COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 25 (UPI) — U.S. scientists, who have tried for years to develop drugs to reduce the risk of cancer with limited success, are turning to plant substances, researchers said.
The synthetic drugs finasteride and dutasteride, which treat enlargement of the prostate gland, have been effective at deterring prostate cancer, while the osteoporosis drug raloxifene and the breast cancer treatment tamoxifen — synthetic — have cut the breast cancer rate in half among high-risk women.
However, chemicals from plants and other living organisms are the basis for almost one-third of today’s prescription medicines and scientists have identified a variety of promising candidates that may prevent cancer.
John M. Pezzuto of the University of Hawaii in Hilo and his team, using terrestrial plants, have uncovered several molecules with promising cancer prevention activity, most notably resveratrol, the red-wine compound made by a range of plants.
Gary D. Stoner of Ohio State University has been studying cancer prevention potential of berries and beets and he and his team have used a freeze-dried and powdered black raspberry mixture that blocks formation of esophageal and colon cancers in rats.
However, “this food-based approach to cancer prevention has been hurt” by companies that have made health claims for foods “on the basis of very little research,” Stoner says in the article published in Chemical & Engineering News.
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