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Russian scientists find anti-cancer activity of parsley and dill

June 30, 2016, 17:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The scientists are going to conduct tests on human tumors planted to labor mouses

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MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. A team of Russian scientists has proposed an efficient synthetic technology to produce substances with anticancer activity extracted from parsley and dill seeds, said the press service of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).

"Nowadays, not only the search for innovative approaches to cancer treatment but also improvement of existing therapies are essential tasks for the modern science. We have developed a simple method of producing substances, which inhibit the growth of human tumor cells, using feasible building blocks from nature," MIPT professor Alexander Kiselev said.

No chances for tumor growth

Currently, the main method of medical treatment for cancer is chemotherapy. The treatment uses antimitotics, which inhibit the growth of cancer cells by disrupting the process of cell division and then suppress the growth of cancer tumor. Cancer cells divide much more frequently than normal cells and therefore they are more susceptible to the effects of antimitotics. In nature, such substances can be found mostly in tropical plants.

This study has focused on one of the antimitotic agents, the glaziovianin A, isolated from the leaves of the Brazilian tree Ateleia glazioviana Baill. The reported synthesis of this agent is rather laborious and requires expensive precursors and catalysts. The authors have proposed a novel and shorter (half as long as before) synthesis process for glaziovianin A. Precursors for the new synthetic way have been derived from the seeds of parsley and dill. In addition to glaziovianin A, a number of its structural analogs have been synthesized in order to help finding analogs with favorable antimitotic properties. The antitumor activity of new antimitotics from parsley and dill has been tested via two independent methods using the sea urchin embryos and human cancer cells.

Tests on sea urchin and cancer cells

The embryos of sea urchins have been used to mimic cancer tumor, as they are actively dividing into the early states of embryonic evolution. Moreover, when the division of embryonic cells is disrupted (and this happens by the influence of antimitotics on the cells), the embryo starts spinning axially, which can be observed using a common light microscope. The scientists have added test substances to an aqueous medium with the embryos and determined the concentrations at which the division stops completely. The lower the concentration, the greater the antimitotic activity the substance has. Apart from antimitotic activity, overall toxicity and biomembrane permeability have been measured.

Further, the researchers have tested the new antimitotics on various human cancer cells, ex. lung carcinoma, melanoma, prostate, breast, colon, and ovarian cancers. To control, the influence of the new substances have been also checked towards healthy blood cells. As a result, it has been shown that antimitotics from parsley and dill are effective at limiting the growth of melanoma cells but has almost no impact on the blood cells, with the glasiovianin A being the most active substance in the row. The newly synthesized substances have shown the efficiency towards the human cancer cells and model animals. As a next step, the scientists are going to test them on human tumors planted to labor mouses.

The work was published in the Journal of Natural Products.

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