Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can A Plant That Acts Like Poison Ivy Cure Prostate Cancer?

Date:
March 18, 2004
Source:
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
Summary:
A shrub found in Southeast Asia can give you a rash like poison ivy; but it may also stop prostate cancer.

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. – A shrub found in Southeast Asia can give you a rash like poison ivy; but it may also stop prostate cancer.

The croton plant, long known to oriental herbalists and homeopaths as a purgative, has an oil in its seeds that shows promise for the treatment of prostate cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States. The active ingredient in the oil is 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate, a compound generally known as TPA.

The finding was reported in the March 1, 2004, issue of Cancer Research by Xi Zheng, Allan Conney and other scientists at the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ).

"We demonstrated that TPA could simultaneously stop the growth of new prostate cancer cells, kill existing cancer cells and ultimately shrink prostate tumors," said Conney, the William M. and Myrle W. Garbe Professor of Cancer and Leukemia Research at Rutgers' Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, and a member of CINJ.

In addition to studies on the effect of TPA alone, the researchers also tested TPA in combination with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), a vitamin A derivative previously shown to be effective in treating leukemia.

"We knew that ATRA is an effective synergist with TPA in treating leukemia cells in the laboratory, but prostate cancer is a different situation, probably involving different molecular mechanisms," Conney said.

The studies by Zheng and Conney are the first to show an impressive synergy between TPA and ATRA in inhibiting the growth of cultured prostate cancer cells and the first to assess their combined effects, and the effects of TPA alone, on human tumors grown in mice.

Scientists, intrigued by the skin-irritating property of croton seed oil, demonstrated more than 50 years ago that croton oil and its constituent TPA promoted tumors in laboratory animals following the introduction of a strong carcinogen at a low dose. Subsequent laboratory tests, however, produced dramatically different outcomes.

"It turned out that extremely low concentrations of TPA had an extraordinarily potent effect on myeloid leukemia cells, causing them to revert to normal cell behavior," Conney explained.

However, it was a long time before anyone acknowledged that TPA could actually do good things for people, Conney observed.

Investigators at China's Henan Tumor Research Institute and Rutgers, interested in the potential beneficial effects of TPA, began a collaborative study in 1995. When TPA was administered to terminally ill myeloid leukemia patients in China, the number of leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow decreased and there were remissions of the disease.

"We are clearly encouraged by our laboratory results with TPA and ATRA on prostate cancer cells," Conney said. "Our studies are an important early step in a long process, and we are planning additional testing in humans. Further research with these compounds and others could provide hope for the half million new cases of prostate cancer each year."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Can A Plant That Acts Like Poison Ivy Cure Prostate Cancer?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040318073044.htm>.
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. (2004, March 18). Can A Plant That Acts Like Poison Ivy Cure Prostate Cancer?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040318073044.htm
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Can A Plant That Acts Like Poison Ivy Cure Prostate Cancer?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040318073044.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins