Traditional Chinese medicine is world renowned. It has effects on some diseases, but the reason is still unknown. One such article was recently reported in the November 7 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology dealing with the great significance of a Chinese medicinal compound, "delisheng", for the therapy of HCC and its neoteric research method. The research team was led by Dr. Ke-Jun Nan from The First Affiliated Hospital of The School of Medicine of Xi'an Jiaotong University, China. This research will undoubtedly bring comfort to many researchers and patients.
HCC is a highly malignant tumor with a very high morbidity and mortality. Despite extensive efforts by many investigators, systemic chemotherapy for HCC has been quite ineffective. Delisheng is a Chinese medicinal compound and is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy for HCC, with satisfactory results. The researchers tried to establish the mechanisms for these effects of delisheng on HCC.
Three-dimensional cell culture has been widely used for studying the various molecular processes, because spheroids mimic solid tumors more closely than monolayers. Therefore, the use of three-dimensional culture provides a model for the development of anti-cancer drugs. In this study, cells were cultured with a liquid overlay technique. After the formation of multicellular spheroids, they used the model to perform their experiments.
One conclusion reported by the investigators is that three-dimensional cell culture is suitable for the study of a traditional Chinese medicinal compound, and this may help other researchers to find a better model for drug development. Another interesting conclusion is that delisheng had satisfactory anti-cancer effects on HCC, and these were associated with the up-regulation of endostatin. This was made possible by one of delisheng¡¯s components, ginseng, and this may provide a new method of therapy for HCC.
Thus three-dimensional cell culture has been widely used for studying the various molecular processes and the development of therapy in recent years; this is the first reported finding in which the model can be used for studying traditional Chinese medicine. Furthermore, the view that the satisfactory effects of delisheng were associated with the up-regulation of endostatin made possible by ginseng might inspire other researchers.
The results of this study suggest a promising future for many researchers and HCC patients. First, it provides a new model to study traditional Chinese medicine. Second, it introduces the Chinese medicinal compound delisheng and indicates its further applications.
Reference: Cui J, Nan KJ, Tian T, Guo YH, Zhao N, Wang L.Chinese medicinal compound delisheng has satisfactory anti-tumor activity, and is associated with up-regulation of endostatin in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2 in three-dimensional culture. World J Gastroenterol 2007; 13(41): 5432-5439
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