An orange pigment found in lichens and rhubarb called parietin may have potential as an anti-cancer drug, according to new data published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.
Parietin, also known as physcion, could slow the growth of and kill human leukaemia cells obtained directly from patients, without obvious toxicity to human blood cells, the authors report. The pigment could also inhibit the growth of human cancer cell lines derived from lung and head and neck tumours when grafted into mice.
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