Wednesday August 22, 2018

Neem extract can be used in pancreatic cancer treatment

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New York: Indian-origin scientists and a team of researchers said, a natural extract derived from Neem tree can be used for treating lethal pancreatic cancer.

The results revealed that nimbolide, an active molecule isolated from Neem tree (Azadirachta indica), can stop pancreatic cancer’s growth and spread without harming normal, healthy cells.

“The promise nimbolide has shown is amazing, and the specificity of the treatment towards cancer cells over normal cells is very intriguing,” said Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, associate professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso in the US.

Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers with 94 percent of patients dying within five years of diagnosis.

The cancer grows quickly and there are currently no effective treatments available.

In the study, Lakshmanaswamy and colleagues observed that nimbolide was able to reduce the migration and invasion capabilities of pancreatic cancer cells by 70 percent meaning the cancerous cells did not become aggressive and spread.

And that is promising, the researchers said.

In humans, this migration and invasion or metastasis of pancreatic cancer to other regions of the body is the chief cause of mortality.

Nimbolide treatments also induced cancer cell death, causing the size and number of pancreatic cancer cell colonies to drop by 80 percent.

“Nimbolide seems to attack pancreatic cancer from all angles,” Lakshmanaswamy said.

What is more, the Neem compound did not harm healthy cells in both the in vitro and in vivo experiments.

“Many people in India actually eat neem and it doesn’t have harmful side effects, which suggests that using nimbolide for pancreatic cancer will not cause adverse effects like chemotherapy and radiation typically do,” study lead author Ramadevi Subramani, postdoctoral researcher at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre, said.

The findings appeared in the journal Scientific Reports.

While the results are promising, Lakshmanaswamy said there is still a long way to go before nimbolide can be used to treat pancreatic cancer in humans.

The researchers said they plan to continue researching the anticancer mechanisms behind the plant extract.(image: stylecraze.com)(IANS)

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

turmeric
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)