Drug made from toxic weed kills cancerSubmitted by PWA on Tue, 07/10/2012 - 22:07
(US) — An experimental drug derived from a poisonous weed can travel harmlessly through the bloodstream until it detects cancer cells and kills them.
In laboratory studies, the researchers say, a three-day course of the drug G202 shrunk human prostate tumors grown in mice by an average of 50 percent within 30 days. It far outperformed docetaxel, a chemotherapy drug now used against prostate cancer, and was also highly effective against animal models of human breast cancer, kidney cancer, and bladder cancer.
The study by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and from Denmark was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
G202 is derived from Thapsia garganica, a weed that grows in the Mediterranean region. The plant makes a product—dubbed thapsigargin—that since the time of ancient Greece has been known to be toxic to animals. In Arab caravans, the plant was known as the “death carrot” because it would kill camels that ate it, the researchers noted.