Washington, Oct 12: A compound from a wild, poisonous mushroom growing in the southwestern China’s forests, imparts greater punch to a cancer-busting drug, new research shows.
The compound, verticillin A, sensitizes cancer cells to TRAIL, a drug, causing cancer cells to self-destruct, said Kebin Liu, cancer immunologist at the Georgia Health Sciences University Cancer Centre and study co-author.
The compound pre-empts cancer cells from developing resistance to TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand), reports the journal Cancer Research.
Drug resistance, intrinsic or acquired, is a major problem for cancer patients, accounting for more than 90 percent of treatment failures. ‘If we can make drugs work again, more people will survive,’ Liu said, according to a Georgia Health statement.
‘It looks as though most cancer cells have found a way to become resistant and evade its action,’ said Wendy Bollag, cell physiologist and Liu’s counterpart in the study. Tenacious cancer cells are also naturally resistant to cell suicide, which is how TRAIL works.
In mice, they found verticillin A alone was adequate to kill cancer cells, but the required dose made the mice sick, a common problem with many cancer therapies.
However, when a lower dose was paired with TRAIL, it became a powerful, more tolerable recipe that killed previously resistant cells.
-Indo-Asian News Service