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Plant extract shows promise in treating pancreatic cancer

A natural extract derived from India’s neem tree could potentially be used to treat pancreatic cancer, according to a new study in the journal Scientific Reports.

Biomedical scientists at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) tested nimbolide, a compound found in neem leaves, against pancreatic cancer in cell lines and mice. The results revealed that nimbolide can stop pancreatic cancer’s growth and metastasis without harming normal, healthy cells.

“The promise nimbolide has shown is amazing, and the specificity of the treatment towards cancer cells over normal cells is very intriguing,” says Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, Ph.D., an associate professor in TTUHSC El Paso’s Center of Emphasis in Cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers with 94% of patients dying within five years of diagnosis. The cancer grows quickly and there are currently no effective treatments available, underscoring the importance of finding new therapies.

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