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British Scientists Use White Flower For Treating Blood Cancer Cells

In a remarkable research, scientists have unveiled a novel way of treating leukemia cells quicker and more effectively: using a common white flower known as Baby's Breath.The discovery is contemplated as a major breakthrough as
PTI May 02, 2010 12:06 IST
PTI

In a remarkable research, scientists have unveiled a novel way of treating leukemia cells quicker and more effectively: using a common white flower known as Baby's Breath.

The discovery is contemplated as a major breakthrough as it could revolutionize the leukemia treatment and save millions of lives.

Scientists working for the charity Leukaemia Busters, based in Southampton, Hants, are the masterminds behind this breakthrough.

The charity is run by David and Bee Flavell whose son Simon Flavell died with an incurable form of childhood leukaemia in 1990, at the age of 10, reported the Daily Mail.

The scientists found that an extract of the white bloom may up the efficiency of anti-cancer drugs by a whopping one million times.

They anticipate that the breakthrough might also aid in treating other types of cancer.

In a bid to test the efficacy of the white bloom, they carried out a lab experiment and found that a compound of the flower known as saponins created holes in the cancer cells and appeared to break down the cell membrane.

They then introduced special antibodies with toxins and found that the immunotoxins penetrated the leukemia cells and killed them faster.

The results showed that 99.9 percent of the leukemia cells were killed in much less than an hour's time.

It took the researchers 12 months to do the research and testing to arrive at these findings.

Despite the promising outcome, the research team conceded that it is yet not clear what effect the treatment will have on human subjects.

Therefore, the scientists are now getting ready for clinical trials. If successful, the trials may pave way for new types of treatments for the condition which could be made available for commercial use within the next three to five years.

Dr David Flavell was quoted by the BBC as saying, "I think it is very exciting. This will allow us to do things I think which we were not able to do before in patients.

"It will open up a whole new revolution in this kind of antibody therapy - if we can make it work in people."

The findings were presented at one of the world's biggest cancer conferences, organized by the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, last week.

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. It starts in the bone marrow, the soft tissue inside most bones where blood cells are made.

Risk factors of the condition include increased exposure to radiation or certain type of chemicals at work, Down's syndrome or other genetic problems, smoking, etc.

According to WebMD, common symptoms of leukemia include fever and night sweats, headaches, bruising or bleeding easily, bone or joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck, or groin, getting a lot of infections, feeling very tired, losing weight and not feeling hungry.