A Christmas berry primrose plant could help patients suffering from a form of cancer of the eye.
A compound made from the plant has stopped the cancer’s growth in preliminary tests.
At the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Centre and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
“I’m very optimistic” said Professor Jeffrey Benovic who led the new work at SKCC.
Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common eye cancer in adults and although
different from melanoma of the skin, both cancers can be lethal.
Surgery or radiation is the main treatment for patients with the condition where it has not spread to other parts of the body. This form of cancer most often spread to the liver.
The new compound comes from an ornamental plant in the primrose family known as Ardisia crenata.
It has been used to treat cancer cells in the lab where it was shown to block their growth and “appears to be able to help resent the cells back to their normal state”.
The work is part of a larger effort to develop new strategies to combat UM.
Details of the team’s findings have been published in the journal Molecular Cancer Research.