In the January-February issue of the journal Anticancer Research, the investigators reported that treating mice with an extract of leaves of Ginkgo biloba both before and after implanting human breast or brain (glioma) tumors decreased expression of a cell receptor associated with invasive cancer. This decreased expression slowed the growth of the breast tumors by 80 percent as long as the extract was used, compared to untreated mice, and also reduced the size of the brain tumors, but temporarily, and to a lesser extent.
Ginkgo biloba extract is a popular supplement that comes from the leaves of the Gingko tree, which is indigenous to Japan, Korea and China but can be found all over the world. Many believe it enhances memory, and is being currently being tested as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.
"It is very encouraging that Ginkgo biloba appeared to reduce the aggressiveness of these cancers, because it suggests that the leaves could be useful in some early stage diseases to prevent them from becoming invasive, or spreading," said the study's senior author, Vassilios Papadopoulos, DPharm, PhD, Director, Biomedical Graduate Research Organization and Associate Vice President of Georgetown University Medical Center.
"But I must stress that this is a study in mice, and so we cannot say what anticancer effects, if any, Gingko biloba might offer humans," he said.
Papadopoulos and his research team became interested in Gingko biloba because their research suggested that it might interact with the peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), a molecule they have been studying for the last 20 years. For example, they have determined that this protein (discovered by ac
Contact: Laura Cavender
Georgetown University Medical Center