British Autumn Crocus fights Cancer & Wins!

June 29, 2014 – 04:22 pm

British Autumn CrocusNormally I write my own articles for this blog, but not today.

This story is directly from the BBC and is well worth repeating in its entirety. This is very exciting news for cancer patients around the world. It is well written and easy to understand for us non-scientists! Thank you Leila Battison from the BBC for doing such a great job!

Original Story:
The search for more effective cancer treatments may soon harness the healing power of the Autumn crocus. Researchers are poised to start clinical trials with a new “smart bomb” treatment, derived from the flower, targeted specifically at tumours.

The treatment, called colchicine, was able to slow the growth of and even completely “kill” a range of different cancers, in experiments with mice.

The research was highlighted at the British Science Festival in Bradford. The team behind it, from the Institute for Cancer Therapeutics (ICT) at the University of Bradford, has published the work in the journal Cancer Research.

The native British Autumn crocus, otherwise known as “meadow saffron” or “naked lady”, is recorded in early herbal guides as a treatment for inflammation. This is because it contains the potent chemical colchicine, which is known to have medicinal properties, including anti-cancer effects. But colchicine is toxic to other tissues in the body, as well as cancer, so until now its use has been limited.

The researchers at ICT have now altered the colchicine molecule so it is inactive in the body until it reaches the tumour. Once there, the chemical becomes active and breaks up the blood vessels supplying the tumour, effectively starving it.

This effect is made possible because of enzymes that all tumours produce, whose usual function is to break down the normal cells nearby, allowing the tumour to spread. The modified colchicine molecule has a protein attached to it that makes it harmless. But the tumour enzyme specifically targets the protein and removes it. The colchicine is then activated, and the process of breaking down blood vessels and starving the cancerous cells begins.

Optimistic but cautious

One of the things that may make this drug so effective, Professor Patterson said, is that it will be “only active in the tumour, and not cause damage to normal tissue”.


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Aren't jade plants bad for cats?
Here is a list of just some of the many poisonous flowers and plants:
Aloe Vera, Amaryllis, Andromeda japonica, Apple (seeds and wilting leaves) Apple Leaf Croton, Asparagus Fern, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Baby's Breath, Bird of Paradise, Birdnest sansovioria, Bittersweet, Branching Ivy, Buckeye, Buddhist Pine, Caladium, Calla Lily, Carnation, Castor Bean, Ceriman, Cherry (seeds and wilting leaves), Chinaberry Tree (berries, bark, leaves, flowers), Chinese Evergreen, Christmas cactus, Christmas Rose, Chrysanthemum, Cineraria, Clematis, Coleus, Cordatum, Corn Plant, Cornstalk Plant, Croton, Cuban Laurel, Cycads, Cyclamen, Daffodil, Daisy, Day Lily (cats), Dracaena, Dragon Tree, Dumb Cane (all types), Easter Lily...

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