How can tomatoes and potatoes be used in the treatment of cancer?

Cancer treatment concept

Glycoalkaloids are a category of pure compounds discovered in lots of crops, particularly these of the Solanaceae household, which incorporates potato crops, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Due to its poisonous nature, it’s searched for isolation, purification, and manipulation to show it into secure anti-cancer medication.

Glycoalkaloids are present in crops of the genus Solanum It could be a key ingredient in future most cancers medication.

Most cancers is a illness that impacts many individuals world wide. In 2020, there have been about 19 million new instances and 10 million deaths recorded. Whereas most cancers remedies proceed to enhance, they’ll additionally trigger harm to wholesome cells or have extreme negative effects. Within the seek for extra focused and efficient most cancers medication, researchers are exploring the potential of bioactive compounds present in typical medication, comparable to glycoalkaloids.

A crew of scientists led by Magdalena Winkel of Adam Mickiewicz College in Poland just lately printed a examine in Frontiers in pharmacologyEvaluation of the potential of glycoalkaloids present in widespread greens comparable to potatoes and tomatoes as a remedy for most cancers.

“Scientists world wide are nonetheless trying to find medication that will probably be deadly to most cancers cells however on the similar time secure for wholesome cells,” Winkel stated. “It’s not simple regardless of the advances in medication and the robust improvement of recent therapeutic applied sciences. That’s the reason it could be helpful to return to medicinal crops which were used efficiently for years within the remedy of varied ailments. I feel it’s value re-examining their properties and maybe re- uncover their potential.”

Making medication from poison

Winkiel and her colleagues targeted on 5 glycoalkaloids — solanine, chakunin, solasonin, solamargine, and tomatine — that are discovered within the crude extracts of the nightshade household of crops, also referred to as nightshade. This genus comprises many fashionable meals crops—a lot of that are toxic, principally due to the alkaloids they produce as a protection in opposition to animals that eat the crops. However the suitable dose can flip a poison into a drugs: As soon as scientists discover a secure therapeutic dose of alkaloids, they are often highly effective scientific instruments.

Glycoalkaloids specifically inhibit the expansion of most cancers cells and will promote the demise of most cancers cells. These are key goal areas for controlling most cancers and enhancing sufferers’ prognosis, in order that they have big potential for future therapies. In silico research – an necessary first step – point out that glycoalkaloids will not be poisonous and don’t threat spoilage.[{” attribute=””>DNA or causing future tumors, although there may be some effects on the reproductive system.

“Even if we cannot replace anticancer drugs that are used nowadays, maybe combined therapy will increase the effectiveness of this treatment,” Winkiel suggested. “There are many questions, but without detailed knowledge of the properties of glycoalkaloids, we will not be able to find out.”

From tomatoes to treatments

One necessary step forward is using in vitro and model animal studies, to determine which glycoalkaloids are safe and promising enough to test in humans. Winkiel and her colleagues highlight glycoalkaloids derived from potatoes, like solanine and chaconine – although the levels of these present in potatoes depend on the cultivar of potato and the light and temperature conditions the potatoes are exposed to. Solanine stops some potentially carcinogenic chemicals from transforming into carcinogens in the body and inhibits metastasis. Studies on a particular type of leukemia cells also showed that at therapeutic doses, solanine kills them. Chaconine has anti-inflammatory properties, with the potential to treat sepsis.

Meanwhile, solamargine — which is mostly found in aubergines — stops liver cancer cells from reproducing. Solamargine is one of several glycoalkaloids that could be crucial as a complementary treatment because it targets cancer stem cells which are thought to play a significant role in cancer drug resistance. Solasonine, which is found in several plants from the nightshade family, is also thought to attack cancer stem cells by targeting the same pathway. Even tomatoes offer potential for future medicine, with tomatine supporting the body’s regulation of the cell cycle so that it can kill cancer cells.

Further research will be needed to determine how this in vitro potential can best be turned into practical medicine, Winkiel and her team noted. There is some reason to believe that high-temperature processing improves glycoalkaloid properties, and nanoparticles have recently been found to improve the transmission of glycoalkaloids to cancer cells, boosting drug delivery. However, the glycoalkaloids’ mechanisms of action need to be better understood, and all potential safety concerns need to be scrutinized before patients can benefit from cancer drugs straight out of the vegetable patch.

Reference: “Anticancer activity of glycoalkaloids from Solanum plants: A review” by Magdalena Joanna Winkiel, Szymon Chowański and Małgorzata Słocińska, 7 December 2022, Frontiers in Pharmacology.
DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2022.979451

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