Daisies lead to new leukaemia drug

In collaboration with the Press Association

Scientists could be on their way to creating a new leukaemia therapy extracted from a daisy-like plant, a new report has indicated.

According to an article from the University of Rochester, published in the journal Blood, laboratory studies with dimethylamino-parthenolide (DMAPT) have shown that it can attack "the roots of leukaemia".

DMAPT is a modified form of parthenolide (PTL), which is derived from a plant known as Feverfew or Bachelor's Button. The scientists are now hopeful that human clinical trials with DMAPT will show that it can be developed as a leukaemia therapy by attacking the disease at stem-cell level.

If successful it would kill the blood cancer "at the roots" without damaging healthy blood cells and prevent relapses, which current treatments such as chemotherapy are unable to do as they do not strike deep enough.

Monica L Guzman, PhD, the lead researcher on the DMAPT project, commented: "Once we begin seeing evidence from the clinical trials, it will give us more insight into the pharmacological properties of DMAPT and it will be easier to figure out its potential for other cancers."