Chemical in Ants and Plant Multiplies Benefit of Cancer Drug

By Carrie Frye
Monday, April 6, 2015

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom have determined a chemical found naturally in ants and stinging nettles — a plant similar to poison ivy — multiplies the effectiveness of the cancer drug JS07 by 50 times.

JS07, also developed by the university’s Department of Chemistry, interferes with the energy generation of cancer cells, and combining it with the chemical sodium formate through a novel binding process creates a more potent form of the cancer drug, the recent study found. This powerful version of JS07 is a catalyst that ultimately causes the cancer cells to shut down.

The study results indicate a lower dosage of the more potent JS07 could be used, exposing patients to reduced toxicity and potentially fewer side effects than occur with conventional treatments.

Researchers initially tested the potent JS07 on ovarian cancer cells. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States, according to the CDC.