Gedunin has long been used by Indian medicinal healers to treat fever, malaria and inflammation. Now we know it may fight the world’s biggest battle against disease.
Cancer cells typically avoid death by hijacking molecules that then guide and protect the proteins, keeping the cells functioning normally. Then, the cancer tricks the molecules into helping mutated versions of those proteins stay alive. It is, of course, the mutated versions that are at the core of cancer.
Many pharmaceutical companies are very interested in developing pills to stop those hijacked molecules, including one key element called “Hsp90.” But so far, the results of drugs meant to stop Hsp90 have been disappointing. But this new study on an herb rather than a drug found that gedunin attacks a helper protein of Hsp90 called “p23.” So, in this way, it indirectly tries to stop the molecule that allows cancer cells to live.
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Gedunin binds to p23, which deactivates the Hsp90 machine. The result: cancer cells are killed. The researchers believe they have found a potentially big breakthrough in future cancer cures, particularly those that are hormone-dependent. Those include breast cancer, prostate cancer and endometrial cancer.
In all, this is an important finding as it helps solve one piece of the puzzle. Imagine an enormous jigsaw puzzle, where every positive study is one piece added. At some point, the puzzle will near completion; we will know so much about cancer that we will be able to have proven methods to effectively fight and prevent it.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Indian Plant May Kill Cancer Cells
Patwardhan, C., et al., “Gedunin Inactivates the Co-chaperone p23 Causing Cancer Cell Death by Apoptosis,” J. Biol. Chem; published online January 25, 2013.