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Home News and Update Year 2010 Poison Cure: Arsenic to Fight Cancer

Poison Cure: Arsenic to Fight Cancer

Times of India
10 April 2010

Cancer Watch
Scientists in China have demonstrated how arsenic – a favorite murder weapon in the Middle Ages – destroys deadly blood cancer by targeting and killing specific proteins that keep the cancer alive.

“Our research showed how arsenic directly targets these proteins and kills them,” said lead researcher Zhang Xiaowei at the State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics in Shanghai, China. “Unlike chemotherapy, the side effects of arsenic (in treating acute p ro mye locytic leukemia) are very low. There is no hair loss or suppression of bone marrow (function). We are interested in finding out how arsenic can be used in other cancers,” Zhang said in a telephonic interview.

Well known for its toxicity, arsenic was regarded in the past as the king among poisons because its symptoms are like those of cholera and can often go undetected.

In China, however, it has long served a dual purpose. Apart from intentional poisoning, it has been used for at least 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the actual workings of arsenic and how it interacts with cancer tissues has never been clear – until Zhang and his colleagues used modern technology to find out. The latest research involving arsenic has been published in journal Science.

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