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May 19, 2021 Wednesday 12:23:29 AM IST

Pepper Compound Piperlongumine Effective Against Brain Cancer

Piperlongumine, a chemical compound found in Indian Long Pepper Plant (Piper longum) has been found to be effective against glioblastoma, one of the least treatable types of brain cancer, according to scientists at University of Pennsylvania (Perelman School of Medicine).

The pepper compound was found to hinder the activity of a protein called TRPV2, which is over expressed in glioblastoma in a way that appears to drive cancer progression. he scientists found that piperlongumine treatment radically shrank glioblastoma tumors and extended life in two animal models of this cancer, and also selectively destroyed glioblastoma cells taken from human patients.

This study gives us a much clearer picture of how piperlongumine works against glioblastoma, and in principle enables us to develop treatments that can be even more potent,” said study co-senior author Vera Moiseenkova-Bell, an associate professor of pharmacology and faculty director of the Electron Microscopy Resource Laboratory and Beckman Center for Cryo Electron Microscopy at Penn Medicine.

The researchers are now working to develop their approach in further preclinical studies, with the hope of one day testing it in clinical trials with glioblastoma patients. In addition, Moiseenkova-Bell’s structural findings will enable the researchers to experiment with piperlongumine and modified versions of it to develop an even stronger and more selective inhibitor of TRPV2.