One of Britain’s best known flowering plants could soon be used to stop the spread of breast cancer. Scientists at John Hopkins University, Baltimore have discovered that a drug based on foxglove, which produces distinctive tall spires of pink tubular bells in the summer, can dramatically slow the migration of malignant cells to other parts of the body.
Their research reveals that digoxin, a long-established drug based on chemicals found in foxglove, can block the production of a protein called HIF-1, which has been implicated in the spread of breast tumours.
Digoxin has been used for decades to treat conditions such as congestive heart failure and irregular heartbeats. But the latest discovery, by a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, suggests the cheap and easily available medicine could also be deployed in the fight against cancer.
Earlier this year the same team found it could reduce the spread of prostate cancer in men by around 24 per cent. ‘This is really exciting,’ said research leader Dr Gregg Semenza, from the Institute for Cell Engineering at the university. ‘Our findings warrant clinical trials to determine if the doses (used in animal studies) are enough to sufficiently block HIF-1 and slow breast cancer growth and spread.’
Foxglove was one of the first plants to be used for the development of a pharmaceutical medicine. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2066379/Foxgloves-beautiful-poisonous-flowers-beat-breast-cancer.html#ixzz1f1a3tAOh