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Scientists from the UK have figured out a way to turn chemicals found in the crocus flower which blooms throughout the UK into a ‘smart bomb’ of sorts when it comes to a new cancer medication. This new treatment may potentially create a drug that is capable of targeting cancerous tumors, such as associated with breast, colon, lung and prostate, without causing any side effects.
While the native British Autumn crocus has been known for a long time for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, its chemical colchicine is unfortunately also toxic to other cells within the human body. For this reason, the use of the crocus and the chemical colchicine has not been used for medical treatments.
By attaching a chemical 'tail' to the colchicine molecule, the researchers have been able to deactivate the toxic properties until it reaches the targeted cancer. Cancer tumors contain an enzyme called MMP and this enzyme effectively removes the ‘tail’ and activates the colchicine. Once activated, the colchicine goes into action breaking up the blood vessels that feed the tumor and essential starve it. Because the drug is activated in the tumor, it does not affect outside tissue and no side effects have been noted.