Endangered Chinese Fir Tree Holds the Cure to Cancer

According to new recent research, endangered species of Chinese fir tree exhibits cancer-fighting properties (compound 29)  and can be used to fight back cancer with current cancer treating medications. As per the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 2018 more than 1,700,00 cases of cancer were reported out of which approximately 600,000 individuals in the United States died due to this deadly disease.

All inclusive, cancer keeps on being one of the main sources of death; by 2030, the NCI predicts that 23.6 million new cancer cases will be reported. Scientists are subsequently working day and night attempting to devise new systems to fend off this endless sickness, and an ever-increasing number of researchers are switching to nature looking for solutions

As per the recent research, like oolong tea extract has the potential to fight back the breast cancer, another ongoing investigation found that synthetic analog of compound researchers found in a Chinese tree might most likely handle and control pancreatic cancer which has been showing some resistance to medications.

Recently, Mingji Dai, an organic chemist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, has to lead a group of researchers who are adding to the mounting proof that nature may hold the way to cancer treatments.

Dai worked together with Zhong-Yin Zhang, a teacher of medicinal chemistry at Purdue, to carefully observe and study the structure and capability of a tree called Abies beshanzuensis. It is classified as an endangered species of a Chinese fir tree. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

‘Compound 29’ powerful against cancer

For carrying out the study, Dai and his research team made some structural analogs of the compounds present in the tree.

One of them turned out to be a powerful inhibitor of SHP2, a chemical that researchers have “associated with breast cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer, laryngeal cancer, oral cancer, and other cancer types. [SHP2] is one of the most important anti-cancer targets in the pharmaceutical industry right now, for a wide variety of tumors,” Dai explains. “A lot of companies are trying to develop drugs that work against SHP2.”

Dai and his team named their created compound “compound 30.” They clarify that compound 30 ties with the SHP2 protein, shaping a “covalent bond.” By difference, the majority of the compounds that different scientists have created to target SHP2 don’t frame such a steady bond with it.

“With others, it’s a looser binding,” Dai says. “Ours forms a covalent bond, which is more secure and long-lasting.” He further said: “But we also wondered whether this type of molecule could interact with other proteins.”

To further knowledge about the compound the research team used compound 29. They attached a chemical tag to it so that it can be used as bait and catch other proteins. A structural analog of compound 29 is almost similar to compound 30.

This resulted in singling out another catalyst POLE3, which helps in the synthesis and repairing of DNA molecules. Along these lines, POLE3 and compound 29 interfaced, yet compound 29 all alone did not influence cancer cells.

This outcome made scientists think that compound 29 and an anti-cancer drug which aids in DNA synthesis together will work efficiently against cancer. Dai and group screened for such medications and found that etoposide was a decent option.

Mingji Dai said: “Compound 29 alone doesn’t kill cancer, but when you combine it with etoposide, the drug is much more effective […] This could improve some of the cancer drugs used today, and it also tells us something new about the function of POLE3. People weren’t targeting this protein for cancer treatment before, but our findings offer a new strategy for killing cancer cells,” concludes the researcher.

Adeena Tariq

Emma’s professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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