Chemical In Licorice Shows Promise In Pancreatic Cancer Battle

( – Is it possible that black rope licorice may hold a secret cancer-destroying chemical? That theory is being tested by scientists from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). They think they may have isolated a flavonoid from the licorice that might halt the progression of pancreatic cancer. They’re looking at the isolated chemical as well as what happens when the chemical is combined with chemotherapy drugs. The scientists have published their findings in an academic journal and presented them at the Annual Congress of the European Association for Cancer Research 2023 which took place in Torino, Italy. 

Pancreatic cancer is known to be one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and has a high lethality once detected. The hope is that this flavonoid could aid doctors and patients by proving effective and giving doctors more time to thwart the cancer. 

Pancreatic cancer has a mortality-to-discovery rate of more than 93%. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) pancreatic cancer currently stands as the number three most deadly cancer. If caught very early surgery could save an afflicted patient, however with most patients by the time they notice symptoms it’s too late for the surgery as the cancer usually spreads to surrounding organs. 

Only 20% of patients receiving a pancreatic cancer diagnosis are typically eligible for a removal surgery. Even if a patient qualifies and receives the surgery, the reoccurrence rate for this type of cancer is also sadly quite high. Chemotherapy is the most common pancreatic cancer treatment. 

The licorice root factors into potential treatment as its been known as a healing herb in China for a long time. Licorice has been used in the West as well; it’s been commonly used to treat respiratory, gastrointestinal and some inflammatory conditions. The HKBU team is currently trying to isolate the licorice root’s photochemical and see how it performs in cell experiments as well as how it fights pancreatic cancer cells.  

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