Vampire Hunter arsenal is garlic, a rich source of sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds are precursors for the synthesis of reduced glutathione (GSH).

GSH is a major antioxidant that protects cells against free radical damage.

The lead EpicentRx small molecule, RRx-001/nibrozetone, is a stimulator of the protein, Nrf2. The activity of Nrf2 includes the synthesis of GSH.

In the PREVLAR clinical trial, the addition of RRx-001/nibrozetone to chemotherapy and radiation in locally advanced head and neck cancer potentially protected against several toxicities including severe oral mucositis, which led to the award of FDA Fast Track status.

Likewise, in mice, RRx-001/nibrozetone significantly mitigates the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS/MND, as well as endometriosis.

The central mechanisms of protection involve Nrf2 stimulation as well as nitric oxide release under low oxygen conditions, and direct inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a protein complex that starts up and maintains an inflammatory response.

So, this Halloween any serious Vampire Hunters would do well to wear not garlic, whose strong smell will likely also ward off innocent trick-or-treaters, but RRx-001/nibrozetone, which is potent but never pungent.