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Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) Has An Answer Now!

Another plant extract called Forskolin has been found to be helpful in inhibiting the growth of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cells in cultures and mice by up to 90 percent.//

Forskolin is prepared from the root of the plant coleus forskohlii, a native of India that is used as an alternative remedy in other countries, and as an ornamental plant in the US.

CML, a malignant cancer of the bone marrow, results from mistakenly exchanging genetic material in chromosomes 9 and 22 during cell division. The translocation creates a new, fused gene (called BCR-ABL), that produces an enzyme called Bcr-Abl, which permanently "turns on" cell growth signals that are normally controlled by another group of enzymes phosphatases. Because of Bcr-Abl, production of white blood cells gets out of control, leading to CML.

At the early stage (chronic phase), the disease almost always responds to the anticancer drug Gleevec, which puts Bcr-Abl on hold. The drug was hailed as the first "wonder drug" for cancer when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for CML treatment five year ago.

However, the disease has proven difficult for some patients. In a minority of patients who initially responded well to Gleevec, they acquired new mutations and developed resistance to the drug. In these patients, proliferation of white blood cells continues, leading the disease to the final (acute stage) called the blast crisis, where immature white blood cells infiltrate the blood and bone marrow.

Clinicians know the signs and symptoms of the different stages of CML, but until now, they are clueless about what causes the disease to progress.

In collaboration with an international group of researchers, Dr. Danilo Perrotti at the Ohio State University not only found the plant extract that effectively inhibits cell growth of CML, but also found that the progression of CML is due to the increased activity of Bcr-Abl enzyme.


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