Science Market Update

Emory Researchers Find Anti-Cancer Potential in Lichens and Rhubarb

Posted by Laura Braden on Mon, Nov 30, 2015

An orange pigment found in rhubarb and lichens has the potential to treat cancer. Cancer affects the majority of the population in one way or another, through knowing someone with cancer, being exposed to it in the media, or having it oneself. Cancer treatments and cures are some of the most well funded and highly researched areas in the life sciences. Researchers at the Winshop Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, GA recently discovered that an orange pigment, called parietin or physcion, that is found in lichens and rhubarb has potential to be used as an anti-cancer drug.

While studying the metabolic enzyme 6PGD (which is already known to have increased activity in many types of cancer cells) and looking for its inhibitors, the Georgia research team uncovered the anti-cancer potential of parietin. Jing Chen, PhD, led the Emory researchers in discovering that parietin was able to kill human leukemia cells, as well as slow their growth without harming blood cells.

"This is part of the Warburg effect, the distortion of cancer cells’ metabolism," explained Chen, a professor of hematology and medical oncology at the Winship Cancer Institute. "We found that 6PGD is an important metabolic branch point in several types of cancer cells."

To test the effectiveness of this pigment, the research team took cancer cells from a patient with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and within 48 hours they found doses of parietin in the culture that could kill half of the leukemia cells. At the same time, these doses of parietin left healthy blood unaffected.

Although these early findings pf 6PGD show that parietin has not harmed healthy cells, more research is needed to see if any side effects appear when using parietin as an anti-cancer drug.

Researchers at a past BioResearch Product Faire™ Event in Atlanta learn about newly available lab products.  Makret lab supplies to interested, well-funded researchers at the 2016 BioResearch Product Faire™ Event in Atlanta.

Emory University is a multi-million dollar research marketplace producing leading results in a vast array of life science fields. Researchers at Emory University have received more more than $287.9 million in funding from the NIH during the 2015 fiscal year.


$3.24 Million Awarded to UGA for Life Science Graduate Programs 

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Departments at the university receiving substantial amounts of this funding include:

  1. Internal Medicine/Medicine - $43.4 million
  2. Pathology - $29.9 million
  3. Pediatrics - $28.4 million
  4. Public Health and Preventative Medicine - $24.4 million
  5. Microbiology/Immunology/Virology - $19.3 million

Interested in marketing lab products and supplies to active life science researchers in Atlanta? If so, exhibit at the 17th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event happening at Emory University on March 31, 2016. This event brings together life science suppliers with researchers, PI's, grad students, lab managers,professors, purchasing agents and other lab staff interested in finding the best and newest equipment and technologies to use in their lab.

At this BioResearch Product Faire™ Event, lab suppliers are able to:

  • Demonstrate products to lab managers, purchasing agents and end-users.
  • Answer questions, distribute samples, and discuss ongoing research projects on campus to explain why your supplies are the best for the job.

  • Gain brand exposure in the Atlanta academic marketplace while nurturing new and existing leads.

Visit the link below to learn more about participating in the well-funded Emory University marketplace:

Exhibit at  Emory University

While in Georgia, make the most of your time by participating at the 17th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Georgia, Athens on March 30, 2016, the day before the Emory event. Learn more about participating at the UGA event here.


Tags: Emory University, Leukemia, cancer research, Southern, Cancer Treatment, Emory, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Atlanta, GA, Southern Region, 2016, Parietin, physcion

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