Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Traditional Medicine: Identifying Potential Cancer Treatments Of Herbal Origin

Date:
March 5, 2008
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Curing cancer with natural products -- a case for shamans and herbalists? Not at all, for many chemotherapies to fight cancer applied in modern medicine are natural products or were developed on the basis of natural substances. Thus, taxanes used in prostate and breast cancer treatment are made from yew trees. The popular periwinkle plant, which grows along the ground of many front yards, is the source of vinca alkaloids that are effective, for example, against malignant lymphomas. The modern anti-cancer drugs topotecan and irinotecan are derived from a constituent of the Chinese Happy Tree.

Curing cancer with natural products -- a case for shamans and herbalists? Not at all, for many chemotherapies to fight cancer applied in modern medicine are natural products or were developed on the basis of natural substances. Thus, taxanes used in prostate and breast cancer treatment are made from yew trees. The popular periwinkle plant, which grows along the ground of many front yards, is the source of vinca alkaloids that are effective, for example, against malignant lymphomas. The modern anti-cancer drugs topotecan and irinotecan are derived from a constituent of the Chinese Happy Tree.

Looking for new compounds, doctors and scientists are increasingly focusing on substances from plants used in traditional medicine. About three quarters of the natural pharmaceutical compounds commonly used today are derived from plants of the traditional medicine of the people in various parts of the world. The chances of finding new substances with interesting working profiles in traditional medicinal plants are better than in common-or-garden botany.

In his search for active ingredients, Professor Dr. Thomas Efferth of the DKFZ has been concentrating on herbal remedies from traditional Chinese medicine with particularly well documented application range. Working together with colleagues in Mainz and Dόsseldorf, Germany, Graz, Austria and Kunming in China, he launched a systematic compound search in 76 Chinese medicinal plants that are believed to be effective against malignant tumors and other growths.

Extracts from 18 of the plants under investigation were found to substantially suppress the growth of a cancer cell line in the culture dish. "With this success rate of about 24 percent, we are way above the results that could be expected from searching through large chemical substance libraries," Thomas Efferth explains.

The scientists proceeded to chemically separate, step by step, all active extracts, tracing the active component after each separation step by cell tests. The chemical structure of the compounds is analyzed using nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy. "We are combining natural substance research with advanced analytical and molecular-biological methods", Efferth explains. "Plant constituents that seem particularly promising are immediately subjected to further tests."

Such constituents include, for example, substances derived from the Rangoon Creeper, an ornamental plant with red flowers, or from Red-Root Sage. The latter contains three ingredients with powerful anti-tumor activity. The substances were found to suppress the growth of a specific tumor cell line that is particularly resistant to many commonly used cytotoxins due to overproduction of a transport protein in the cell wall. In contrast, a whole range of standard anti-cancer drugs fail to be effective against this cell.

„We can expect to find many interesting, yet unknown working mechanisms among the chemically highly diverse natural substances. Currently, we are aligning the effectiveness of the substances on 60 different cancer cell lines with the gene activity profiles of these cells. Thus, we can determine the exact gene products that are the cellular targets of our compounds. Thereby, it may be possible to discover whole new Achilles' heels of the cancer cell," said Efferth describing the next steps.

Journal reference: Thomas Efferth, Stefan Kahl, Kerstin Paulus, Michael Adams, Rolf Rauh, Herbert Boechzelt, Xiaojiang Hao, Bernd Kaina and Rudolf Bauer: Phytochemistry and Pharmacogenomics of Natural products derived from traditional Chinese medica with activity against tumor cells. Molecular Cancer Therapy 7 (1) 2008, page 152

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Traditional Medicine: Identifying Potential Cancer Treatments Of Herbal Origin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304120755.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2008, March 5). Traditional Medicine: Identifying Potential Cancer Treatments Of Herbal Origin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304120755.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Traditional Medicine: Identifying Potential Cancer Treatments Of Herbal Origin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304120755.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
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