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African Bush May Hold Hope for Mesothelioma Patients

Cancer treatment has come a long way in the last decade, but this has not been the case for the rare and deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma presents a bit of a dichotomy to the medical community: unlike many other forms of cancer, it is well known what causes the disease – exposure to the mineral asbestos. But treating the condition has proven to be extremely difficult, and the condition is still always considered fatal. As researchers work on finding a cure, they have turned to both innovation and alternatives found in nature. A group of researchers believe that they may have found an answer in a compound found in a bush that grows in Kenya.

The team, led by first author Victor Kuete of the University de Dschang, found that the evergreen plants naturally produce compounds called quinones.  In publishing the results of their study in a recent edition of the journal Pharmacology and Toxicology, the team says that there are 14 different naturally occurring quinones in nature, and that among these, they found that the one that is found in the Kenyan plant – rapanone – triggers cell death in malignant mesothelioma cancer cells. The group was able to obtain the particular quinones from the chemical bank of natural products at the University of Nairobi chemical department’s research laboratory.

Kuete says, “The tested natural products … are potential cytotoxic compounds that deserve more investigations towards developing novel anti proliferative drugs against human carcinoma.”  The goal of mesothelioma cancer treatment is to both kill the cancer cells and to stop the cancer from spreading, and there have been a number of naturally-derived compounds that have generated interest and hope, including the compounds found in the skins of red grapes, in green tea, and in the spice turmeric.

Mesothelioma is a disease that has an extremely long latency period: this means that it can grow in the body for decades after the patient’s initial exposure to asbestos before it ever causes symptoms. This delay between the disease’s origin and its manifestation has the unfortunate effect of letting the cancer spread, making it much more difficult to treat.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are seeking information on the latest treatment options, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. We are constantly searching for the most updated information on treatment, on top physicians, and on all of the resources that are of the most value to those who have been affected by this difficult disease. Call us at  1-800-692-8608 for more information.


Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an experienced blog writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of expertise include health, medical research, and law.

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