Natural compounds can enhance cancer therapy, researchers say

Natural compounds can enhance cancer therapy, researchers say Scientists believe some natural extracts which have been studied for cancer prevention benefits, may be even more valuable in that there is evidence they may boost the value of conventional chemotherapy drugs.

A study conducted at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University examined the activity of chlorophyllin and found that it was 10 times more effective at killing colon cancer cells than hydroxyurea, a chemotherapeutic drug commonly used in cancer treatment.

The team explains chlorophyllin affects cancer cells by blocking the same stage of cellular division that hydroxyurea does, but through a different mechanism, which leads them to believe there is a way to combine it with conventional cancer drugs to enhance their effectiveness and perhaps allow for lower and less toxic dosages.

“In cancer research right now there’s interest in approaches that can reduce ribonucleotide reductase [which is an enzyme critical to DNA synthesis and cell proliferation],” says Rod Dashwood, professor and director of the Cancer Chemoprotection Program in the Pauling Institute.

“At the doses used in our experiments, chlorophyllin almost completely stops the activity of this enzyme,” he adds.

The potential new health resource is a derivative of chlorophyll – the green pigment found in most plants. It is inexpensive to obtain, and studies suggest it can be consumed at relatively high levels without causing toxicity.