Research has found out that a chemical called parthenolide is successful in destroying stem cell leukemia. The chemical is found in a widely available plant of North America, called feverfew. This plant has been used for centuries to treat migraine and rheumatoid arthritis, but this is the first time this is being linked to blood cancer research.
Past studies have found that malignant stem cells are the root of setting, growth and continuation of the disease leukemia.
The current study says that the chemical parthenolide, affects only the stem cells and no other healthy blood cells. Hence the researchers are of the opinion that compared to other chemo-therapy drugs like Ara-C, parthenolide is better suited to treatment of leukemia as it works much more specifically on the affected cells.
However, the experts do agree that although for the first time a specific anti-leukemia agent has been found, there are plenty of steps between the chemical in its extracted form to a medication the patients can take for treatment. People affected with leukemia need not run to buy the extract of this plant, as this is too soon to be tested on human beings.
The report was published in the journal Blood.