A different application of the same substance can yield amazing results. Silibinin, an extract of the milk thistle plant, has long been used as a supplemental treatment for liver disease. Research at the University of Colorado, however, is showing that silibinin can be used for so much more—in particular, to treat tumors, both cancerous and otherwise.
Spanish scientists are using the poison in wasp venom to develop a new weapon in the battle against breast cancer. Other researchers are exploring ways to incorporate wasp venom in a new class of anticancer drugs designed to attack different parts of cancer cells at the same time.
RNA is an intermediate molecule found between double-stranded DNA and the production of protein. It is essential in the genetic instructions for life and development in living organisms. Taking its flexibility and reactivity into account, Dr. Jonathan Ouellet is focusing on RNA in his preliminary research to develop a potential cure for cancer.
The naked mole rat has a very long life span, with some living as long as 32 years, but what makes it unique is its apparent resistance to developing cancer. A team at the University of Rochester first described a process of tumor blockade called early contact inhibition that is present in the naked mole rat but not in any other mammalian species. This process might be part of this rat’s unique tumor busting superpower, effectively protecting it from the rapid cell growth and division that occurs with cancer.
Great Danes are one of the best canine models for human cancer research because they have the highest chance of developing a malignancy in their lifetime. Compared to lab rats and mice, Great Danes are better models for human disease because they are genetically more similar. All too often, treatments that have worked in lab mice haven’t worked when we’ve taken them to human clinical trials. [The canine] model is much closer to human disease.