UWindsor researcher on a roll using natural extracts to fight cancer
After finding treatment possibilities in dandelion root extract, biochemistry professor Siyaram Pandey and the students in his lab have discovered a second natural extract that successfully targets cancer cells.
His latest paper shows that extract from the flowering plant long pepper makes cancer cells undergo apoptosis—essentially committing suicide.
“It targets the weakness of the cancer cells, the metabolic vulnerability of cancer cells. Healthy cells can tolerate the extract but cancer cells cannot tolerate it, they die,” says Dr. Pandey. In addition to testing the substance on a cellular level and studying cells in a petri dish in the lab, his team also fed it orally to mice with tumours. “We proved it is not toxic. It dissolves into the system, goes to the tumour site and blocks the growth of the tumour.”
Pandey, post-doctoral fellow Pam Ovadje, and graduate and undergraduate student contributors, have just published their long pepper findings in the November 2014 edition of PLOS One.
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