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Veggie Compound Shows Promise Against Skin Cancer

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By    |   Friday, 08 Sep 2017 09:35 AM

An international team of researchers has identified a compound in cruciferous vegetables shows promise as the foundation for a new drug that can kill melanoma skin cancer without harming healthy cells.

Two Pen State College of Medicine researchers designed and synthesized a compound called NISC-6 found naturally in vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. The researchers found that the compound killed life-threatening melanoma cells and blocked tumor growth roughly 69 percent of the time.

“It was more of a fragment-based drug design,” Dr. Arun Sharma, associate professor of pharmacology and leader of the study, writes in The European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. “We took isoselenocyanate moiety (fragments) from an earlier drug design we had worked on and then combined it with napthalamide moiety of mitonafide, a topo IIα inhibitor."

In layman’s terms, the study authors took a naturally occurring element found in certain vegetables — known to help combat cancer — and tested how it fought melanoma.

"There are a lot of recommendations that, for example, broccoli can reduce your chances of getting cancer," says Sharma. "Those are OK recommendations for prevention, but the compounds in the vegetables alone may not be potent enough to be used in a therapeutic environment."

The doctors tweaked a few components to improve the drug’s effectiveness. Eventually, after numerous iterations, the doctors created a compound that they believed could kill the cancer cells without damaging the healthy surrounding tissues — which marks a significant improvement on chemotherapy and radiation.

"We designed it for easy elimination from the body, so, consequently, toxicity should be reduced," says Sharma. "We also think, with this compound and this type of approach, if it goes further, we should be able to delay, or overcome resistance because it not only targets BRAF mutant melanoma cells, but also BRAF wild type melanoma cells."

Sharma says NISC-6 may also work on other forms of cancer. Melanoma is responsible for more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths.

As more research continues into the potential therapeutic benefits of the natural compound, experts note that preventing skin cancer is still the best strategy.

Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff, president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, tells Newsmax Health that annual full-body exams by a dermatologist should be a top priority. She says you should also check your skin regularly for changes.

“Pay attention to new moles, an open sore that won’t heal, or a growth that continues to itch, scab, or bleed. In general, it’s important not to ignore a change of any kind,” she says.

“Make an appointment with a dermatologist if you see any change in an existing mole, freckle, or spot or if you find a new one with any of the warning signs of skin cancer.”

She adds that a helpful tool is what she calls the ABCDEs of melanoma detection:

Asymmetry: If you draw a line down the center of your mole and the two halves do not match, that is a warning sign for melanoma.

Border: The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.

Color: Most benign (non-cancerous) moles are all one color. A variety of colors in the same mole is another warning signal of melanoma.

Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger in diameter than the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch), though they can sometimes be smaller when first detected.

Evolution: Benign moles look the same over time. Be on the alert when a mole starts to evolve or change in any way.

Sarnoff warns that the ABCDEs are a helpful tool, but not a catch all.

“It’s not only important to assess moles on their own, but also to compare them to other moles on your body,” she notes. “If one spot looks noticeably different than surrounding moles — an ‘ugly duckling’ – have it examined by a dermatologist.”

© 2017 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

   
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Scientists have identified a compound in cruciferous vegetables that shows promise as the foundation for a new drug that can kill melanoma skin cancer without harming healthy cells. As research continues, experts note that the best way to combat skin cancer is to take steps to prevent it.
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2017-35-08
Friday, 08 Sep 2017 09:35 AM
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