Chinese herb kills pancreatic cancer cells.


A little known Chinese compound is making . Researchers at the University of Minnesota, have determined the mechanism by which the thunder plant compound literally kills cancer. The Chinese plant known as the “thunder god ”, or “lei gong teng” is an integral part of Chinese medicine and has been used to treat diverse .

Pancreatic cancer is a particularly aggressive form of cancer with a five year survival rate. A , GRP78, protects from dying and is more prevalent in and tissue than in normal organs. The has been linked to the ability of to survive by impacting on the cell metabolism, (endoplasmic reticulum ER), and a cellular process called the unfolded response.

The researchers demonstrated that suppresses GRP78, leading to pancreatic cancer cell death. In cells treated with the unfolded response worked properly leading to cell death in malfunctioning . “Our study shows that although increased expression of GRP78 confers a survival advantage to the , prolonged exposure to induces chronic ER stress, which eventually leads to cell death,” the authors said. “In this context, inhibition of GRP78 by activation of the ER stress pathway by offers a novel mechanism for inhibiting the growth and survival of pancreatic .”


N. Mujumdar, S. Banerjee, Z. Chen, V. Sangwan, R. Chugh, V. Dudeja, M. Yamamoto, S. M. Vickers, A. K. Saluja. activates unfolded response leading to chronic ER stress in pancreatic . AJP: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2014; 306 (11): G1011 DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00466.2013

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