Barking Up the Right Tree to Cure Retinoblastoma

by Savitha C Muppala on  March 18, 2007 at 11:20 AM Cancer News
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Barking Up the Right Tree to Cure Retinoblastoma
Chicago - U.S researchers seem to have tapped nature, in the form of an extract from the bark of a South American tree, as a possible cure for a notorious type of childhood eye cancer, called retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma accounts for nearly 3% of all cancers in children, affecting about one in 15000 children.

Usually the cancer affects children below 6 years of age, and if left untreated can be fatal. Dr. Joan O'Brien of the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study said, 'The great majority of the cases exist in the developing world, where it is a fatal disease.'

The prevailing treatment involves a combination of chemotherapy agents or radiation which has a 95% survival rate if the treatment is begun in the initial stages of cancer. But the treatment is fraught with many side effects.

O'Brien and colleagues at UCSF, in their quest to find alternative treatment methods for retinoblastoma devoid of strong side-effects, sought to experiment with the tree bark extract, called beta-lapachone. The extract was found to be useful in the treatment of other types of cancers like breast and prostate cancer.

Their experiment revealed that beta-lapachone was capable of impeding rapid cell growth of human tumor cells. Further, minimum doses could even trigger the tumor cells to commit suicide, medically termed as apoptosis.

To infer, the scientists are extremely optimistic about the effectiveness of the extract. They intend to carry experiments on mice suffering the disease. 'The nice thing about the agent is that it kills at very low doses and it appears to be selective to cancer,' O'Brien said.

Source: Medindia

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JNunes Friday, February 3, 2012

My Son's best frined from preschool has bi-lateral Retinoblastoma and travels from CA-NY every 6 weeks or so for "Experimental treatment" which seem's to be keeping the tumors from growing. Baby Jasen just turned 5 and al ready lost his vision a year ago from the cancer. I would like more information on cures to save his life. Jori Nunes [FB]

guest Monday, March 19, 2007

My daughter suffered from bilateral retinoblastoma in 1994-1996.She survived this horrible cancer but later died during an apheresis cathedar placement where she was going to undergo autologus bone marrow transplant. The cathedar punctured her heart. Chemo had put it in remission. I am AMAZED that this has happened. I have prayed for years that god would find a cure or lead doctors to one. God speed and thank you for all your hard work and dedication to this treatment. If more lives can be saved, it is well worth the effort.

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