The compound curcusone D, found in the root of the Jatropha curcas plant, can not only kill cancer cells, but can also stop their migration.
Chemist Mingji Dai, from Purdue University, has figured out how to synthesize this compound to fight a cancer protein that previously could not be inhibited.
Curcusone D is able to inhibit the protein BRAT1, which is found in several types of cancers, including: breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, liver, brain cancer, among others.
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Science had considered the BRAT1 protein indissoluble until they discovered the curcusona D in the root of this plant that is native to America and has spread to other continents, including Africa and Asia, according to published Phys.org.
“Our compound can not only kill these cancer cells, it can stop their migration. If we can keep the cancer from metastasizing, the patient can live longer,” explained chemist Mingji Dai.
In addition, he added that there are no other compounds capable of inhibiting the BRAT1 cancer protein.
However, this plant does not produce this compound in large volumes, so large quantities would be needed to cover an effective treatment. Mingji Dai suggests creating this compound and improving it for future effective cancer treatments.
“In nature, the plant doesn’t produce a lot of this compound,” Dai said.