Plant compound and nanotechnology shrink tumors -

Breast cancer treatment without side effects

It is now possible to shrink breast cancer tumors using a herbal compound. For this purpose, the herbal active substance is transformed into chemotherapy only at the tumor site, which means that the treatment does not lead to any side effects.

A new study involving experts from the National University of Singapore (NUS) investigated whether a reaction generated by something called bioorthogonal catalysis could be used to treat breast cancer tumours. The results have been published in the English-language journal "ACS Nano".

Chemotherapy can have serious side effects

Breast cancer is a life-threatening disease that is often treated by surgical removal of the cancerous breast tumor followed by chemotherapy. The problem is that chemotherapy can have serious side effects.

If the tumor recurs after such treatment, it can also significantly reduce the life expectancy of affected women, the team explains.

The type of treatment the researchers are developing could help women affected by breast cancer by using nanotechnology to convert a plant-based food ingredient into an effective breast cancer treatment.

New form of treatment without side effects

"In the new approach, after administration, the plant molecule is converted into an effective chemotherapeutic agent using special nanotechnology only at the cancer site, so that side effects in the rest of the body can be avoided," reports the study author Chester Tambour of the National University of Singapore in a press release.

Achieved complete remission from breast cancer

The study used human breast cancer cells as a target, which responded to the new treatment with complete remission. The team then plans to apply the technology in clinical trials and to other hard-to-treat or hard-to-remove solid tumors with standard surgery.

According to Drum, the use of natural plant-based products, which are converted in the body into active ingredients against breast cancer tumors by means of so-called bioorthogonal catalysis, is a revolutionary new technology. Normally, there is no such conversion of a natural product into a chemotherapeutic agent in the body.

IAA shrinks breast cancer tumors

Essentially, the harmless plant compound, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), has been repurposed as an effective treatment for breast cancer tumors. As a so-called phytohormone, IAA is found in many plant-based foods and part of our daily diet, and it is not associated with any side effects, adds the expert.

Although the new technology has already been used in the study to treat breast cancer tumors in humans, according to the researchers, it is still too early to use it in clinical practice.

The gel is designed to prevent tumor recurrence

As a next step, the team plans to develop a gel that can be easily applied to the tumor ablation site after surgery. This should allow sick women to use only one dietary supplement to prevent cancer from recurring. (as)

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Samira Sadeghi, Nihar D. Masurkar, Girish Vallerinteavide Mavelli, Siddharth Deshpande, Warren Kok Yong Tan, et al. acetic acid; in: ACS Nano (published 02/06/2022), ACS Nano National University of Singapore: NUS medical researchers use nutritional supplement to shrink breast cancer tumors (published 02/08/2022), NUS

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.