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

milk-thistle-150x150The University of Colorado released a new study revealing that a compound extracted from Milk Thistle has the ability to slow colectoral cancer cells. The study used stem cells as a model to investigate the impact of  thistle on cancer cells. 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 colorectal  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  at the CU  Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Specifically, the group used sorted colorectal  stem cells to grow tumors in mice that were either fed or not fed with silibinin.  was measured by visible size, MRI scan and measurement of tumor (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  that extends from silibinin to its chemopreventive properties in colorectal , 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 animal models,” said Sushil Kumar, PhD,  in the Agarwal Lab.


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