Feverfew: weeding out the root of leukaemia.
Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2005 Sep;5(9):1147-52. PMID: 16120045
Malignant stem cells are central to the pathogenesis and perpetuation of acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML). Despite their crucial role, standard chemotherapy often does not target these critical cells and, thus, the 'root' of leukaemic disease is not eradicated. To derive better therapies, unique molecular features of malignant stem cells have been characterised for AML and evaluated with regard to ablation of disease. In the course of such studies, the compound parthenolide, which is derived from the medicinal plant feverfew, has recently been shown to preferentially induce AML stem cells to undergo apoptosis. Importantly, parthenolide had no discernable effect on normal blood cells. Thus, this naturally occurring agent may provide new avenues of investigation for the treatment of leukaemia. In this article, characteristics of parthenolide are reviewed.