Nav: Home

Stressing cancer with spice

October 23, 2019

A new study by scientists in Japan and Indonesia reports how an experimental drug agent stops cancer cells from growing. A little over a decade ago, Indonesian scientists first reported pentagamavumon-1 (PGV-1), an analogue of a molecule found in turmeric and that has been since discovered to have anti-cancer effects. In the new study, tests on cancer cells and animals reveal that these anti-cancer effects come from PGV-1 inhibiting a series of enzymes responsible for the metabolism of reactive oxygen species. This finding is expected to clarify how modifications to PGV-1 will lead to its use for cancer treatment.

The popular spice turmeric has for centuries been used not just as a flavoring, but also as medicine, with history having shown it to have a number of anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer benefits. These medicinal benefits come from the compound curcumin, which is commonly sold as an herbal supplement. Several studies have examined curcumin's anti-cancer properties, but the high doses required and poor understanding of the chemical process through which curcumin acts have limited these efforts.

The team of Professor Jun-ya Kato, at Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), had previously identified that curcumin acts on the same reactive oxygen species enzymes as its analogue, PGV-1. By suppressing the enzyme activity, reactive oxygen species are allowed to cause stress on cells, ultimately leading to cell death. Indeed, many anti-cancer drugs operate similarly, but sometimes with severe side-effects due to stress on healthy cells.

In the new study, Kato's team compared the effects of curcumin and PGV-1 on cancer, finding that they shared many of the same properties, but that PGV-1 did so at higher efficiency and lower dose.

"We found that PGV-1 arrests cells in the cell cycle at M phase" and that "it inhibits many ROS-metabolic enzymes," says Kato.

This arrest prevents the cancer cells from dividing, and the enzyme inhibition causes the cancer cells to die.

Intriguingly, PGV-1 was effective on numerous types of cancers. Moreover, when administered to mice injected with human cancer cells, the mice showed no evidence of the cancer and no side-effects. Furthermore, unlike some other anti-cancer drugs, the anti-cancer effects persisted even after the cessation of PGV-1 administration.

"Our results suggest that PGV-1 inhibits the enzyme activity more effectively in cancer cells than in normal cells. This may be the reason why PGV-1 selectively suppresses tumor cell proliferation with few effects on normal cells," notes Kato.

Scientists have long looked at the potential of curcumin to treat cancer. Kato believes PGV-1 could provide a breakthrough.

"Considering the high drug efficacy and low amount of side effects in animals, we propose that PGV-1 should be pharmaceutically developed as an orally administered drug for cancer," he says.
-end-
Resource

Title: Pentagamavunon-1 (PGV-1) inhibits ROS metabolic enzymes and suppresses tumor cell growth by inducing M phase (prometaphase) arrest and cell senescence

Authors: Beni Lestari, Ikuko Nakamae, Noriko Yoneda-Kato, Tsumoru Morimoto, Shigehiko Kanaya, Takashi Yokoyama, Masafumi Shionyu, Tsuyoshi Shirai, Edy Meiyanto & Jun-ya Kato

Journal: Scientific Reports

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-51244-3

Information about Prof. Kato lab can be found at the following website: https://bsw3.naist.jp/kato/?cate=205

Nara Institute of Science and Technology

Related Cancer Articles:

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.
Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.