Natural substance studied for future treatment of possibly incurable childhood cancer

January 13, 2014

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.  

Explore further: New insights into neuroblastoma tumor suppressor may provide clues for improved treatment

Related Stories

New insights into neuroblastoma tumor suppressor may provide clues for improved treatment

August 12, 2013
Loss of a gene required for stem cells in the brain to turn into neurons may underlie the most severe forms of neuroblastoma, a deadly childhood cancer of the nervous system, according to a Ludwig Cancer Research study. Published ...

Redirecting our immune cells to help fight children's cancer

November 6, 2013
Immune cells, known as Natural Killer T cells, could be redirected to help fight the childhood cancer, neuroblastoma, according to research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool ...

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 Journal of ...

New strategy for defeating neuroblastoma found

June 3, 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 chemical molecule ...

Genetic biomarker may help identify neuroblastomas vulnerable to novel class of drugs

April 9, 2013
An irregularity within many neuroblastoma cells may indicate whether a neuroblastoma tumor, a difficult-to-treat, early childhood cancer, is vulnerable to a new class of anti-cancer drugs known as BET bromodomain inhibitors, ...

Recommended for you

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.