Chemoprevention and Chemotherapy
Natural products found in plant extracts have provided guides for novel therapeutics. As diet is one the most accessible lifestyle modifications, nutritional management and the mechanisms targeted offer strategies for blocking tumors. Compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and herbs have been identified that inhibit tumors (Liu, Schneider, Xiao). Activities of phytoestrogens have led to development of selective agonists for estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) that enhance genome surveillance pathways without proliferation (Dunphy). Bacteria that preferentially accumulate in tumors and secrete an oncolytic agent (SAH) rapidly kills cancer cells and shrinks tumors in mice (Forbes). Transient induction of inflammation increases bacterial colonization in tumors and enhances their efficacy.
Collaborations with chemists and polymer scientists (Emrick, Rotello, Thayumanavan) in the Center for Bioactive Delivery and the Cancer Research Theme (Arenas, Liu, Schneider, Jerry, Xiao) are developing delivery strategies that improve the efficacy of existing chemotherapies as well as combining with extracts from natural products that sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents.