Daffodils to fight against cancer
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Credit: D. Lafontaine – ULB

A study published in the scientific journal Structure (Cell Press) describes the anti-cancer effects of a natural alkaloid extracted from Daffodils. Led by Denis Lafontaine, affiliated with the Faculty of Sciences at the ULB, the researchers have discovered that this compound triggers the activation of an anti-tumoral surveillance pathway.

Will Daffodils soon help curing cancer? A study from the RNA Molecular Biology Laboratory (Faculty of Sciences and ULB-Cancer Research Center), published in the scientific journal Structure (Cell Press), took a first step in that direction.

Led by Denis Lafontaine, the researchers extracted a natural anti-cancer compound from Daffodils (Amaryllidaceae Narcissus). They established that this compound, an alkaloid named haemanthamine, binds to the ribosome. Ribosomes are nanomachines essential to the survival of our cells because they synthesize all our proteins. To sustain their unrestrained growth, cancer cells rely on increased protein synthesis: they are therefore particularly sensitive to treatments that inhibit the production and the function of ribosomes.

In this new study, the researchers have shown that haemanthamine blocks the production of protein by ribosomes, thus slowing growth of cancer cells. Haemanthamine also inhibits the production of these

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