Anti-cancer flower power

August 25, 2008

Could a substance from the jasmine flower hold the key to an effective new therapy to treat cancer?

Prof. Eliezer Flescher of The Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University thinks so. He and his colleagues have developed an anti-cancer drug based on a decade of research into the commercial applications of the compound Jasmonate, a synthetic compound derived from the flower itself. Prof. Flescher began to research the compound about a decade ago, and with his recent development of the drug, his studies have now begun to bear meaningful fruit.

"Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is based on a plant stress hormone," says Prof. Flescher. "I asked myself, 'Could there be other plant stress hormones that have clinical efficacy?' While various studies have suggested that aspirin can prevent cancer, especially colon cancer, I realized that there could be a chance to find a potent plant hormone that could fight cancer even better. I pinpointed jasmonate."

A Natural Leap to the Drugstore Shelf

Both blood cancers and solid tumors seem to be responsive to the jasmonate compound, known also as methyl jasmonate. Prof. Flescher refers to it as the "jasmonate scaffold," a basis for developing a series of chemical derivatives. In terms of bioavailability and safety, early first-in-man studies have proven successful, and Prof. Flescher is hopeful that an anti-cancer drug based on jasmonate could be on the shelf in America within four years through the activity of Sepal-Pharma which licensed his research from Ramot, the technology transfer arm of Tel Aviv University.

Normally drug development takes much longer. "The jasmonate compound is used widely in agriculture and in cosmetics," says Prof. Flescher. "Proven to be non-toxic, it has the same regulatory status as table salt. That and the fact we are working on a natural chemical gives us a good starting point for launching a new drug."

Optimistic Responses from Peer Researchers

Other research groups are taking notice. Since Prof. Flescher started publishing papers on jasmonate (most recently in the academic journal Oncogene), six new research groups around the world have initiated research on the subject.

Peer commentary in Oncogene is positive about Prof. Flescher's promising research. "Methyl jasmonate," says the commentary, "has already been shown to have selective anticancer activity in preclinical studies, and this finding may stimulate the development of a novel class of small anticancer compounds."
-end-
Prof. Flescher's research is the foundation of a promising new biotech company, Sepal-Pharma, where Prof. Flescher serves on the scientific advisory board. Sepal-Pharma is developing new compounds based on the Jasmonate Scaffold. Sepal-Pharma has also been actively funding research done at Prof. Flescher's lab.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University (www.aftau.org) supports Israel's largest and most comprehensive center of higher learning. It is ranked among the world's top 100 universities in science, biomedical studies, and social science, and rated one of the world's top 200 universities overall. Internationally recognized for the scope and groundbreaking nature of its research programs, Tel Aviv University consistently produces work with profound implications for the future.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Related Aspirin Articles from Brightsurf:

An aspirin a day keeps the bowel doctor away
A regular dose of aspirin to reduce the risk of inherited bowel cancer lasts at least 10 years after stopping treatment, research has revealed.

What are the risks and benefits of low-dose aspirin?
Low-dose aspirin significantly lowers cardiovascular disease risk but increases the risk of bleeding, according to a review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Benefit seen for ticagrelor alone, without aspirin, in patients with ACS
The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC).

Study: An aspirin a day does not keep dementia at bay
Taking a low-dose aspirin once a day does not reduce the risk of thinking and memory problems caused by mild cognitive impairment or probable Alzheimer's disease, nor does it slow the rate of cognitive decline, according to a large study published in the March 25, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Aspirin's health benefits under scrutiny
Taking a baby aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke should no longer be recommended to patients who haven't already experienced one of these events.

Aspirin may no longer be effective as cardiovascular treatment
A new paper in Family Practice, published by Oxford University Press, found that the widespread use of statins and cancer screening technology may have altered the benefits of aspirin use.

Migraine headaches? Consider aspirin for treatment and prevention
Evidence from 13 randomized trials of the treatment of migraine in 4,222 patients and tens of thousands of patients in prevention of recurrent attacks supports the use of high dose aspirin from 900 to 1,300 milligrams to treat acute migraine as well as low dose daily aspirin from 81 to 325 milligrams to prevent recurrent attacks.

Aspirin use after biliary tract cancer diagnosis
Researchers in this observational study examined if aspirin use after a diagnosis of a biliary tract cancer, which includes gallbladder cancer, was associated with reduced risk of death among nearly 3,000 patients.

Aspirin may prevent air pollution harms
A new study is the first to report evidence that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin may lessen the adverse effects of air pollution exposure on lung function.

Aspirin should not be recommended for healthy people over 70
Low-dose aspirin does not prolong disability-free survival of healthy people over 70, even in those at the highest risk of cardiovascular disease.

Read More: Aspirin News and Aspirin Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.