The same herb frequently eaten as salad in Asia has been shown to destroy cancer cells — without harming healthy tissue. Researchers at the University of Washington have created a compound based on traditional Chinese medicine that is 1,200 times more effective in killing malignant cells than chemotherapy drugs. Combined with iron, the herb selectively targets cancerous cells and has proven to be a powerful tool in combating the disease. Tomikazu Sasaki, senior author of the study and chemistry professor at the University of Washington, describes the compound as “… a special agent planting a bomb inside the [cancer] cell.”
Since traditional chemotherapy is rife with severe side-effects and kills healthy cells, researchers are encouraged by the findings. Standard chemotherapy destroys as many as 1 normal cell for every 5 cancer cells. The compound developed by Sasaki and his team is far more specific, killing 12,000 cancer cells for each healthy cell affected, which minimizes adverse side-effects. Because of this, the effectiveness of the treatment is increased as higher doses can be tolerated.