Scientists turn a new leaf to discover a compound in daffodils that targets brain cancer

Nov 01, 2010

When looking for new ways to treat aggressive brain cancers, an international team of scientists turned a new leaf and "discovered" the lowly daffodil. A new research study published in the November 2010 print issue of The FASEB Journal offers hope that a natural compound found in daffodil bulbs, called narciclasine, may be a powerful therapeutic against biologically aggressive forms of human brain cancers.

"We are planning to move a narciclasine derivative toward in within a three to four year period in order to help patients with cancers, including gliomas, as well as brain ," said Robert Kiss, Ph.D., co-author of the study from the Laboratory of Toxicology at the Institute of Pharmacy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium. "We hope narciclasine could be given to brain cancer patients in addition to conventional therapies."

To make this discovery, Kiss and colleagues used computer-assisted techniques to identify targets for narciclasine in cancer cells. The strongest potential candidate to emerge was the eEF1A elongation factor. Researchers then grafted human melanoma brain metastatic cells into the brains of genetically altered mice. Results showed that the injected mice survived significantly longer when treated with narciclasine than those mice left untreated. The researchers believe that narciclasine selectively inhibits the proliferation of very aggressive cancer cells, while avoiding adverse effects on normal cells. Narciclasine could be used in the near future to combat brain cancers, including gliomas, and metastases such as melanoma brain metastases.

"Scientists have been digging in odd corners to find effective treatments for brain cancer for decades, and now they've found one in daffodils." said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The , "It doesn't mean that you should eat daisies or daffodils for what ails you, but that modern medicinal chemistry can pluck new chemicals from stuff that grows in the garden. This is a good one!"

Explore further: No increased risk of second cancers with radiotx in pelvic CA

More information: Gwendoline Van Goietsenoven, et al., Targeting of eEF1A with Amaryllidaceae isocarbostyrils as a strategy to combat melanomas FASEB J. 2010 24: 4575-4584. DOI:10.1096/fj.10-162263

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Natural protein stops deadly human brain cancer in mice

Dec 07, 2006

Scientists from Johns Hopkins and from the University of Milan have effectively proven that they can inhibit lethal human brain cancers in mice using a protein that selectively induces positive changes in the activity of ...

Drug combination shrinks breast cancer metastases in brain

Dec 16, 2007

A combination of a "targeted" therapy and chemotherapy shrank metastatic brain tumors by at least 50 percent in one-fifth of patients with aggressive HER2-positive breast cancer, according to data presented by Dana-Farber ...

Researchers find molecule that targets brain tumors

Dec 29, 2008

UC Davis Cancer Center researchers report today the discovery of a molecule that targets glioblastoma, a highly deadly form of cancer. The finding, which is published in the January 2009 issue of the European Journal of Nu ...

Melanoma drug shrinks brain metastases in phase I/II study

Oct 12, 2010

A new drug being developed to treat potentially deadly melanoma skin cancers has shown a promising ability to shrink secondary tumors, known as metastases, in the brain in patients with advanced forms of the disease, Australian ...

Recommended for you

Scientists zero in on how lung cancer spreads

Dec 24, 2014

Cancer Research UK scientists have taken microscopic images revealing that the protein ties tethering cells together are severed in lung cancer cells - meaning they can break loose and spread, according to ...

Scientists identify rare cancer's genetic pathways

Dec 24, 2014

An international research team, including four Simon Fraser University scientists, has identified the "mutational landscape" of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), a rare, highly fatal form of liver cancer that disproportionately ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.