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A team of scientists from a cancer research center at the University of Rochester has discovered that a plant derivative is capable of attacking the roots of leukemia.
The feverfew plant whose scientific name is Tanacetum parthenium is a plant similar to daisies and is the source of an agent, parthenolide, that kills leukemia stem cells better than any other therapy according to the results of the investigations of this team that they are published in the digital edition of the scientific journal Blood.
It will take months to develop a pharmaceutical compound from parthenolide, although the authors of this medical research are already working with a team of chemical researchers from the University of Kentucky who have identified a soluble molecule with the same properties as parthenolide.
The National Cancer Institute of the United States has integrated this project into its "rapid access program" that aims to move experimental drugs from the laboratory to clinical trials in humans as quickly as possible.
According to the director of research, this project represents a very important step in laying the foundation for the development of a new therapy for leukemia. For the first time, there has been evidence showing that it is possible to kill leukemia stem cells with a substance (parthenolide).
It is the first time that a substance capable of acting against myeloid leukemia at the stem cell level has been identified. Current treatments against this type of cancer do not reach the cells where the malignancy of a cancer is born. In other words, they don't get to the root of the disease.