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Breakthrough Anti-Cancer Herb

Translated by David J. Toman

Local breakthrough in anti-cancer herbs discovered
from Taiwan's United Daily News

July 9, 2002

A major breakthrough has been made in a locally developed anti-cancer medicine with the Industrial Research Technology Research Institute's discovery that derivatives of the common Chinese medical remedy Shan Fang Feng (Ledebouriella) can effectively suppress the growth of cancer cells. With minimal or no side effects, Ledebouriella is being touted as the first locally developed anti-cancer substance found in Chinese herbal medicine. Current findings have been transferred to a local pharmaceutical company for pre-clinical studies.

After years of research, the Industrial Research Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has discovered for the first time an anti-cancerous local Chinese herbal substance. Working with National Taiwan University and the National Cancer Institute of the United States, ITRI has completed active substance follow-up studies, active substance synthesis, chemical structure refinement, tumor cell activity screening, and in vivo activity tests in animals, demonstrating the substance's high selectivity in destroying cancer cells and its activities against renal, breast, ovarian, and nasopharyngeal cancer cells.

Ledebouriella (Radix Ledebouriellae), a common Chinese herbal remedy, is generally used to strengthen the immune system or relieve rheumatic pains. Working with the active components of the traditional remedy Shan Fang Feng, the ITRI Biomedical Engineering Center discovered multiple polythiophene compounds and related derivatives, and using chemical synthesis techniques was able to obtain an anti-cancer compound believed to be 10,000 times more effective in suppressing the activity of cancer cells than the most commonly used substance, Proleukin.

According to Lee Chung-hsi, deputy director of ITRI, the most significant characteristic of this compound is a particle structure completely different from that of previous anti-cancer substances, thereby opening up completely new possibilities. Highly potent, the substance must only be used in low dosages to minimize side effects.

Patients are advised to avoid self-medication with Shan Fang Feng, as the remedy also contains other toxic substances and must be taken in combination with other herbs.

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