Jasmine-based drug can combat cancer better

August 26th, 2008 - 11:21 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 26 (IANS) Israeli researchers have developed an anti-cancer drug based on Jasmonate, a synthetic compound derived from the jasmine plant. Eliezer Flescher, a professor at Tel Aviv University (TAU), who studied the compound, looked out for a potent plant hormone that could fight cancer even better and pinpointed jasmonate.

Both blood cancers and solid tumours seem to be responsive to the jasmonate compound, known as methyl jasmonate.

Flescher referred to it as the “jasmonate scaffold”, a basis for developing a series of chemical derivatives. In terms of availability and safety, early clinical studies have proven successful.

Flescher is hopeful about an anti-cancer drug, based on jasmonate, being on the shelf in the US within four years through the activity of Sepal-Pharma which licensed his research from Ramot, TAU’s technology transfer arm.

Normally drug development takes much longer. “The jasmonate compound is used widely in agriculture and in cosmetics,” said Flescher. “Proven to be non-toxic, it has the same regulatory status as table salt. That and the fact we are working on a natural chemical gives us a good starting point for launching a new drug.”

Since Flescher started publishing papers on jasmonate, six new research groups around the world have initiated research on it.

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