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Natural compound chlorophyllin kills cancer cells

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
chlorophyllin fights cancer

Results of a study published in the International Journal of Cancer shows that chlorophyllin, a semi-synthetic substance derived from chlorophyll, a natural compound in plants, kills cancer cells. Chlorophyllin has been used in Chinese medicine, and taken before meals, is used to prevent liver cancer for those at high risk. Past studies suggest the role of chlorophyllin for treating cancer, finding it is non-toxic in high doses, and inexpensive.

Chlorophyll compounds act in synergy with chemotherapy drugs
According to the new study, chlorophyllin, can act synergistically with current chemotherapy drugs to prevent tumor spread for individuals with cancer. The current research found that chlorophyllin blocked cellular division, killing cancer cells.

The researchers write, “We conclude that chlorophyllin has the potential to be effective in the clinical setting, when used alone or in combination with currently available cancer therapeutic agents.”

Rod Dashwood, professor and director of the Cancer Chemoprotection Program in the Linus Pauling Institute says, “Most chemotherapeutic approaches to cancer try to target cancer cells specifically and do something that slows or stops their cell growth process. We’re now identifying such mechanisms of action for natural compounds, including dietary agents. With further research we may be able to make the two approaches work together to enhance the effectiveness of cancer therapies.”

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The research showed that the semi synthetic derivative chlorophyllin, from the natural compound chlorophyll caused colon cancer cells to remain in a “synthesis phase”, meaning that DNA could not be replicated. The disruption in cancer cell growth ultimately caused cancer cells to die.

Dashwood says, “At the doses used in our experiments, chlorophyllin almost completely stops the activity” of the enzyme ribonucleotide reductase, a current cancer research focus.

Other natural compounds that show promise for cancer treatment from studies, include a form of organic selenium found naturally in garlic and Brazil nuts. The study authors conclude that natural compounds show much promise for cancer treatment, but more research is needed before incorporating them into current cancer treatments.

In the meantime, we can take clues from the findings by ensuring healthy food intake, such as green leafy vegetables, garlic, fruits and nuts and whole grains into the diet.

Chlorophyllin is an addition to natural compounds that show promise for cancer treatment, either alone or in combination with cancer drugs. Partnering chemotherapy drugs with natural compounds such as chlorophyllin could reduce the need for high, toxic doses of chemotherapy agents, and improve cancer cure rates.

OSU News Release