Study: Active ingredient in coral berries slowed down aggressive eye cancer
An active ingredient that has been known for 30 years could unexpectedly turn out to be a hope for eye tumors. This is shown by the results of a study. The plant from whose leaves the tested substance comes is the coral berry.
The plant, which originally comes from Korea, is surprisingly resistant to insect damage: its leaves are home to bacteria that produce a natural insecticide - a poison with the cryptic name FR900359, abbreviated FR.
This toxin could soon make a career elsewhere: as a possible medicine for choroidal melanoma, the most common and aggressive form of eye cancer. FR has been in the focus of pharmaceutical research for some time: the substance inhibits an important group of molecules in the cells, the Gq proteins.
Gq proteins can be activated by certain control signals. In their activated form, they then turn different metabolic pathways on or off. However, the cell should not permanently change its behavior. Therefore, the Gq proteins inactivate themselves after a short time.
In choroidal melanoma, however, a tiny mutation prevents two important Gq proteins from returning to their inactive state. Therefore, you remain permanently active. Due to this incorrect control, the cell begins to divide in an uncontrolled manner.
FR can prevent this division activity. The mutated Gq proteins also seem to go into their inactive form every now and then. As soon as this happens, FR900359 accesses the molecule in the headlock. Over time, more and more Gq proteins are gradually removed from circulation.
FR has already proven its effectiveness in cell cultures and in experiments with cancerous mice. Before you can think of using it in humans, there are still a few hurdles to be overcome. Above all, the substance must reach the tumor cells precisely, without hitting other tissues.