According to a new report, a natural extract which had previously been studied for its cancer-preventing benefits may enhance the value of conventional chemotherapy treatments.
Scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have discovered that chlorophyllin—a derivative of chlorophyll which is the green pigment found in most plants—is 10 times more effective at killing colon cancer cells than hydroxyurea, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug.
The research group has said chlorophyllin appears to block the same stage of cellular division that hydroxyurea does, but through a different mechanism, which leads them to believe there may be a way to combine the two to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs and allow for lower and less toxic doses.
Rod Dashwood, professor and director of the Cancer Chemoprotection Program at the Pauling Institute, says there is much research interest in approaches that can reduce ribonucleotide reductase, an enzyme critical to DNA synthesis and cell proliferation.
He adds that "at the doses used in our experiments, chlorophyllin almost completely stops the activity of this enzyme."
The compound is inexpensive to obtain, and scientists believe it is safe to consume even at high doses.