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Flower Power May Reduce Resistance to Breast Cancer Drug Tamoxifen

Posted Feb 26 2010 8:17pm

Combining tamoxifen, the world’s most prescribed breast cancer agent, with a compound found in the flowering plant feverfew may prevent initial or future resistance to the drug, say researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The finding, reported online Feb. 12 in FASEB, provides new insight into the biological roots of that resistance, and also tests a novel way to get around it.

“A solution to tamoxifen resistance is sorely needed, and if a strategy like this can work, it would make a difference in our clinical care of breast cancer,” says the study’s lead investigator, Robert Clarke, PhD, DSc, a professor of oncology and physiology & biophysics at Lombardi, a part of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC). Clarke is also the interim director of GUMC’s Biomedical Graduate Research Organization.

Clarke added that the purified research chemical they tested, parthenolide, a derivative of feverfew, is being tested by other scientists as treatment for a variety of cancers, as well as other health conditions. Feverfew has long been a staple of natural medicine, and is particularly known for its effects on headaches and arthritis. Latin for “fever reducer,” feverfew is a common garden bush with small daisy-like flowers.

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