Natural substance studied for future treatment of possibly incurable childhood cancer

In a recent doctoral thesis submitted at Karlstad University, Christina Fjæraa Alfredsson shows how the substance ellagic acid found in red berries and nuts, for instance, can stop cell division in cultivated cells from the childhood cancer neuroblastoma and induce cell death.

In their laboratory experiments Christina Fjæraa Alfredsson and her colleagues have studied  how ellagic affects the growth and survival of cultivated . An important discovery was that adding ellagic acid resulted in a so-called programmed .  

"The number of tumour in our model system was drastically reduced after the addition of ellagic acid. The effect was dose dependent, so at the rate of reduced cell growth and cell adhesion, and thus less potential for growth, the number of cell deaths increased considerably," says Christina Fjæraa Alfredsson.

Research on cancer treatment

The results are expected to form the basis for further research on ellagic acid and the possibility to use the substance in the future as a complement to current treatments of neuroblastoma and other forms of cancer.

"Many years of research remain before we know if ellagic acid can be used clinically," says Christina Fjæraa Alfredsson.

Strong antioxidant for use in future medicinal products

Ellagic acid is a naturally occurring substance and belongs to the group of phytochemicals, which are substances that can be extracted from plants. Pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, and walnuts are rich in ellagic acid. Ellagic acid and similar substances are mostly known as strong antioxidants and therefore potentially effective against various diseases, but today researchers are also interested in how ellagic acid can be used in future medicinal products for treating cancer, for example.

The third most common childhood cancer disease

Neuroblastoma is the third most common type in children under the age of one. Aggressive neuroblastoma is a difficult cancer type to treat, and in spite of intensive research, the death rate for this type of neuroblastoma is still very high compared with other cancer types. It is therefore crucial to develop complementary alternatives to the current methods of treatment.  

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Beta-blockers may boost chemo effect in childhood cancer

May 22, 2013

Beta-blockers, normally used for high blood pressure, could enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapies in treating neuroblastoma, a type of children's cancer, according to a new study published in the British Jo ...

New strategy for defeating neuroblastoma found

Jun 03, 2013

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have found a promising strategy for defeating neuroblastoma – a malignant form of cancer in children – that focuses on the so-called MYCN protein. A specific ...

Recommended for you

Pepper and halt: Spicy chemical may inhibit gut tumors

9 hours ago

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that dietary capsaicin – the active ingredient in chili peppers – produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining ...

Expressive writing may help breast cancer survivors

11 hours ago

Writing down fears, emotions and the benefits of a cancer diagnosis may improve health outcomes for Asian-American breast cancer survivors, according to a study conducted by a researcher at the University of Houston (UH).

Taking the guesswork out of cancer therapy

16 hours ago

Researchers and doctors at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) have co-developed the first molecular test ...

Brain tumour cells found circulating in blood

17 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—German scientists have discovered rogue brain tumour cells in patient blood samples, challenging the idea that this type of cancer doesn't generally spread beyond the brain.

International charge on new radiation treatment for cancer

18 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Imagine a targeted radiation therapy for cancer that could pinpoint and blast away tumors more effectively than traditional methods, with fewer side effects and less damage to surrounding tissues and organs.

User comments