Tobacco has always been known as a risk factor for many types of cancer but a new surprising research says exactly opposite. The research carried out by scientists at La Trobe University revealed that the tobacco flower contains a molecule, which is known to fight bacteria and fungi as a plant’s natural defense molecule, can also fight cancerous cells.
The molecule called NaD1 identifies the cancer cells, forms a pincer like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of the cancer cell and rips it open that causes the cell to expel its contents and explode.
Unlike present cancer therapies, this molecule can target the cancer cells without harming the healthy cells. Although scientists have known before that there are plant molecules that form the first line of defense against microbial invaders and disease causing agents but it was never known what the exact mechanism of defense was or if it could be harnessed to cure any malady that affects humans.
According to Dr.Hulett, the lead investigator of this study, the molecules involved in plants defense can also be used in developing therapeutic applications involved in treatment of microbial infections. Pre-clinical studies are being carried out to see how beneficial this molecule can be in the treatment of cancer and the preliminary trails have shown positive results.
- Journal Reference: eLIFE
- Source: La Trobe University
- Image Credit: Frank’s Garden Talk