Common Weed Could Treat Skin Cancer
13 Feb, 2011 - 06:54am
Have you ever thought that the weed growing out in your garden could be an answer to the cure of skin cancer? A recent research conducted by the Australian researchers from the Mater Radiation Oncology Centre, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Griffith Medical Research College and Peplin Biotech Ltd have unraveled the cancer fighting properties of the common weed Euphorbia Peplus or Petty spurge. The study was published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
Euphorbia peplusor “Petty spurge" is a common weed found in the gardens. The sap of this plant has been used as a home remedy to treat warts, corns, asthma, catarrh, skin and other form of cancers. The researchers wanted to test the potential anti-cancer properties of this plant using scientific methods of analysis.
Skin cancers are of two types - malignant melanomas and non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanomas are less common and more serious than non-melanoma skin cancers, found commonly in older age groups. Both the forms of skin cancer are a result of excessive exposure to the sun. Non-melanoma cancer accounts for a third of all cancers detected in the world. It includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Most cases can be treated easily but for some people these treatments either fail or are not suitable. Therefore, this research mainly aimed to find out if these people could make use of this alternative form of treatment.
The research involved 36 patients over eighteen years of age with non-melanoma skin cancer lesions. Collectively there were a total of 48 lesions across the participants. All these patients had not responded to previous therapies, had refused to undergo surgery or were unsuitable for the conventional form of treatment. The sap of the plant was applied to the lesions once a day for three days using a cotton bud. This extract had an active ingredient called ingenol mebutate also known as PEP005.
After a month it was found that 41 of the 48 lesions showed a complete response to the treatment, meaning that no trace of tumor was found after clinical investigation. After the second follow-up it was seen that 30 of the 48 or 62.5% of lesions had shown a complete response to the treatment using the petty spurge plant extract. Therefore this clinical study confirms the anti-cancer properties of the plant, specially of the active ingredient PEP005.
The research has set an important pathway for the development of PEP005 as an established form of treatment for skin cancer. But it still requires further tests and trials on a larger scale before it can be established as a standard form of treatment for skin cancer.
New forms of treatment would continue to be explored for skin cancer but it is also important that we prevent ourselves from getting the condition as far as possible. For this you need to avoid excessive sun exposure which Is the main cause of both malignant melanomas and non-melanoma skin cancers.