Local CTRC Researchers Study Benefits of Cork Tree Extract in Fight Against Cancer


Ancient Chinese Remedy Tested as Treatment for Prostate, Pancreatic and Other Cancers

An ancient Chinese remedy is undergoing significant scientific testing at The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) as part of the ongoing battle against pancreatic and other cancers. The ancient remedy is the bark of the Amur cork tree, which has long been known for its healing properties. UT Health Science Center researcher A. Pratap Kumar and his team were exploring the benefits of the tree’s extract in treating prostate cancer when they discovered that deadly pancreatic cancers share some similar development pathways with prostate tumors. 

In a paper published last month in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, the researchers showed that the tree extract blocks those development pathways and inhibits the fibrosis, or scarring, around tumors that thwarts anti-cancer drugs. “Fibrosis is a process of uncontrolled scarring around the tumor gland,” says Dr. Kumar the study’s principal investigator. “Once you have fibrotic tissue, the drugs cannot get into the cancer.” Like pancreatic cancer and prostate tumors, liver and kidney tumors also develop fibrosis. Extract from the Amur cork tree is available as a dietary supplement in capsule form; it has already been established as safe for use in patients. The dietary supplement is marketed as Nexrutine by Next Pharmaceuticals, which provided a supply of the compound for CTRC studies.

CTRC is part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center. For more information, visit www.ctrc.com.

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