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Papaya Leaf Tea and Fighting Cancer



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March 11, 2010

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Papaya LeavesNatural products sometimes have profound properties that are capable of not only treating challenging human ailments but preventing them as well.  Scientists estimate that “for bacterial infections, about 80% of the medicines in clinical use, are either natural products or their derivatives, while about 60% of all anti-cancer agents are either natural products or derivatives”.  It is often found that folk medicine and traditional herbal medicines do, in fact, have a therapeutic or preventive value.

Recently, promising studies suggest that several herbs may hold some keys to the treatment and prevention of tumors.  Many of these have been used for centuries and are just now being subjected to scientific scrutiny.  The 2010 publication related to papaya leaves is no exception.  It states that “Since Carica papaya leaf extract can mediate a Th1 type shift in human immune system, our results suggest that the CP leaf extract may potentially provide the means for the treatment and prevention of selected human diseases such as cancer, various allergic disorders, and may also serve as immunoadjuvant for vaccine therapy.”



Aqueous extract of Carica papaya leaves exhibits anti-tumor activity and immunomodulatory effects.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Feb 17;127(3):760-7. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Otsuki N, Dang NH, Kumagai E, Kondo A, Iwata S, Morimoto C.
Division of Clinical Immunology, Advanced Clinical Research Center, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

AIM OF THE STUDY: Various parts of Carica papaya Linn. (CP) have been traditionally used as ethnomedicine for a number of disorders, including cancer. There have been anecdotes of patients with advanced cancers achieving remission following consumption of tea extract made from CP leaves. However, the precise cellular mechanism of action of CP tea extracts remains unclear. The aim of the present study is to examine the effect of aqueous-extracted CP leaf fraction on the growth of various tumor cell lines and on the anti-tumor effect of human lymphocytes. In addition, we attempted to identify the functional molecular weight fraction in the CP leaf extract.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The effect of CP extract on the proliferative responses of tumor cell lines and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and cytotoxic activities of PBMC were assessed by [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation. Flow cytometric analysis and measurement of caspase-3/7 activities were performed to confirm the induction of apoptosis on tumor cells. Cytokine productions by PBMC were measured by ELISA. Gene profiling of the effect of CP extract treatment was performed by microarray analysis and real-time RT-PCR.

RESULTS: We observed significant growth inhibitory activity of the CP extract on tumor cell lines. In PBMC, the production of IL-2 and IL-4 was reduced following the addition of CP extract, whereas that of IL-12p40, IL-12p70, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha was enhanced without growth inhibition. In addition, cytotoxicity of activated PBMC against K562 was enhanced by the addition of CP extract. Moreover, microarray analyses showed that the expression of 23 immunomodulatory genes, classified by gene ontology analysis, was enhanced by the addition of CP extract. In this regard, CCL2, CCL7, CCL8 and SERPINB2 were representative of these upregulated genes, and thus may serve as index markers of the immunomodulatory effects of CP extract. Finally, we identified the active components of CP extract, which inhibits tumor cell growth and stimulates anti-tumor effects, to be the fraction with M.W. less than 1000.

CONCLUSION: Since Carica papaya leaf extract can mediate a Th1 type shift in human immune system, our results suggest that the CP leaf extract may potentially provide the means for the treatment and prevention of selected human diseases such as cancer, various allergic disorders, and may also serve as immunoadjuvant for vaccine therapy.

Natural products as lead-structures; a role for biotechnology.

Drug Discov Today. 2010 Mar 2. [Epub ahead of print]

John JE.
6A 7(th) Road, Nandidurg Extn, Bangalore 560 046, India.

Natural products as lead-structures; a role for biotechnology Natural products play a key role in healthcare and pharma research, as many medicines are either natural products or derivatives thereof. It is estimated that about 40% of all medicines are either natural products or their semi-synthetic derivatives [1]. This may not be surprising as herbal medicine has been a tradition of healthcare since ancient times and natural-extracts screening has been one of the roots of pharma research, where penicillin, erythromycin and rifampicin (bacterial infections), statins (cholesterol lowering/hyperlipidemia), quinine and artimesinin (malaria), paclitaxel, vinblastin and vincristin (cancer), salicylic acid and non-addictive cocaine derivatives (pain relief), are a few well-known natural product-based medicines. For bacterial infections, about 80% of the medicines in clinical use, are either natural products or their derivatives, while about 60% of all anti-cancer agents are either natural products or derivatives thereof [1,2]. Natural products were developed by micro-organisms, plants, marine organisms, amphibians and animals for several purposes including, as building blocks, coenzymes and co-factors, for host-defence against microbial infection and predators (animals), protection of their ecological niche, communication between and within species, pigments, cellular signalling and gene-expression, and homeostasis of organisms. As a consequence of the duplication, conservation and evolution of genes across the animal kingdom, natural products exhibit pharmacological activities over a range of indications among mammalian species, including humans. Some examples include the anti-fungal agents a) cyclosporine, which is an inhibitor of cyclophilin and is used as an immuno-suppressant in humans, and b) statins, which are inhibitors of HMGCoA reductases and are used as cholesterol-lowering agents in humans. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Two new chalcones from leaves of Morus alba L.

