The discovery of anti-cancer chemistry makes the skullcap fit for modern medicine – ScienceDaily

The discovery of anti-cancer chemistry makes the skullcap fit for modern medicine – ScienceDaily

The evolutionary secrets that allow the medicinal herb known as barbed skullcap to produce cancer-fighting compounds have been unraveled by a collaboration of British and Chinese researchers.

The CEPAMS collaboration used DNA sequencing technology to determine the genomic sequence of the skullcap (Skullcap barbata) known as Banzhilian in China.

This provided the researchers with the genetic information – a microevolutionary story – needed to identify how the plant produces the compound scutebarbatin A, which acts against a range of cancer cells.

Professor Cathie Martin, group leader at the John Innes Center and one of the study’s authors, said: “We found that the primary metabolite has activity against cancer cells but not against non-cancer cells, which is particularly important for an anti-cancer metabolite is . Now we’re looking at synthetic methods to make more of the lead compound.”

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), to isolate the medicinal chemistry from the plant, the herb is boiled in water for two hours and the extract is dried to make a powder and taken as a decoction (concentrated liquid). of the herb’s anti-cancer activity, researchers are on the verge of synthesizing larger quantities of compounds faster and more sustainably using a host like yeast.

The research that appears in the journal molecular plant is led by CEPAMS, a partnership between the John Innes Center and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and supported by the Royal Society.

‘This is a fantastic collaboration in developing interesting drug guidelines from natural resources and shows the practical value of focusing on the microevolution of a species,’ said Professor Martin.

The genus Skullcap has been used in TCM for centuries to treat various diseases. Clinical work has shown that preparations based on Skullcap barbata during chemotherapy can reduce the risk of metastatic tumors.

dr Evangelos Tatsis, head of the Shanghai-based CEPAMS group, said: ‚ÄúNatural products have long been the key compounds for new drug discovery. By following in the footsteps of traditional Chinese plants, we can develop new anticancer drugs, and this research marks a crucial step in that direction.”

Traditional plant-based medicines have long been used to provide clues for new drug discovery, and natural herbal products such as vinblastine and taxol are used clinically as anti-cancer drugs.

TCM is one of the best cataloged systems of empirical information on the therapeutic properties of herbal remedies.

Cancer drugs derived from traditional Chinese medicine have higher potency than chemical-synthetic drugs and less toxic side effects. The genomes of medicinal skullcaps reveal the polyphyletic origins of clerodane diterpene biosynthesis in the family Laminiaceae, is published in molecular plant

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