Source: Thailand Medical News  Oct 30, 2019  3 years ago
Pentagamavumon-1 (PGV-1) Extracted From Turmeric (Curcumin) Shows Promise In Treating Cancer
Pentagamavumon-1 (PGV-1) Extracted From Turmeric (Curcumin) Shows Promise In Treating Cancer
Source: Thailand Medical News  Oct 30, 2019  3 years ago
A recent study by scientists from Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) in Japan reports how an experimental drug agent stops cancer cells from growing. 12 years ago, Indonesian scientists initially reported pentagamavumon-1 (PGV-1), an analogue of a molecule found in turmeric and that has been since discovered to have anti-cancer effects. In the new study, tests on cancer cells and animals reveal that these anti-cancer effects come from PGV-1 inhibiting a series of enzymes responsible for the metabolism of reactive oxygen species. This finding is expected to clarify how modifications to PGV-1 will lead to its use for cancer treatment.

The commonly used spice, turmeric has for centuries been used not just as a flavoring, but also as medicine, with history having shown it to have a number of anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer benefits. These medicinal benefits come from the compound curcumin, which is commonly sold as an herbal supplement. Several studies have examined curcumin's anti-cancer properties, but the high doses required and poor understanding of the chemical process through which curcumin acts have limited these efforts.

The Japanese team lead by Professor Jun-ya Kato, at Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), had previously identified that curcumin acts on the same reactive oxygen species enzymes as its analogue, PGV-1. By suppressing the enzyme activity, reactive oxygen species are allowed to cause stress on cells, ultimately leading to cell death. Indeed, many anti-cancer drugs operate similarly, but sometimes with severe side-effects due to stress on healthy cells.

In the recent study, the researchers compared the effects of curcumin and PGV-1 on cancer, finding that they shared many of the same properties, but that PGV-1 did so at higher efficiency and lower dose.

Professsor Jun-ya Kato told Thailand Medical News, "We found that PGV-1 arrests cells in the cell cycle at M phase and that it inhibits many ROS-metabolic enzymes.” This arrest prevents the cancer cells from dividing, and the enzyme inhibition causes the cancer cells to die.

Interestingly, PGV-1 was effective on numerous types of cancers. Moreover, when administered to mice injected with human cancer cells, the mice showed no evidence of the cancer and no side-effects. Furthermore, unlike some other anti-cancer drugs, the anti-cancer effects persisted even after the cessation of PGV-1 administration.

Professor Jun-ya Kato further added, "Our results suggest that PGV-1 inhibits the enzyme activity more effectively in cancer cells than in normal cells. This may be the reason why PGV-1 selectively suppresses tumor cell proliferation with few effects on normal cells."

Scientists have long looked at the potential of curcumin to treat cancer. Kato believes PGV-1 could provide a breakthrough.

Considering the high drug efficacy and low amount of side effects in animals, the researchers propose that PGV-1 should be pharmaceutically developed as an orally administered drug for cancer.

The findings represent a major breakthrough as for many years despite knowing that turmeric or curcumin had anticancer properties, scientists were not able to identify the bioactive molecules and also the exact pathway.

Reference:  Lestari, et al. (2019) Pentagamavunon-1 (PGV-1) inhibits ROS metabolic enzymes and suppresses tumor cell growth by inducing M phase (prometaphase) arrest and cell senescence. Scientific Reports DOI:  10.1038/s41598-019-51244-3 


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