Fitoterapia. 2010 Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print]

Yang Y, Zhang T, Xiao L, Yang L, Chen R.
Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substances and Resources Utilization of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Ministry of Education & Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100050, China.

Two new chalcone derivatives named morachalcone B - C (1 -2) were isolated from the leaves of Morus alba L.. Their structures were elucidated by spectroscopic analysis. Morachalcones B (1) and C (2) represent two examples of chalcones having unusual furan ring which is formed by cyclization between C-alpha-OH and C-2-OH. Compounds 1, 2 displayed only moderate cytotoxic activity against HCT-8 and BGC823 human cancer cell lines.

5,6,3',4'-Tetrahydroxy-7-methoxyflavone as a Novel Potential Proteasome Inhibitor.

Planta Med. 2010 Mar 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Chang TL, Ding HY, Teng KN, Fang YC.
Department of Biological Sciences and Technology, National University of Tainan, Tainan, Taiwan.

Proteasome inhibition is one of the new pharmaceutical approaches to study antitumor activity. Although the active components are not yet identified for either treating or preventing cancer, the low toxicity plant ANISOMELES OVATA R. Br. has been used in traditional herbal medicine for more than 1000 years. In this study, the methanol extract from ANISOMELES OVATA showed potent inhibition of proteasome activity. Twenty compounds, two macrocycylic diterpenoids, six aromatics, seven flavonoids, and five phenylethanoids were isolated from Fang Feng Cao the dried aerial parts of A. OVATA. Their structures have been established on the basis of spectral evidence. Using a proteolysis assay for inhibition of 26S proteasome from pig red blood cells, we found that 5,6,3',4'-tetrahydroxy-7-methoxyflavone inhibited 90.5 %, 85.4 % and 73.1 % the chymotrypsin-like, caspase-like and trypsin-like activities of 26S proteasome with IC (50) values of 14.0, 5.4 and 24.1 microM, respectively, when Suc-LLVY-AMC, Z-LLE-AMC and Ac-RLR-AMC were used as substrates. 5,6,3',4'-Tetrahydroxy-7-methoxyflavone had a higher inhibitory at 15 minutes. A combination of 5,6,3',4'-tetrahydroxy-7-methoxyflavone and 5,6,4'-trihydroxy-7,3'-dimethoxyflavone increased the inhibition ability on 26S enzymatic activity. This combination appears to be a potentially attractive chemotherapy approach. We have found that 5,6,3',4'-tetrahydroxy-7-methoxyflavone has the highest inhibitory effects on 26S proteasome activities when compared to the other 11 flavonoids. These results suggest that both the 6-hydroxy and 7-methoxy positions of the flavone may play an important role in targeting 26S proteasome activity. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

Phenanthroindolizidines and Phenanthroquinolizidines: Promising Alkaloids for Anti-Cancer Therapy.

Curr Bioact Compd. 2009 Mar 1;5(1):2-19.

Chemler SR.
The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.

The phenanthroindolizidine and phenanthroquinolizidine alkaloids, typified by tylophorine and cryptopleurine, are a family of plant-derived small molecules with significant therapeutic potential. The plant extracts have been used in herbal medicine and the isolated compounds have displayed a range of promising therapeutic activity such as anti-ameobicidal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity. Despite their therapeutic protential, no compounds in this class have fully passed clinical trials. Drawbacks include low in vivo anti-cancer activity, central nervous system toxicity and low natural availability. A number of biological effects of these compounds, such as protein and nucleic acid synthesis suppression, have been identified, but the specific biomolecular targets have not yet been identified. Significant effort has been expended in the synthesis and structure-activity-relationship (SAR) studies of these compounds with the hope that a new drug will emerge. This review will highlight important contributions to the isolation, synthesis, SAR and mechanism of action of the phenanthroindolizidine and pheanthroquinolizidine alkaloids.

Use of Compound Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Lung Cancer.

Curr Drug Discov Technol. 2010 Feb 16;6(3). [Epub ahead of print]

Tian G, Guo L, Gao W.
Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, Chinaweimin.gao@tiehh.ttu.edu.

Traditional Chinese/herbal medicine (TCM) is now commonly used by cancer patients of Asian ethnicity to supplement or replace prescribed treatments. The overall survival rate for lung cancer has not improved significantly in the past several decades; it remains the leading cause of cancer death. Much more attention has been paid by clinicians and researchers to the possible use of compound Chinese medicine (CCM) as effective anti-lung cancer medicines. In this review, we briefly summarize the clinical and experimental status of numerous CCMs recently developed primarily in China for the treatment of lung cancer, including formulations, treatment effectiveness, and molecular mechanisms. By presenting this information, our goal is to possibly open up new future avenues for the practice of lung cancer treatment.
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