Salad Plant Associated With Cancer-Killing
Cancer drug designers are facing with the unique challenge that cancer cells develop from our own normal cells, that is, most ways to poison cancer cells also kill healthy cells. Most available chemotherapies are very toxic, destroying one normal cell for every five to 10 cancer cells killed, according to scientists.
However, researchers from the University of Washington have created a compound which is derived from the sweet wormwood plant (Artemisia annua L). Sweet wormwood has been used in herbal Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years, and is eaten in salads in some Asian countries. This new compound puts a novel twist on the common anti-malarial drug artemisinin. It is more than 1,200 times more specific in killing certain kinds of cancer cells than currently available drugs, heralding the possibility of a more effective chemotherapy drug with minimal side effects.