Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can a plant that acts like poison ivy cure prostate cancer?

18.03.2004


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."

Joseph Blumberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rutgers.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>