Research Highlights

doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.66 Published online 24 May 2016

Hep-C virus to kill liver cancer cells

By using the hepatitis C virus, researchers have synthesized a homeopathic drug that can kill liver cancer cells, making it potentially useful in the management of liver cancer1.

The hepatitis C virus, which causes cirrhosis and liver cancer, is used to make the very highly diluted drug Hep C 30. To test the anticancer potential of Hep C 30, the researchers exposed cultured liver, breast and lung cancer cells to various doses of this drug.

While the drug reduced the viability of all three types of cancer cells, it showed its highest toxic effects on the liver cancer cells. The drug spared normal liver cells, but shrank the liver cancer cells by distorting their membranes.

Sophisticated imaging techniques revealed that the drug triggered the death of cancer cells through apoptosis, a process of controlled cell death. The dying cancer cells showed signs of apoptosis — DNA damage and activation of death-triggering enzymes such as caspases.

Increasing the drug dose increased the generation of reactive oxygen species, which are known to kill cancer cells.

“Hep C 30 decreased the levels of two cancer biomarker enzymes — telomerase and topoisomerase II — in the liver cancer cells, suggesting that this drug could potentially be used to alleviate liver cancer,” says lead researcher Anisur Rahman Khuda-Bukhsh. 


The authors of this work are from: Cytogenetics and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Kalyani, Kalyani and Life Force, Krushal Commercial Complex, Chembur, Mumbai, India.


References

1. Mondal, J. et al. A homeopathic nosode, Hepatitis C 30 demonstrates anticancer effect against liver cancer cells in vitro by modulating telomerase and topoisomerase II activities as also by promoting apoptosis via intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. J. Integr. Med. 14, 209–218 (2016)