New York: A natural compound extracted from Neem tree could potentially be used to treat pancreatic cancer, without causing adverse effects that chemotherapy or radiation does, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The Biomedical scientists at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) tested nimbolide, the compound found in neem leaves, against pancreatic cancer in cell lines and mice.
The results revealed that nimbolide can likely stop pancreatic cancer’s growth and its spread without harming normal, healthy cells.
"The promise nimbolide has shown is amazing, and the specificity of the treatment towards cancer cells over normal cells is very intriguing," said Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, associate professor at TTUHSC El Paso.
As pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers it kills nearly 94 percent of patients, mostly within five years of diagnosis. The cancer also grows quickly and there are currently no effective treatments available.
In the study, Lakshmanaswamy and colleagues observed that nimbolide was able to reduce the migration and invasion capabilities of pancreatic cancer cells by 70 percent -- meaning the cancerous cells did not become aggressive and spread.
Nimbolide treatments also induced cancer cell death, causing the size and number of pancreatic cancer cell colonies to drop by 80 percent. And that’s promising, the researchers say.