A naturally occurring compound found in many fruits and vegetables as well as red wine, selectively kills leukemia cells in culture while showing no discernible toxicity against healthy cells, according to a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. These findings, which were published online March 20 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and will be in press on May 4, offer hope for a more selective, less toxic therapy for leukemia. "Current treatments for leukemia, such as chemotherapy and radiation, often damage healthy cells and tissues and can produce unwanted side effects for many years afterward. So, there is an intensive search for more targeted therapies for leukemia worldwide," said corresponding author Xiao-Ming Yin, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Yin and his collaborators studied the effects and the mechanisms of the most common type of a naturally modified anthocyanidin, known as cyanidin-3-rutinoside, or C-3-R, which was extracted and purified from black raspberries, in several leukemia and lymphoma cell lines. They found that C-3-R caused about 50 percent of a human leukemia cell line known as HL-60 to undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis, within about 18 hours of treatment at low doses. When they more than doubled the concentration of C-3-R, virtually all of the leukemia cells became apoptotic and died. C-3-R also induced apoptosis in other human leukemia and lymphoma cell lines.
There is one thing to keep in mind when reading information of this kind and that is this: It is very difficult to reproduce the outcomes in humans as derived from a test tube, simply because lympocytes in the human body are kept alive by the human body. So what occurs in the test tube may not work once introduced to humans.
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