Natural Heart Drugs May Combat Colon Cancer

Lab study finds that glycosides kill cancer cells

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FRIDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A family of naturally derived heart drugs called cardiac glycosides shows promise in fighting colon cancer, new research has found.

As part of a larger study to screen and identify natural substances that might be effective against colon cancer, Swedish researchers looked closely at several cardiac glycosides. Five of them were tested on laboratory cultures of human colon cancer cells and proved effective, to varying degrees, at killing the cancer cells.

The researchers also found that the anti-cancer activity of several of the cardiac glycosides increased when they were combined with certain chemotherapy drugs.

The results suggest that cardiac glycosides might prove effective against colon cancer when used alone or in combination with chemotherapy drugs, the scientists said. Their findings were published in the Journal of Natural Products.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 106,000 U.S. residents will have been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2009.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about colon cancer treatment.

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