In order to have different alternatives for the treatment of breast cancer, researchers at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) found that a molecule extracted from the plant Hyptis suaveolens is able to eliminate tumor cells in triple Negative Breast Cancer Cell Lines (MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-436).
The scientist Jose Ruben Garcia Sanchez detailed that the discovery was made based on the knowledge of the inhabitants of Copainala, Chiapas, who traditionally use the medicinal plant to fight the cancer. For this, he collected the specimen and placed it in the CHIP herbarium with a specific record number.
Then several molecules were isolated and tested in the cell line MCF7 or estrogen receptor positive (RE+), because 70 or 80 percent of breast cancers are originated by these cells, which can receive signals from estrogen to stimulate their growth, like normal mammary structures. The molecule that showed the greatest effect is a terpene.
They tested the molecule in triple-negative cancer cells lines MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-436, in non-cancerous MCF10A cell line, and in normal endothelial cells. “With astonishment we observed that the terpene has selectivity properties. Thus it eliminates cancer cells, but in healthy is harmless, not generating changes like those observed in cancer cells,” said the IPN High School of Medicine (ESM) researcher.
He said that to obtain grams of the compound kilograms of the plant are required, although the process is very laborious, they already have it standardized. Chemically synthesizing the compound is difficult and the way to go is still long.
The next phase will focus on testing the effect of the terpene in mice models, and conduct toxicity studies to corroborate if it does not cause damage to any organ, or does not have cytotoxic effects on blood cells.
The finding was made in collaboration with ESM researchers Maria Elena Sanchez Mendoza, Jesus Arrieta Valencia and Ivonne Maria Olivares Corichi.
Source: La Jornada