Cloudy
22°CSat :Partly Cloudy. High: 29 Low: 21

`Death carrot` could help treat cancer

`Death carrot` could help treat cancer

London: A pretty yellow Mediterranean plant, sometimes called the “death carrot”, is being developed into a potential new drug for treating cancer by an international team of researchers.

Even though Thapsia garganica plant looks innocent enough, it contains thapsigargin and is highly toxic to sheep and cattle.

This lethal plant could find a new use by targeting and killing cancer cells.

It kills cells, including cancer cells, by blocking a protein called SERCA, which helps cells control their internal calcium levels.

The real challenge lies in harnessing the power of this toxic substance, driving it into killing just the cancer cells and leaving the healthy cells alone.

Samuel Denmeade, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has taken on the difficult task.

Denmeade and his team spent 15 years engineering an analogue of thapsigargin, which is an active ingredient of the plant, to fight cancer cells exclusively.

His team modified the thapsigargin molecule by adding an extra peptide chain which prevents the toxin from entering cells.

That is, until it encounters PSMA – an enzyme commonly found on the surface of many prostate cancer cells. PSMA cleaves the extra chain off the toxin, setting it free to do its devastating business.

While traditional chemotherapy drugs only target cells that rapidly divide, this new toxin destroys not just the cancer cells currently growing, but also those lying dormant as well as non-cancer cells recruited to help the tumour grow.

“You can envision it as a grenade,” New Scientist quoted Denmeade as saying.

“One guy pulls the pin, but it kills all the guys standing around,” he said,

The study has been recently published in Science Translational Medicine.

 

Top Stories

cbi-2

CBI strikes living arrangement of MLA’s and former cops regarding Saradha trick

August-29-2014
GUWAHATI: The CBI on Thursday did look operations in a few prominent areas in Guwahati regarding multi crore Saradha trick. Sources said
Pankaja-Munde

Munde’s little girl Pankaja says Don’t politicize my father’s demise

August-29-2014
Sindkhed Raja: Former Union Minister Gopinath Munde’s little girl Pankaja Munde today propelled a “Sangharsh Yatra,” asking her depreciators not to politicize
35315852.cms

Modi delights in double the security spread of his forerunner

August-29-2014
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi delights in twofold the security spread of his forerunner Manmohan Singh regarding commandos of the tip
Malaysia-Airlines

Malaysia Airlines to cut 6,000 staff in upgrade

August-29-2014
Travelers are prepared to weigh in at a takeoff anteroom at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014.
wwq

Bigg Boss going to be much more hotter than before : Expected Contestants List

August-28-2014
All Bigg Boss 8 fans are excitedly sitting tight for the Bigg Boss 8 Contestants? How about we go to swing in
Inside Gold Bars Refining Plant As Gold Declines

Gold, silver bounce back on global cues, regular interest

August-28-2014
Gold costs recuperated by Rs. 55 to close at Rs. 28,230 for every ten gram in the national capital on Thursday, generally