They are pushing ahead with studies to combat cancer with a wild plant

About two dozen researchers have discovered a cancer-fighting plant native to Argentina’s Cordoba Mountains and known by its scientific name Solanum pseudocapsicumbut in rural areas it is said bursting horses due to its high toxicity.

“ANDThe project is completed and the goals have been achieved. Currently we are also formulating the extracts, the active fractions, so that they have better properties to reach the target cells, penetrate membranes, less toxic, more effective, longer lasting and therefore the effect is even more beneficial“Manuela García, pharmacist and medicinal chemist (UNC), told the University Supplement.

The team of scientists belongs to the Center for Research in Biochemistry and Clinical Immunology (Cibici) and the Institute for Interdisciplinary Plant Biology (IMBIV), UNC and Conicet.

Based on studies of the entire plant, including its fruits, García, who is also an associate researcher at Conicet and an assistant professor in the UNC Department of Chemical Sciences, said: “New drugs can be developed” to combat these diseases.

In total, “The researchers experimented with this species and achieved astonishing results: a component of the horseburster, an alkaloid called solanocapsin, blocks cells in which the BRAC2 gene is mutated, the phenomenon responsible for the development of breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer is responsible. , mostlysaid the UNC Secretary of Science and Technology.

The good results of this plant allowed us to determine the molecular target, that is, the component that needs to be blocked to selectively kill cancer cells.“, i.e. to fight cancer,” said García.

Poisonous plants to fight cancer

The plant called bursting horsesIt is poisonous to the liver, grows in the mountains of Córdoba and can be seen near cow sheds and in shady places. It grows in many parts of the world and in some countries it is an ornamental plant. The powder of the ground plant is very poisonous. The common name of the plant suggests that it should not be ingested under any circumstances. Yes, it is manipulated under controlled conditions in the laboratory, but if handled incorrectly it can have very serious health consequences.d,” warns García.

A pharmacist from the National University of Córdoba emphasized: “In addition, this plant was included in the study because we know that most of its compounds are active antibacterial agents and inhibitors of several enzymes linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases.“.

bursting horses
Photo. Left to right. Gastón Soria, Manuela García and Laura Guantay are part of the anti-cancer research project. (Courtesy of Manuela García).

Economic reversal

He emphasizes that “Active ingredients for the treatment of diseases are often based on plants that are millions of years ahead in evolution” And “Finding these compounds requires years of work, huge financial investments, and thousands of hours of analysis and testing.“.
The project was created in 2013-2014. “The study was funded by the country’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the investment fund of the pharmaceutical company Glaxo.“García clarified.

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Once the mechanism of action is found, the enzyme with which these compounds interact and provide their activity, their mechanism of action is biological. Therefore, it can be adapted and obtain much more potent compounds than we have found in plant research.s,” emphasizes Manuela García.

I confirm that “The next step will be to find people who are interested and have money for this type of investment because it is all very expensive. Once we find the target protein“.

less damage

Our mechanism of action is different from that of existing treatments. It causes less damage to the DNA of normal cells than current treatments, resulting in fewer side effects for those treated. We tested it on different types of mutations and in all cases it worked very well“, explains Laura Guantay, who joined the research team as a doctoral student at Conicet.

Guantay explains: “It must be taken into account that each tumor is unique because we are developing a mechanism that suggests alternative ways to kill mutated cells that often evade antitumor drugs because they mutate.“.

Stop cancer progression

The goal is not to find a pure anticancer plant, extract or compound, but to find new mechanisms to inhibit and stop cancer progression.“explains Garcia.

In this sense he points it out “The plan was to carry out an extensive search for plants from Argentina and an evaluation of these extracts, the first phases of work on these plants, until one reached the pure compounds that interacted with the tumor cells and caused them to stop growing.

The anti-cancer project brought together an interdisciplinary research team: biologists, biochemists, pharmacists and botanists.
The biochemist also emphasized that the project is “conceived by the group of Gastón Soria from OncoPrecision. Soria brought together all the people and parts for the results after many years of work involving staff from the Leloir Institute and groups from the Catholic University.

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