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XIAMEN, April 9 (Xinhua) -Chinese scientists have extracted a medicinal
compound from the natural herb, thunder god vine, which targets cell
metabolism and could help tackle obesity. Celastrol, extracted from
thunder god vine, and artemisinin, developed from sweet wormwood, are
among five herbal compounds listed by the scientific journal Cell to
have the most potential to treat illnesses where no cure has been
discovered, such as cancer. The discovery of artemisinin won Chinese
scientist Tu Youyou a Nobel Prize in 2015. The research team led by
Zhang Xiaokun, professor with the College of Medicine at Xiamen
University, found that celastrol from the thunder god vine could clear
inflamed mitochondria from cells to alleviate inflammation. Mitochondria
plays an integral role in cell death, immunity and inflammation. By
affecting inflamed mitochondria, celastrol can help control cell
metabolism. The team carried out the research on mice, and found that
celastrol could effectively control weight increases in mice feeding on
high fat food. The research paper was published in science journal
Molecular Cell on April 6. Zhang said his team would continue to
research how celastrol regulates metabolism to explore new drugs, with
low toxicity and high efficiency, to help people lose weight. His
research has been supported by the National Nature and Science
Foundation and Xiamen South Sea Center. Like sweet wormwood, thunder god
vine is native to China though it also grows in other East Asian
countries. The herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for
treating arthritis and autoimmune diseases. However, the whole plant is
extremely toxic. It must undergo a lot of processing to reduce toxicity
before being used in traditional medicine. In modern research, the plant
has been used in clinical trials on AIDS treatment. Its compounds have
been found to have the potential to treat joint pain and rheumatoid


Cancer death rates in the United States have declined steadily over the
years, thanks to improved screening guidelines and falling smoking
rates, among other factors, according to a report released Thursday by
the American Cancer Society. Since 1991, rates have fallen by 25
percent, resulting in more than 2.1 million deaths saved.

The trendy superfood ‘red dates’ from Asia kill cancer cells in the lab,
new research suggests.

2012年12月29日讯 /生物谷BIOON/

In the last decade, available data indicate the rate of new cancer
diagnoses fell by about 2 percent annually in men and remained the same
in women, according to the report. Overall, the cancer death rate  in
men and women fell by about 1.5 percent each year.



“The continuing drops in the cancer death rate are a powerful sign of
the potential we have to reduce cancer’s deadly toll,” Dr. Otis W.
Brawley, chief medical officer of the ACS, said in a press release.
“Continuing that success will require more clinical and basic research
to improve early detection and treatment, as well as creative new
strategies to increase healthy behaviors nationwide. Finally, we need to
consistently apply existing knowledge in cancer control across all
segments of the population, particularly to disadvantaged groups.”

双语阅读,Merck等商家选用新本领商量抗癌药。Jujube fruits, which are known as red dates due to them looking similar
to the Middle-Eastern staple, programme lung, breast and prostate cancer
cells to commit suicide, a study published in the journal?Food &

美国癌症学会的Dr. Otis Webb

The organization attributed declining prostate cancer deaths to the PSA
blood test no longer being recommended. The test led to overdiagnosis of
cancers, or disease that never need to be treated, according to the
American Cancer Society. New lung cancer cases have dipped because of
declining smoking rates, and the organization credited recent rapid
decreases in colorectal cancer cases to expanded use of colonoscopies,
which can remove pre-cancerous growths called poyps and prevent the



However, the American Cancer Society wrote in its report, rates of new
cancer cases remain varied by racial and ethnic groups, with African
Americans suffering the largest burden. In 2014, their cancer death rate
was about 15 percent higher than that of whites’. In children, cancer
also remains a pressing health issue: The disease is the second most
common cause of death in youths ages 1 to 14 years in the U.S.,
following accidents.

Red dates are thought to trigger cancer cell death by causing ‘internal
stress’ in tumours, according to researchers from the Royal Society of

Cancer researchers have been rethinking the way new drugs are developed
as investigations of new medicines focus more on molecular targets than
on the organs where tumors originate. And this evolution in clinical
development has crossed paths with the race to advance drugs that
restore function of a protein to send cancer cells to their grave.

The organization  projects about 1.7 million new cancer cases and more
than 600,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2017. More than 200,000 new
cases of rare cancers are expected to be diagnosed.


At the intersection are pharma companies such as Merck , Roche and
Sanofi and smaller players such as Cellceutix seeking breakthroughs.

But the organization predicts that, among men, prostate, lung and
colorectal cancers will account for about 42 percent of all newly
diagnosed cancers in 2017. In women, breast, lung and colorectal cancers
are projected to account for half of the predicted deaths in 2017. The
organization expects breast cancer to account for 30 percent of all new
cancer cases among women.

The results occurred after cancer cells were exposed to jujube in the
lab. It is therefore unclear if the fruit helps to prevent or treat the
disease in humans.

They have probed the role of the p53 protein in the death of cells with
damaged DNA, and how cancer cells have found a variety of ways to stymie
p53 function to stay alive and multiply. Yet pharma outfits have long
hunted for drugs to revive the activity of the protein without much to
show for their labors in human cancers.

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Over the weekend The New York Times highlighted the progress of the
three drug giants in the race to advance drugs that impact p53, which is
incapacitated in a variety of common and rare cancers. Sanofi is
advancing one of its compounds in a trial focused on patients with a
rare fat-cell cancer known as liposarcoma, but the ubiquity of p53
inactivation across tumor types opens the door to testing individual
drugs against cancers in many different organs at the same time.

Jujube fruits, which are used in Chinese medicine to treat insomnia, a
loss of appetite and diarrhoea, are available in the UK for just ?1.99
for a 40g bag.

“This is a taste of the future in cancer drug development,” said Dr.
Otis Webb Brawley, the chief medical and scientific officer of the
American Cancer Society, in the Times article. “I expect the organ from
which the cancer came from will be less important in the future and the
molecular target more important.”


Of course, behind many hot targets in cancer research are compelling
stories of wiping out tumors, with the most compelling successes often
found in mice, unfortunately. Cancer cells conspire in a variety of
ways, including attachment of double minute 2 proteins to p53, to
silence the kill switch.

The researchers exposed human lung, breast and prostate cancer cells to
eight compounds found in jujube fruits.

Roche has already fallen short with compounds known as Nutlins (named
after its Nutley, NJ, lab) that were designed to free p53 from the
clutches of the double-minute protein. Tantalizing discoveries in the
lab aren’t often easy to translate into useful drugs. But Roche and
others haven’t given up on this target.



Results suggest four of the compounds reduce the survival rate of these


In addition, three red-date compounds trigger cancerous cells to kill


Internal stress caused by the compounds is thought to damage tumours’


The researchers believe jujube extracts could be used in cancer
treatments in traditional Chinese medicine.


They add, however, further research is required to determine how jujube
fruit’s compounds trigger cancer cell death.


Helen Wang, founder of Abakus Foods, previously told MailOnline: ‘The
Chinese saying goes “three jujube berries a day, keeps you young


‘It’s not easy to find something that tastes good and is good for you at
the same time.’