A compound derived from feverfew, a common medicinal plant that has been used for centuries to reduce fever, will soon be tested on humans for its ability to attack the roots of the deadly blood cancer leukemia.
Under development is dimethylamino-parthenolide, DMAPT, which is derived from the daisy-like plant.
New research by University of Rochester investigators published in the current issue of the journal "Blood" shows that the water-soluble DMAPT selectively targets leukemia at the stem-cell level, where the malignancy is born. Standard chemotherapy does not strike deep enough to kill cancer at the roots, resulting in relapses.
The Rochester team has been leading the investigation of this promising therapy on the deadly blood cancer for nearly five years. And to bring it from a laboratory concept to patient studies in that time is very fast progress in the drug development world, said Craig Jordan, Ph.D., senior author of the "Blood" article.
Clinical trials are expected to begin in England by the end of 2007. Investigators expect to initially enroll about a dozen adult volunteers who have been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or other types of blood or lymph cancers, Jordan said.