A novel way to harness natural vitamin E extract that would kill tumours within 10 days has been devised by scientists from University of Strathclyde.
Using a new delivery system, the research team could mobilise an extract from Vitamin E, known ton have anti-cancer properties, to attack cancerous cells.
In the study conducted over skin cancer, the researchers found that tumours started to shrink within 24 hours and almost vanished in ten days.
They believe the tumours might have been completely destroyed if the tests had continued for longer.
When the tumours regrew, they did so at a far slower rate than previously.
"We could see that it was very promising. Of course, this is just the first experiment done but it is very exciting," the Scotsman quoted Dr Christine Dufes, a lecturer at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, as saying.
Previous studies have found that the extract - tocotrienol, from palm oil, one of the developing world's most widely-grown products - has tumour-fighting properties.
In the new study, team developed a formulation of tocotrienol that could be specifically delivered to tumours intravenously.
They encapsulated it in a compound called transferrin, a protein that transports iron through the blood.
The treatment was then tested on mice.
The researchers found that the formulation led to tumours shrink within one day of treatment.
And the cancers had nearly disappeared within ten days - the length of time the researchers were allowed to carry out their experiments under strict trial rules.
"We demonstrated that the intravenous administration of tocotrienol, entrapped in a tumour-targeted delivery system, leads to a fast tumour regression without visible secondary effects on healthy tissues," said Dufès.
The research has been published in the Journal of Controlled Release.