Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ancient Chinese medicine put through its paces for pancreatic cancer

Date:
March 3, 2014
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Summary:
The bark of the Amur cork tree has traveled a centuries-long road with the healing arts. Now it is being put through its paces by science in the fight against pancreatic cancer, with the potential to make inroads against several more. Researchers were already exploring the cork tree extract's promise in treating prostate cancer when the team found that deadly pancreatic cancers share some similar development pathways with prostate tumors. The potential of natural substances to treat and cure disease has great appeal, but the advantage of cork tree extract, available as a dietary supplement in capsule form, is that it already has been established as safe for use in patients.

The bark of the Amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense) has traveled a centuries-long road with the healing arts. Now it is being put through its paces by science in the fight against pancreatic cancer, with the potential to make inroads against several more.

UT Health Science Center researcher A. Pratap Kumar was already exploring the cork tree extract's promise in treating prostate cancer when his team found that deadly pancreatic cancers share some similar development pathways with prostate tumors.

In a paper published today in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, the researchers show that the extract blocks those pathways and inhibits the scarring that thwarts anti-cancer drugs. Dr. Jingjing Gong, currently pursuing post-doctoral studies at Yale University, conducted the study as a graduate student in Dr Kumar's laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology.

"Fibrosis is a process of uncontrolled scarring around the tumor gland," said Dr. Kumar, a professor of urology in the School of Medicine at the Health Science Center and the study's principal investigator. "Once you have fibrotic tissue, the drugs cannot get into the cancer."

Liver and kidney tumors also develop fibrosis and the resulting resistance to drugs, he said, and there are no drugs currently targeting that pathway in those cancers.

The two pathways, or proteins, that contribute to fibrosis in those tumors also encourage Cox-2, an enzyme that causes inflammation, and the cork tree extract appears to suppress that as well, Dr. Kumar said. The complex interrelationship of these substances is "the million-dollar question," he said, and solving that question is one of the next steps in his research.

The potential of natural substances to treat and cure disease has great appeal, but the advantage of cork tree extract, available as a dietary supplement in capsule form, is that it already has been established as safe for use in patients. In a promising prostate cancer clinical study of 24 patients that Dr. Kumar helped spearhead, all the patients tolerated the treatment well, he said. Now researchers are analyzing the results, he said, and with more funding they plan to expand the study to a much larger group of patients.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Gong, J. Xie, R. Bedolla, P. Rivas, D. Chakravarthy, J. W. Freeman, R. Reddick, S. Kopetz, A. Peterson, H. Wang, S. M. Fischer, A. P. Kumar. Combined Targeting of STAT3/NF-B/COX-2/EP4 for Effective Management of Pancreatic Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research, 2014; 20 (5): 1259 DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-1664

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Ancient Chinese medicine put through its paces for pancreatic cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303084410.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. (2014, March 3). Ancient Chinese medicine put through its paces for pancreatic cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303084410.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Ancient Chinese medicine put through its paces for pancreatic cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303084410.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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