Chinese herb for treating leukaemia may help treat brain tumours too



Washington, July 13: A new study has found that the active ingredient in a traditional Chinese herb might help treat deadly brain tumours


Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) - discovered that the compound, indirubin, both blocks the migration of glioblastoma cells, preventing their spread to other areas of the brain, and the migration of endothelial cells, preventing them from forming the new blood vessels that the tumor needs to grow.

"We have pretty good methods to stop glioblastoma from growing in the human brain, but these therapies fail because tumour cells migrate from the original site and grow elsewhere in the brain," said co-principal investigator Dr. E. Antonio Chiocca, professor and chair of neurological surgery and co-director of the Dardinger Center for Neuro-oncology and Neurosciences.

"Our findings suggest that indirubins offer a novel therapeutic strategy for these tumours that simultaneously targets tumour invasion and angiogenesis," added Chiocca.

Indirubin is derived from the Indigo plant. It is the active ingredient in the Chinese herbal remedy called Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, which is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia.

The research has been published online in the journal Cancer Research.


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