Scientists discover that cuachalalate, a Mexican medicinal plant, is used to treat cancer. Scientists from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) demonstrated that cuachalalate promotes the death of tumor cells, while stimulating the immune system to attack different types of cancer.
Mexican scientists discovered that a plant used in traditional medicine would help in the treatment of different types of cancer.
The research carried out by the Department of Toxicology of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (Cinvestav) of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) showed that cuachalalate promotes the death of tumor cells, while stimulating the Immune System to attack different types of cancer.
The plant is commonly used in traditional Mexican medicine as a gastroprotective and auxiliary agent in vascular diseases.
Scientifics, who leads the research, said in a statement that its benefits are due to its content of anacardic 6-pentadecyl salicylic acid, which promotes the programmed death (apoptosis) of tumor cells without affecting normal ones.
Currently, the method used to kill diseased cells is through inflammation or necrosis. However, this causes significant tissue damage, as well as side effects in cancer treatment.
The researcher explained that this compound is capable of stimulating the immune system. It has a very specific phosphorylation function on certain proteins or kinases, whose role is to signal the macrophages (an important component of the immune system) to be more reactive and to respond quickly to challenges that arise. This means that they induce tumor cell death and activate the immune system to attack more efficiently.
The study was carried out in models with breast cancer and in vitro (in a test tube or controlled environment), in leukemia cell lines and cells from the gastrointestinal tract, specifically from the stomach.
In addition, they carried out preliminary studies combining 6-pentadecyl salicylic acid with other antineoplastic agents. With this, a reduction in chemotherapy toxicity was observed, maintaining the same pharmacological efficiency of tumor reduction.
In addition, they have found an important synergy with carboplatin to reduce breast tumors more efficiently.
The research, published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology and Molecules, shows that antineoplastics such as taxol (a drug used in breast cancer treatments) have the disadvantage of being very toxic to the immune system, as they burn bone marrow cells and decreases the number of white cells in the blood.
In contrast, cuachalalate does not do violence to immune cells, so there are no significant changes such as an inflammatory or allergic response. This makes it a very safe compound.
At the moment, research is in preclinical tests of the use of anacardic acids from cuachalalate in conjunction with other classical antineoplastic agents used in the clinic such as carboplatin, cisplatin, taxol and 5-fluorouracil.
“With the combination we found a protective effect of anacardic acid on the toxic effects of classical antineoplastics in the production of immunosuppression and myelosuppression (toxicity in blood cells and bone marrow, respectively), which indicates a reduction in toxic side effects. such as leukopenia and myelosuppression caused by classical antineoplastics in patients receiving chemotherapy”.
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