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Clinical trials to start on effective cancer treatments

13th September 2011

Scientists are soon to begin clinical trials to test the potential of a British flower as a treatment for cancer.

cancercell

Researchers want to use a "smart bomb" treatment based on extracts from the Autumn crocus flower.

In experiments on mice, the colchicine treatment slowed the growth of tumours and was even able to "kill" a variety of cancers.

The researchers, from the Institute for Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Bradford, published their work in the Cancer Research journal.

The flower, which is native to Britain, has been traditionally used as a herbal treatment for inflammation.

The chemical it contains, colchicine, is damaging to other body tissues so its use as an anti-cancer treatment has been minimal.

However, the researchers managed to alter the colchicine molecule so it did not activate until it reached a tumour.

It then destroyed the blood vessels which supplied the tumour and "starved" it.

"What we're looking for is a delay in the growth of the tumour," said ICT director Professor Laurence Patterson.

"But sometimes the treatment is so effective that in half of the studies, the mice appeared to be cured of their cancer. All mice responded to the treatment." 

 

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