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 PET imaging tracks Zika virus infection, disease progression in mouse model
20.09.2017 | US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

nachricht 'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton

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: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>