I keep tripping over that Friday Four article I posted on using artemisinin to treat leukemia cells.
I wanted to see more of the research that's out there, and I found this:
Synthesis and anti-cancer activity of covalent conjugates of artemisinin and a transferrin-receptor targeting peptide. Steve Oha, Byung Ju Kim, Narendra P. Singh, Henry Lai, Tomikazu Sasaki. Cancer Letters. Volume 274, Issue 1, Pages 33-39 (8 February 2009)
Effects of artemisinin-tagged holotransferrin on cancer cells
Henry Lai, Tomikazu Sasakib, Narendra P. Singha and Archna Messay
Department of Bioengineering, Box 357962, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7962, USA Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Received 2 August 2004. Accepted 25 August 2004. Available online 23 November 2004.
Link to above abstract
Apparently Henry Lai did previous research on the use of artemisinin on cancer, in which the earlier abstract states:
"Artemisinin reacts with iron to form free radicals that kill cells. Since cancer cells uptake relatively large amount of iron than normal cells, they are more susceptible to the toxic effect of artemisinin. In previous research, we have shown that artemisinin is more toxic to cancer cells than to normal cells. In the present research, we covalently attached artemisinin to the iron-carrying plasma glycoprotein transferrin. Transferrin is transported into cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis and cancer cells express significantly more transferrin receptors on their cell surface and endocytose more transferrin than normal cells. Thus, we hypothesize that by tagging artemisinin to transferrin, both iron and artemisinin would be transported into cancer cells in one package."More recent research that was not done by Lai includes this study on using artemisinin to treat prostate cancer:
Effect of artemisinin derivatives on apoptosis and cell cycle in prostate cancer cells.
Morrissey, Colma; Gallis, Byronb; Solazzi, Jeffrey W.a; Kim, Byung Juc; Gulati, Romane; Vakar-Lopez, Fundad; Goodlett, David R.b; Vessella, Robert L.af; Sasaki, Tomikazu. Anti-Cancer Drugs: April 2010 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - pp 423-432
Source Link: http://journals.lww.com/anti-cancerdrugs/Abstract/2010/04000/Effect_of_artemisinin_derivatives_on_apoptosis_and.9.aspx
An excerpt from the above abstract states:
"Artemisinin is a plant-derived anti-malarial drug that has relatively low toxicity in humans and is activated by heme and/or intracellular iron leading to intracellular free radical formation. Interestingly, artemisinin has displayed anti-cancer activity, with artemisinin dimers being more potent than monomeric artemisinin. Intracellular iron uptake is regulated by the transferrin receptor (TfR), and the activity of artemisinin depends on the availability of iron."
I also found an entire chapter of a book devoted to the study of artemisinin and how it affects pathogens and cancer:
Chapter 18: The Anti-Infective and Anti-Cancer Properties of Artemisinin and its Derivatives. Christopher Paul Hencken, Alvin Solomon Kalinda and John Gaetano D’Angelo. Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry. Volume 44, 2009, Pages 359-37
Link (doi): doi:10.1016/S0065-7743(09)04418-2
These are only a few examples of research being done out there on artemisinin for cancer... Seems there is an increasing interest in it. I still want to do a little more digging to see where that claim about artemisinin came from Henry Lai: "It's 100 times more specific than traditional chemotherapy. In breast cancer, it's even better."
Specificity in cancer treatment would improve treatment so much and improve the odds of surviving it with fewer side effects. So I'd really like to know more about this.
Artemisinin. It's not just for Malaria and Babesia any more.