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UK Flower Potential Cancer Cure

Shocking new research has revealed that a British-born flower may be a potential cure for cancer. The flower is the Autumn crocus, which has historically been recommended as a treatment for inflammation. Treatments using this flower were able to slow the progression of various cancers in mice, and in some forms of cancer the treatment was able to eradicate the cancer completely.

So how is the autumn crocus capable of producing such amazing results? The flower contains a chemical, known as colchicine, which is lethal to not only cancer, but also other tissues in the human body. However, a team of researchers at the Institute for Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Bradford has altered colchicine so that it is “inactive” until it reaches the cancer. Professor Patterson explains, “What we're looking for is a delay in the growth of the tumor…"But sometimes the treatment is so effective that in half of the studies, the mice appeared to be cured of their cancer. All mice responded to the treatment.” Professor Patterson elaborates saying he is “very optimistic about the opportunities of the treatment, but still cautious because everything done to date has been in the laboratory.” BBC News explains that the altered colchicine works when it reaches the tumorous tissue, whereupon it activates and breaks apart the blood vessels that surround the tumor. Tumors spread through enzymes that they create, whose role is to break apart normal cells and when they break off the protein attached to the colchicine, it then becomes activated. The cancers that were primarily studied in this preliminary research were sarcoma, prostate, lung, colon, and breast cancer.

Despite the exciting implications that this research poses, the UK Cancer Research Institute has tried to calm any hype that these findings might provoke. The reason? Mice are very different from humans. Although the colchicine treatment showed amazing effects in the rodents, the human body is far more complex. But the Cancer Research Institute doesn’t entirely reject the research-far from it. According to them, “The researchers’ results so far are impressive, but they’re just one of several hundreds of similar intricate approaches taken to tackle cancer by researchers around the globe, which are generally referred to as ‘enzyme-prodrug therapy’, and involve activating a harmless form of a drug near or in a tumor… Overall it’s fair to say that this kind of approach is still at a relatively early stage, although the Bradford results are certainly impressive, and their beauty is in their relative simplicity.”

Ultimately, it is impressive what potential lies within a seemingly simple flower. The Autumn crocus will certainly be given more attention in future years!