Is there such a thing as a natural lung cancer treatment? A natural supplement is being tested by researchers.

Lung cancer is a deadly illness that kills an estimated 1.8 million people each year. Chronic inflammation and associated diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are caused by it.

According to a news release issued by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on Monday, researchers may have discovered a new cure in the form of a herbal supplement called berberine, a natural component found in plants such as barberry and goldenseal. The drug lowers lung cancer cell growth and minimizes airway inflammation and damage to healthy lung cells exposed to chemicals from cigarette smoke, which is a primary cause of lung cancer, according to lab study.

Lung cancer prevention and inflammation reduction

“Berberine has been demonstrated to be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dr Kamal Dua, a senior lecturer in Pharmacy and Senior Research Fellow, Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), Faculty of Health at UTS, said, “We were interested to examine its potential in suppressing lung cancer and lowering inflammation.”

Berberine’s usage as a medicinal agent is not totally new. Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have used it for a long time. It does, however, have significant disadvantages, such as a lack of water solubility and gastrointestinal absorption, as well as toxicity at larger dosages.

Dua overcame these obstacles by developing liquid crystalline nanoparticles, a ground-breaking drug delivery technology that wraps berberine in tiny soluble and biodegradable polymer balls, enhancing both safety and efficacy. The ultimate result is a technique that is so effective that it can even reverse years of cigarette smoke exposure.

This is because, according to study, berberine “suppresses the production of inflammatory molecules known as reactive oxygen species, which cause cell damage. It also affects genes that are involved in inflammation, oxidative damage, and cell senescence.”

The researchers arrived at this result by analyzing tumor-associated gene mRNA levels and protein expression levels. Berberine “upregulates tumor suppressor genes while downregulating proteins involved in cancer cell migration and proliferation,” according to their findings.
Defending against oxidative stress

This isn’t the first research to show how beneficial berberine is for lung cancer treatment. The research is a follow-up to a study that was recently published in the journal Antioxidants.

“Berberine can decrease oxidative stress, diminish inflammation, and cellular senescence generated by cigarette smoke extract in lab-grown human healthy lung cells,” according to this study, which was also conducted by Dua.

What are the next steps in the development of this promising therapy? Dua wants to figure out the optimal formulation and delivery strategy for his berberine nanoparticles so that the technology may be used in hospitals all around the world. If this research is effective, it will open up a new treatment option for an illness that has troubled many people for years.

Pharmaceutics is the publication where the research was published.

Abstract of the study:

The most prevalent kind of lung cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is the main cause of cancer-related fatalities globally. Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid that is used as a supplement to treat diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Berberine’s medicinal potential is hampered, however, by its exceedingly poor absorption and toxicity at larger dosages. Incorporating medicinal components in liquid crystal nanoparticles appears to give a novel platform for the safe, effective, stable, and regulated delivery of therapeutic molecules, according to growing data. The goal of this research was to develop an improved formulation of berberine–phytantriol-loaded liquid crystalline nanoparticles (BP-LCNs) and to test their anti-cancer effectiveness in a human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cell line in vitro.The ideal BP-LCN formulation employed in this investigation showed a desirable particle size and entrapment efficiency rate (75.31 percent) as well as a better drug release profile. A human oncology protein array was used to assess the probable mechanism of action of the formulation by analyzing the mRNA levels of the tumor-associated genes PTEN, P53, and KRT18 as well as the protein expression levels. By upregulating the mRNA expression of PTEN and P53 and downregulating the mRNA expression of KRT18, BP-LCNs reduced the proliferation, migration, and colony-forming activity of A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner.BP-LCNs reduced the expression of proteins involved in cancer cell proliferation and migration as well. The use of phytantriol-based LCNs in integrating therapeutic molecules with low GI absorption and bioavailability to boost pharmacological efficacy and potency in NSCLC is highlighted in this work.