Neem tree, which has been used for centuries to treat inflammation, fever and malaria in India, could help kill cancer cells, according to scientists at the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center.
Cancer cells typically avoid death by hijacking molecular chaperones that guide and protect the proteins that ensure normal cellular function and then tricking them into helping mutated versions of those proteins stay alive, said Dr Ahmed Chadli, a researcher in the Molecular Chaperone Program at the GRU Cancer Center.
Drug development has focussed on the chaperone Hsp90 (heat shock protein 90) because it plays a key role in assisting mutated proteins, making it an attractive cancer drug target.
However, the clinical efficacy of Hsp90 inhibitors has been disappointing.
Most current small molecules targeting Hsp90 have inadvertently resulted in the expression of proteins that protect cancer cells from programmed cell death and compromise the Hsp90 inhibitors in the clinic.