Fighting breast cancer cells with … weeds?

Breast cancer is, unfortunately, a form of cancer we are all likely more than familiar with. Breast cancer is responsible for roughly 25 per cent of new cancer cases, and is further responsible for 13 per cent of all deaths by cancer among Canadian women. It is estimated that one in eight women will develop this form of cancer at some point in their life, and one in 33 women will die from it, according to

Despite the troubling reality of these statistics, there is some promising news to share on the topic of breast cancer.

“A plant which had previously been dismissed as not being medically useful could prove to be a hero in disguise, after scientists discovered that it stops the growth of breast cancer cells,” explains an article from The Good News Network.

“The ground-breaking research, which could lead to future chemotherapy cancer advances, starred Arabidopsis thaliana – also known as thale cress.

“The leaves were treated with the plant hormone jasmonate, a substance discovered in jasmine that boosts plant responses to stress. Then they incubated the treated leaves with breast cancer cells.

“The researchers found that not only did the cancer cells stop growing, the normal cells remained unaffected. This is significant as use of the plant in breast cancer treatment could potentially lead to a quicker recovery time and fewer secondary effects for patients subjected to chemical treatment. They have also discovered molecular mechanisms associated with the changes in the breast cancer cells that will allow development of further new treatments.

“Professor Alessandra Devoto, from the Department of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway University, has been conducting this research since 2006 and has just published a paper on the findings in the journal New Phytologist, along with Dr. Amanda Harvey, from Brunel University London, and Prof Nicholas Smirnoff at the University of Exeter,” the article says.

As it turns out, this underdog of a weed is a lot more powerful than we may have thought.

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