Can Compounds in the Magnolia Help Cure Head and Neck Cancer?

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A new study on cancer and magnolia, published in the online journal of Oncotarget says the magnolia is a potent cancer killer. The study focused on squ7amous head and neck cancer cancers that are common among tobacco and alcohol users who account for 3 in 4 head and neck cancers and have a 50% survival rate.

A major active ingredient  in magnolias called honokiol, C18H18O2, has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries to treat anxiety and other conditions, and more recently found yo be a versatile adversary of cancer. It seems to destroy biochemical pathways to shrink tumors, or to keep them from growing in the first place. Specifically the current researchers have shown that it blocks a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor, EGFR, and prior research showed an abundance of this protein in head and neck cancer cells. Researchers say this this chemical binds more strongly with EGFR than the drug, gefitinit or Iressa, that is commonly used to treat head and neck cancer.

Researchers tested the honokiol on cell lines from human cancers of the head and neck and found it shut down the aberrant cells. Using it for cells implanted into mice produced similar results. They concluded “Conclusively, honokiol¬† appears to be an attractive bioactive small molecule photochemical for the management of head and neck cancer which can be used either alone or in combination with other available therapeutic drugs.”


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