Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Re-purposed Malaysian Folk Medication Reduces Resistance To Cancer Treatments

Date:
June 17, 2008
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
The development of resistance to anticancer chemotherapeutic agents remains a large problem. In some cases, such resistance is associated with altered control of a cellular process known as translation. Researchers have now identified a drug that inhibits translation and can enhance the sensitivity of mouse cancer cells to standard anticancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Researchers from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine have discovered a compound that reduces resistance to chemotherapy agents used to treat cancer.

Dr. Jerry Pelletier, PhD candidate Marie-Eve Bordeleau, and post-doctoral fellow Francis Robert, of the Department of Biochemistry and the McGill Cancer Centre – along with colleagues from Boston University, the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the University of Vienna and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute – conducted an extensive study on a class of natural products known as cyclopenta benzofuran flavaglines (CBF).

Working with mice genetically modified to mimic human leukemias, they discovered that one particular CBF compound, silvestrol, can effectively re-sensitize tumors to chemotherapy, making them susceptible to the killing effects of anticancer drugs.

“One of the major problems with cancer therapy is that the tumours either fail to respond or stop responding over time to various chemotherapy drugs,” Pelletier said. “One reasonable explanation for why this happens is the normal process of protein synthesis in the cell is usurped, principally because cancer cells grow faster and have higher metabolic needs. The normal checks and balances are no longer present.”

Pelletier’s lab at the Department of Biochemistry and McGill Cancer Centre focuses on high-throughput assays of various compounds to determine their anti-cancer effectiveness. One that showed promise was silvestrol, a natural compound derived from Aglaia silvestris, a large genus of trees and shrubs found in Malaysia, South China and some Pacific islands. It has been used in Malaysian folk medicine for generations, but never as a cancer therapy.

“We made a conscious decision early on in our research to also screen for natural products,” Pelletier says. “Silvestrol is not a synthetic compound you can buy from commercial suppliers.”

In the lab, Pelletier explained, silvestrol therapy re-sensitized leukemia cells which had already demonstrated resistance to the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin.

“Essentially, we have turned off the cancer cell’s survival signals, which is associated with resistance,” he said.

However, he cautioned, though synthetic silvestrol is now starting to become available, trials in humans and possible treatments are still many years away.

The authors therefore suggest that developing approaches to inhibit translation initiation by targeting eIF4A might provide a way to altering drug resistance in cancers exhibiting altered control of translation initiation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jerry Pelletier et al. Therapeutic suppression of translation initiation modulates chemosensitivity in a mouse lymphoma model. Journal of Clinical Investigation, June 12, 2008

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Re-purposed Malaysian Folk Medication Reduces Resistance To Cancer Treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080612172155.htm>.
McGill University. (2008, June 17). Re-purposed Malaysian Folk Medication Reduces Resistance To Cancer Treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080612172155.htm
McGill University. "Re-purposed Malaysian Folk Medication Reduces Resistance To Cancer Treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080612172155.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. 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