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Chinese herb ingredient helps brain tumours

Chinese herb ingredient helps brain tumours

An ingredient of a Chinese herbal remedy made from the Indigo plant is  being studied by scientists as a treatment for deadly brain tumours.

Indirubin has been found to stop the spread of cancer cells within the brain and block the formation of new blood vessels which the brain tumour needs in order to grow.

The study at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centre shows that drugs from the indirubin family may improve survival for patients with glioblastomas.

Glioblastomas – one of the most persistent and deadly brain tumours – have an average survival rate of 15 months after diagnosis.

“We have pretty good methods to stop glioblastoma from growing in the human brain, explains Dr Antonio Chioccaa, professor of neurological surgery in Columbus Ohio.

He point out, however, that “these therapies fail because tumor cells migrate from the original site and grow elsewhere in the brain”.

“Our findings suggest that indirubins offer a novel therapeutic strategy for these tumors that simultaneously targets tumor invasion and angiogenesis,” Chiocca says.

Indirubin stops two of the most important hallmarks of glioblastomas. – the way it spreads and the growth of the new blood vessels to feed the tumour.

Indirubin is derived from the Indigo plant.

It is the active ingredient in the Chinese herbal remedy called Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, which is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia.

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