Stinging nettle and ants are now on the front line of cancer treatment, thanks to new research by the University of Warwick.
Research by the university has shown that cancer cells can be destroyed more effectively with a unique new reusable treatment, activated with a natural substance found in stinging nettles and ants, and other organisms.
Named JPC11, the treatment targets a metabolic process which cancer cells rely on to survive and multiply.
Uniquely, this chemo-catalyst treatment can be recycled and reused within a cancer cell to attack it repeatedly.
This unprecedented functional ability to recycle and reuse the compound within cancer cells could lead to future anticancer drugs being administered in smaller, more effective, and potentially less toxic doses – decreasing the side-effects of chemotherapy.
The researchers have focused on the potential to use this compound on ovarian and prostate cancers.
Dr James Coverdale, a Research Fellow from Warwick’s Department of Chemistry, said: “Manipulating and applying well-established chemistry in a biological context provides a highly selective strategy for killing cancer cells.”
Professor Peter Sadler, a medicinal chemist at the University of Warwick added: “It will take time to progress from the lab to the clinic, but we are fortunate to have a talented enthusiastic, international team working with colleagues in Warwick Cancer Research Centre across the borderlines of chemistry, cell and systems biology and cancer medicine who are determined to succeed.”