Archives for: July 2002, 04
Interesting article on the power of lectins. Datura is familiar to readers of Carlos Castaneda's 'novels' as one of Don Juan's "helper plants." Our friend Ryan Darius Partovi sent this to me, and suggested the word "lectin" be substituted for the word "protein" throughout. Fascinating reading.... thanks, Ryan!
Health - Reuters
Smelly Plant Could Offer Brain Cancer Treatment
Tue Oct 1, 1:51 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters Health) - A protein from a highly poisonous, foul-smelling plant known as jimson weed could one day be used to help fight a type of brain cancer called glioma, Japanese researchers reported on Tuesday.
The protein, Datura stramonium agglutinin, or DSA, caused glioma cells with cancerous characteristics to begin developing normally, or differentiating, in lab studies, they report in the British Journal of Cancer for October.
The differentiation DSA induced was irreversible, being sustained once the protein was removed, the researchers report.
"DSA controls glioma cells as a result of glial differentiation rather than actually killing cells," said lead researcher Dr. Tasuku Sasaki, from the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology. "Any drug based on this concept would help patients suffering with tumors that are difficult to remove such as gliomas."
Glioma cells were also inhibited from growing and dividing out of control, or proliferating, by the presence of DSA, Sasaki's team reports.
"Taken together, these observations suggest that Datura stramonium agglutinin may be useful as a new therapy for treating glioma without side effects," they write.
Professor John Double, head of the Cancer Research UK Unit at Bradford University, said the discovery was exciting, but extremely preliminary.
"More needs to be done before we have enough evidence to commit to trials. Potential treatment, based on DSA, for this form of brain cancer is still a long way off."
Cancer Research UK's chief executive, Sir Paul Nurse, agreed, noting "there is much work to be done on the journey from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside."
SOURCE: British Journal of Cancer 2002;87:918-923.