Cork tree bark to fight cancer

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 8:30 AM EDT
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In the fight against aggressive prostate cancer, researchers are discovering that what’s old is new again. Cork tree bark, an herbal remedy that’s been around for centuries, is being studied as a way to shrink prostate tumors.

Cork tree bark has long been used in Asia to fight inflammation.

Pratap Kumar, PhD, professor of molecular medicine at the University of Texas Health in San Antonio explained to Ivanhoe, "People in China, they take this bark, they actually make a concoction out of this bark. And, that concoction they drink; it's been going on for ages."

Kumar and his colleagues decided to test cork tree bark extract, also called Nexrutine, to fight dangerous body inflammation, that often contributes to cancer development.

“When we think about inflammation, we think about systemic inflammation. In that, we see an increase in these pro-inflammatory cytokines which is known to trigger downstream effects which can be detrimental to the healthy body,” elaborated Darpan I. Patel, PhD also of the University of Texas Health in San Antonio.

Researchers used three animal groups and discovered that cork tree bark decreased tumors by 62 percent. While exercise worked at about 60 percent. What surprised them is that the cork extract was expected to attack inflammation in the body, but it also went after the tumor growth itself.

“Whereas, on the flip side, exercise did more of its impactful work through inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines, or tumor genic cytokines,” clarified Patel. 

These two powerful cancer fighters: the cork extract and exercise, could hold the combined key to fighting aggressive tumors.

Professor Kumar illustrated, “If you combine those two, scientifically and logistically thinking, you get double the benefit.”

So, although both exercise and cork bark are equally good, researchers believe the extract alone, could be a natural replacement for those who can’t tolerate exercise.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, according to the American Cancer Society, and is a leading cause of death. Professors Kumar and Patel say human trials incorporating cork tree bark in tumor treatment should begin within the next year.

FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) -

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