Milk Thistle slows the ability of colorectal cancer cells to grow.

milk thistleThe University of Colorado released a new study revealing that a compound extracted from Thistle has the ability to slow colectoral . The study used stem cells as a model to investigate the impact of thistle on . Silibinin is a purified substance derived from thistle seeds and acts as a chemopreventive agent.

The compound, called silibinin purified from thistle, was injected into different types of stem cells and slows the ability of stem cells to grow the disease. When stem cells from tumors grown in silibinin-fed conditions were re-injected into new models, the cells failed to develop tumors.

“It’s very simple: tumors from mice that were initially fed silibinin had fewer stem cells, were smaller, had lower metabolisms and showed decreased growth of new blood vessels. Importantly, when these stem cells from tumors in mice fed silibinin were re-injected into new mice, we found these stem cells had lost their potential to repopulate even in the absence of silibinin exposure,” said Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, co-program leader of and Control at the CU and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Specifically, the group used sorted stem cells to grow tumors in mice that were either fed or not fed with silibinin. Tumor growth was measured by visible size, MRI scan and measurement of tumor metabolism (glucose use). These tumors cells either unsorted or sorted for stem cells were then re-injected in mice to measure their growth pattern in next generations in the absence of silibinin feeding.

“We have been deeply involved in this line of research that extends from silibinin to its chemopreventive properties in , and the current study takes another important step: we see both a likely chemopreventive and a therapeutic mechanism and the result of this mechanism in ,” said Sushil Kumar, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Agarwal Lab.


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