June 11 2008 post. In the June 15 “Blood” Table of Contents I came across a study on parthenolide by Craig Jordan, Monica Guzman and the University of Rochester/University of Pennsylvania team. As you can read in the abstract (see: http://tinyurl.com/4v2re6), the team discovered not one but two (!) new agents, celastrol and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, that effectively eradicate AML at the bulk, progenitor, and stem cell level. Wowie!
I don’t have a lot of time now, and, besides, I don’t have access (yet) to the full study, but just for the heck of it I quickly looked up celastrol, which turns out to be an active antioxidant compound extracted from the root bark of a Chinese perennial plant called “Thunder of God Vine.” (Don’t you love that name?)
You can read a bit more about it in this 2006 study published in “Cancer Research”: http://tinyurl.com/3l7js6 But, in a nutshell, it has been used for a long time in traditional Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory conditions. It is a proteasome inhibitor (like Velcade) but with no toxic side effects. As far as nude mice are concerned, at any rate! Interesting titbit: I read that its leaves and flowers are highly toxic. I suppose that rules out any possibility of making any thunderous cancer-stem-cell-killing tea, huh?
Update. You can read more about celastrol on my Page on “General cancer stem cell information.” Or see my June 30th 2008 post.