The fight against prostate cancer has a new ally in this little-know plant.
The neem plant has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine but has recently show a link to help fight prostate tumours.
In ancient times it was referred to as “capable of curing every illness”. The Biojournal of Science and Technology notes
“[Neem’s] leaves, barks, fruits, seeds and roots contain compounds with proven anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, anti-histamine, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-ulcer, analgesic, anti-arrhythmic, anti-tubercular, anti-malarial, diuretic, spermicide, anti-arthritic, anti-protozoal, insect repellant, anti-feedant, anti-hormonal properties and anti-cancerous uses. …
From various research articles it can be presumed that [neem] has chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic potential against cancer models … [including] acting against the breast cancer cells, against gastrointestinal tract and associated cancers … [and] ovary cancer cells.”
Recent animal studies have shown that the active ingredient in neem, nimbolide can shrink prostate tumours by 70%.
The specific aggression of nimbolide against prostate tumours was noted by Gautam Sethi, Ph.D from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, saying
“Although the diverse anti-cancer effects of nimbolide have been reported in different cancer types, its potential effects on prostate cancer initiation and progression have not been demonstrated in scientific studies.
In this research, we have demonstrated that nimbolide can inhibit tumor cell viability — a cellular process that directly affects the ability of a cell to proliferate, grow, divide or repair damaged cell components — and induce programmed cell death in prostate cancer cells …
[A] direct target of nimbolide in prostate cancer is glutathione reductase, an enzyme which is responsible for maintaining the antioxidant system that regulates the STAT3 gene in the body.
The activation of the STAT3 gene has been reported to contribute to prostate tumor growth and metastasis. We have found that nimbolide can substantially inhibit STAT3 activation and thereby abrogating the growth and metastasis of prostate tumor.”
Although only tested on rats at this point, the positive effects of the drug on tumours shows great promise and could lead to the development of cancer drugs in the future.
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