Researchers look to ancient remedy to fight side effects of chemotherapy
By William Weir
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Yale researchers have developed a medication based on a Chinese herbal recipe more than 1,800 years old to counteract the adverse effects of chemotherapy.
The medicine, called PHY906, would relieve the gastrointestinal side effects of a common chemotherapy drug known as CPT-11, but not the drug's effectiveness in fighting cancer cells. Lead researcher
CPT-11 (also known as Irinotecan) is commonly prescribed with other chemotherapy agents. Its side effects cause a number of gastrointestinal ailments and are often treated with several different medications, with mixed results. The PHY906, the researchers say, tackled multiple side effects partly by reducing inflammation and creating new intestinal cells.
The medication was tested on mice that were undergoing chemotherapy. Those that were administered PHY906 showed less weight loss and more anti-tumor activity. Not only did it not compromise the chemotherapy medication's effectiveness, the researchers noted, it enhanced it.
"Herbal medicines, composed of multiple biologically active compounds, are widely claimed to help a variety of diseases," the researchers write in the paper, which was published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. "However, they have not been fully accepted by mainstream medicine because of the complex nature of the formulae, as well as a lack of stringent quality control."
It is derived from a recipe of four plants called
Cheng, who is also the co-chairman of the
Cheng developed the drug for the
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