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New research suggests that a plant used to brew tea in Pakistani folk medicine may actually be able to fight breast cancer. These results may be relevant to women who screen positive for the malignant disease through a lab test.
Pakistani women have sometimes brewed tea using a plant known as Virgon's Mantlem as a breast cancer treatment. Compared to other cancer regimens, this beverage does not cause side effects such as diarrhea or a drop in blood count.
In order to investigate the effects of this tea, a team of scientists from Aston University and Russells Hall Hospital in the U.K. conducted an experiment in which they exposed breast cancer cells to a plant extract from Virgon's Mantlem. Results showed that the extract killed malignant cells while preserving healthy ones.
"Some of the most important cancer-fighting drugs are originally derived from plants. As this research is at the very earliest stage we won't know for quite some time whether drugs derived from this plant will be effective in treating breast cancer but we look forward to seeing any progress," said Caitlin Palframan, policy manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
In the future, these findings may diversify the number of treatments available for women who learn they have breast cancer through a lab test.
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