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After Aspirin, Scientists Found a New Anti-cancer Compound from Willow Tree

Credits: Chemistry World

Aspirin, a wonder drug obtained from the willow tree is used to prevent a number of health problems. The drug is extremely popular and the annual consumption of this drug around the globe is about 120 billion pills per year. It’s an anti-inflammatory drug given to patients immediately after a heart attack to prevent cardiac tissue death and clot formation.

After a century, Scientists led from Rothamsted Research and cancer biologists at the University of Kent are successful in finding another anti-cancer chemical, miyabeacin found in the leaves and stems of the willow tree.

Study in detail here.

The study results show that willow extract is more vulnerable to leukemia cells. Willow leaves are used in medicine as an antirheumatic, antipyretic and analgesic herbal medicine. Salicin might be the significant component that shows the counter tumor impact yet other metabolites may build the strength of the willow extract as compared to pure salicin.

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Miyabeacin can kill the number of cancer cells even those that are resistant to all other drugs. It is also found effective against many throat, breast and ovarian cancer cell lines.

Researchers are progressively keen on the numerous natural compounds that can be extracted from trees and experimenting with several different ways by which these may be conveniently incorporated into modern medicines. In the previous history, several species of the trees were used as medicinal remedies and are still in use whether it is the bark, roots, fruit, seeds, or leaves.

In the previous century, analysts exhibited that aspirin restrains the production of certain hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. These prostaglandins when produced in the body, may trigger irritation, pain, blood clotting or fever.

Twenty years before, a second major mechanism of action for aspirin was discovered by the scientists that it supports the production of molecules called resolvins, which additionally assists to quench the fires of inflammation.

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The co-leader of the study, Rothamsted’s Prof Mike Beale tells that the pharmacological properties of miyabeacin are found greater than aspirin. Miyabeacin, a new opportunity is also proved effective against neuroblastoma that is a common childhood cancer and survival rate is not even 50 percent. Two salicin groups are present in it that give it anti-blood-clotting and anti-inflammatory ability.

After brain cancer, neuroblastoma is the most continuous strong tumor found in the under-fives.

The researchers tested miyabeacin against several cancer cell lines. Professor Beale tells that the next step of researchers is to expand the creation of miyabeacin from cultivated willow and give more material to promote clinical testing.

The willow bark was first used in medicine by the ancient Greek, Assyrian and Egyptian civilizations. And the first remedy from willow was reported in 1763 against fever.

Another drug called aspirin (acetylsalicylate) was produced by the Bayer Company in 1897. It includes the most successful and earliest nature-inspired drugs.

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Rothamsted Research is home to the UK’s National Willow Collection and related to the Institute’s established mastery in analytical chemistry. The co-leader of the study, Dr. Jane Ward puts the cancer breakthrough down to having fifteen hundred willow species and hybrids accessible to screen with state of art methods.

Dr. Jane Ward tells that modern sciences sometimes neglect the medicinal assessment of other salicinoids in willow due to the success of aspirin. And the National Willow Collection has demonstrated to be a gold-mine of new science, that maybe underlies its position in antiquated treatments.

About the author

Fariha Munir

Fariha is a Microbiology graduate and working as a freelance content writer. Her major areas of interest are nutrition, diseases, research, and medical diagnostic technologies.

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