Target Cancer Stem Cells

Target Cancer Stem Cells

Target Cancer Stem Cells

Unleashing Nature's Arsenal: Bioactive Compounds in the Battle against Cancer Stem Cells

Mother Nature provides the healing potential of nature, a suite of potent bioactive compounds has been discovered to effectively target the seemingly indestructible Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs). These natural substances, including sulforaphane, genistein, curcumin, lycopene, ursolic acid, resveratrol, 6-gingerol, Honokiol, piperine, parthenolide, and EGCG, are under research for their promise in the fight against cancer.

Understanding CSCs is crucial. They are the genesis of a tumor, unlike 'standard' cancer cells, with an uncanny ability to provoke cancer recurrence, metastases, inflammation, and cancer cell infiltration. Like the queen bee in a hive, CSCs possess an alarming level of autonomy, operating outside the usual signaling pathways employed by other cancer cells. Yet, chemotherapy – the mainstay of cancer treatment – fails to eradicate them. Thus, cancer drugs may suppress a tumor to a certain extent, but the danger of regrowth remains.

Research spearheaded by Dr. Young S. Kim of the National Cancer Institute reveals promising results from natural ingredients known to combat cancer and bolster survival rates. These ingredients include sulforaphane, curcumin, piperine, EGCG, genistein, B vitamins such as inositol, vitamins E and A, and anthocyanins found in purple foods like aubergines, cherries, red onions, red cabbage, and berries.

To further emphasize, let's delve into the top natural compounds that target CSCs:

1. Ursolic Acid: Found in Holy Basil, pistachio nuts, and apple peel, this compound requires a daily intake of around 500 to 1000 mg for an impactful effect.

2. Lycopene: Abundant in tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit, the effective dosage of lycopene against CSCs is about 60-100 mg daily.

3. Curcumin: Hailing from turmeric, around 3.2 gm daily is recommended for powerful effects. It should be taken with black pepper and oil/fat for optimal absorption.

4. Resveratrol: Although the research varies, it seems that cancer stem cells respond to high doses around 1000 mg. This antioxidant-rich compound is found in red grape skins.

5. EGCG: The Mayo Clinic recommends 5-7 cups of green tea daily, or a supplement dosage of around 750 – 1500 mg.

6. Vitamin D3: Essential for immune system functioning, cancer patients should aim for a daily intake of at least 5,000 IUs, although studies suggest that 20,000 IUs could prevent CSC regrowth.

7. 6-Gingerol: This ginger root ingredient is a potent anti-cancer agent, with recommended daily consumption of 5-10 gm of the fresh root.

8. Piperine: Found in black pepper, piperine enhances the action of numerous other compounds.

9. Sulforaphane: Cruciferous vegetables and sprouting seeds are rich in this compound, with a recommended supplement level of 1000 mg for anti-cancer effects.

10. Genistein: Notably inhibiting breast cancer stem cells, this compound is best consumed naturally, with daily supplement doses of 135 mg soya isoflavone.

11. Anthocyanins: Consuming a rainbow diet rich in red berries negates the need for supplementation.

In addition to these natural compounds, several off-label drugs such as Accutane (retinoic acid), Niclosamide, Ivermectin, and Doxycycline may prove beneficial against CSCs, depending on the cancer type.

Despite the shortcomings of current cancer therapies, the power of nature, backed by robust scientific evidence, holds promise in disrupting the reign of cancer stem cells.


1. The 'Big Five' phytochemicals targeting cancer system cells; Cord Naukojat, Dwight L. McKee; Curr Med Chem; 2020 Feb 27.

2. Genistein inhibits breast cancer stem cells through the Hedgehog pathway; Stem Cell Research and Therapy, 11 Dec 2013, Panhong Fan et al.

3. Honokiol Affects Stem Cell Viability by Suppressing Oncogenic YAP1 Function to Inhibit Colon Tumorigenesis; Cells. 2021 Jun 26;10(7)

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