Ohio: Indirubin, a herbal compound used in traditional Chinese remedies might beat deadly brain tumours.
Indirubin is derived from the Indigo plant, an active ingredient in the Dang Gui Long Hui Wan formula that is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia.
Researchers from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centre (OSUCCC) discovered indirubin, a compound that blocks migration of glioblastoma cells and endothelial cells, halting them from forming cancerous blood vessels.
(The endothelium is the thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels)
Glioblastomas affect about 18,500 Americans annually and kill nearly 13,000 of them yearly. It is the most common and lethal form of the brain cancer malignancy, with an average survival of 15 months after diagnosis, the journal Cancer Research reports.
"We have pretty good methods to stop glioblastoma from growing in the human brain, but these therapies fail because tumour cells migrate from the original site and grow elsewhere in the brain," says co-principal investigator E. Antonio Chiocca, professor in neurological surgery at Ohio.
"Our findings suggest that Indirubin offers a novel therapeutic strategy for these tumours that simultaneously targets tumour invasion and angiogenesis," Chiocca says, according to an Ohio statement.
Angiogenesis is the process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels.