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Fighting Breast Cancer With New Herb?

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fighting breast cancer may be possible with a new herb MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

Two years ago a large-scale study undertaken at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo proved that green tea did not confer any preventative benefits which reduced the risk of getting breast cancer. (1)

Much as this dampened the hope of many in the high risk bracket for the disease, there is new hope coming in -- not from any type of tea but from a herb that is native to some parts of southern Europe and the dry deserts of India, Pakistan and Africa.

The herb goes by the name of virgin’s mantle and is scientifically called Fagonia cretica.

The herb has not been the focus of scientific research because it was thought that its remedial properties were essentially folklore. It has been known to be used for many centuries to cure various ailments in rural Pakistan.

However of late, cancer patients in rural Pakistan have been asking for the extract of virgin’s mantle to significantly reduce the side effects in cancer treatment such as hair loss, anemia and diarrhea. And it is found to be very effective in this regard.

This led the scientific community to take a closer look at the herb. Research was conducted by the scientists of Aston University in Birmingham and Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, U.K.

What they found was startling. The extract of the plant killed cancer cells of the breast without incurring any damage to the healthy breast cells and tissues in an in vitro setting. (2)

So hopeful have the researchers become that, before commencing human trials, studies are being conducted to identify what exactly is in the plant that destroys cancer cells selectively.

According to Professor Helen Griffith of Aston University, “More research is needed to establish the role of the extract in cancer management and it now needs to be demonstrated that this extract is as effective in killing cancer cells inside the body as it is within laboratory. The next steps are to identify which element of the plant is responsible for killing the cancer cells with a view to eventually begin trails with human cancer patients.” (3)

The study has so far exhibited that the aqueous extract of Fagonia cretica contains potential anti-cancer agents acting either singly or in combination against breast cancer cell proliferation via DNA damage-induced FOXO3a and p53 expression.

FOXO3a is a protein that binds to specific DNA sequences, thereby controlling the flow of genetic information. This protein functions as a trigger for apoptosis or down-regulation of anti-apoptotic proteins. It determines a person’s longevity. (4)

The protein p53 is a natural tumor suppressor and regulates cell apoptosis or programmed cell death. (5)

According to Dr. Caitlin Palframan, policy manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, “Some of the most important cancer-fighting drugs are originally derived from plants. As this research is at the very earliest stage we won't know for quite some time whether drugs derived from this plant will be effective in treating breast cancer but we look forward to seeing any progress.”


1. Green Tea of No Use in Breast Cancer Prevention, Large Study Finds; Science Daily News; Web September;

2. Cup of Herbal Tea Could Help Fight Breast Cancer; Science Daily News; web September 2012;

3. Cup of herbal tea could help fight breast cancer; Aston University Birmingham - News Release; Web September 2012;

4. Want To Live Forever? Better Hope You Have the Right FOXO3A Gene; Singularity Hub; Web September 2012;

5. The p53 tumor suppressor protein; NCBI Bookshelf; Web September 2012;

Abstract of the technical report of the study can be accessed at:

1. An aqueous extract of Fagonia cretica induces DNA damage, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in breast cancer cells via FOXO3a and p53 expression; PubMed.gov; Web September 2012;

Reviewed October 3, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

Breast cancer develops from mutated breast cells that start to divide uncontrollably and form a tumor. Among the first-line treatments for breast cancer is surgery. There are a variety of breast cancer removal surgeries, which vary because when extensive they are: Some surgeries take away the tumor while conserving healthy breast tissue, along with other surgeries remove the entire breast, in addition to some surrounding tissues. Any surgical procedure includes risks and complications, there are a number of possible side effects of breast cancer surgery.

October 6, 2012 - 5:11am
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