Literatus: The sophora root-A A +A
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
THIS year’s Pink October was blessed with many accomplishments in scientific research towards finding new ways to treat breast cancer.
On May 17, Hongmin Shao and three other colleagues at the Hospital of Traditional Medicine Department of Oncology in Shandong (PR China) confirmed in Oncology Letters the capability of Matrine in destroying breast cancer cells in laboratory setting.
While the findings can be considered preliminary, the positive outcome represents another breakthrough in the fight against the malady.
Matrine is an alkaloid found in the root of Sophora flavescens, an evergreen shrub known only by the Chinese name ku shen gen. A gram of sophora roots contains around 0.21 to 1.12 mg of Matrine.
Results indicated that destruction of the three breast cancer cell lines had been accomplished through apoptosis, a programmed cell death wherein the cell breaks apart into several vesicles that are easily disposed of by white blood cells.
This disposal mechanism operates as a normal mechanism in the human body. In fact, between 50 million to 70 million of human cells die each day due to apoptosis.
A dose of one millimole per liter (mmol/L) destroyed 71.5 to 80.2 percent of the three tested breast cancer cells. A dose of two mmol/L decreased the number of cell lines by 57.6 to 63.2 percent; and 15.5 to 23.6 percent at dose 3 mmol/L.
The Liu study in 2010, published in Biological Pharmacology Bulletin, also reported the same mechanism of destroying cancer cells in pancreas. The same apoptotic mechanism had been reported in the Han study, published in Leukocytic Lymphoma (2010), against human multiple myeloma cells.
The Shao study also noted that the most vulnerable breast cancer cells turned out to be those that were highly metastatic, or quick-spreading.
That’s something worth trying. That’s something to let those with breast cancer hope for, with an initial scientific ground.
A hope that may bloom into what LM Montgomery referred to in her book, Anne of Green Gables: I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 06, 2013.