Natural products have been the source of some of the most effective treatments for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. City of Hope scientists in the Program in Natural Therapies are committed to providing patients and their families with the best possible treatments and quality of life. By working together across disciplines, scientists are discovering cancer-fighting agents from herbs, fruits and vegetables and translating them into powerful, less toxic therapies.
A vast variety of modern medicines are derived from natural products, from aspirin (which came from the willow tree’s bark) to antibiotics (the first of which was discovered in a fungus) to current chemotherapy drugs such as paclitaxel (Taxol), irinotecan (Camptosar) and vincristine (Oncovin), all of which are derived from plants.
At City of Hope, our scientists believe there are numerous medicinal compounds in nature that have yet to be discovered and they are looking at a vast array of natural products to learn more about their anti-cancer properties. Once identified, these active components are then isolated, purified, tested and used as the building blocks for more effective, less toxic cancer treatments.
Currently studied compounds — and the cancers they could target — include:
- Baicalein (breast, endometrial, liver, lung, ovarian and prostate cancers)
- Berbamine (multiple cancers)
- Blueberries (breast cancer)
- Cinnamon (multiple cancers)
- ETP (multiple cancers)
- Grape Seed Extract (brain and breast cancers)
- Grape Skin Extract (breast cancer)
- Mushrooms (breast, lung and prostate cancers)
- Pomegranate (breast cancer)
- Xinfeng (lung cancer)
Learn more about the program.