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Doctors want to fight soft tissue tumors with medicinal herb

Soft tissue sarcoma comprise tumors which are difficult to treat, are largely resistant to treatment methods such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Scientists at the Medical University of Graz have set their sights on a potentially new treatment approach based on an isolated natural substance from a South Asian plant.   

Chemotherapy only plays a subordinate role in treating sarcoma, and in particular chondrosarcoma, which arises from the cartilage tissue, explained Birgit Lohberger of the University Clinic for Orthopaedics and Orthopaedic Surgery. This is why efforts are being made to search for alternative forms of treatment.

The doctors in Graz consider the use of medicinal herbs and plants to be a potential solution. “Up until today more than 70 percent of all approved tumor medicines are either natural products or were derived from natural products”, Lohberger said. With respect to the treatment of the extremely heterogeneous group of sarcoma, the researcher in Graz encountered the active ingredient of a South Asian wing seed plant.

"The rangoon creeper - Quisqualis indica – is used by traditional Chinese medicine as an analgesic, vermifuge or to treat cancer“, Lohberger added. She investigated the effects of its active substance ADCF on different cell lines of soft tissue sarcoma. This active substance was shown to reduce cell growth in the case of liposarcoma as well as tumors of skeletal muscles (rhabdomyosarcoma).  

Moreover, it was shown that cell division was delayed by the reduced expression of cell cycle proteins and the protein Survivin, a key protein in the activation of cell nucleus division, as the Medical University of Graz stated.  

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