Milk thistle shows early promise against lung cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

A derivative of milk thistle has shown a significant ability to reduce lung tumour growth in mice say scientists.

"We have been studying milk thistle components, silymarin and silibinin, to examine their efficacy and mechanisms against different cancers for over a decade," noted lead investigator Dr Rana Singh.

In the current tests, mice were given silibinin as part of their diet.

Those that had received the supplement developed on average two tumours per animal, while an untreated control group developed an average of 27.

The researchers also noted that silibinin seemed able to reduce the number of blood vessels supplying nutrients to the tumours.

"We expect soon after that clinical trials with silibinin in lung cancer patients will be planned," added Dr Singh.

Patient trials of the effects of silibinin on prostate cancer are currently underway.

The study noted that the derivative used was created artificially and bore no resemblance to milk thistle dietary supplements.

The research was conducted by the University of Colorado and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.