Roadside weed is found to halt the spread of breast cancer

'Cinderella of the medicinal plant world': Roadside weed is found to halt the spread of breast cancer without damaging healthy cells Researchers treated the weed Arabidopsis thaliana with a chemical in jasmine  This forced the plant to pump out a lot of hormones and these were tested  Leaves of the plant were incubated alongside cell cultures of breast cancer  Found the leaves killed the cancerous cells and left healthy cells untouched  

By Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline

Published: 09:51 GMT, 30 October 2020 | Updated: 09:51 GMT, 30 October 2020

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A roadside weed with white flowers which was thought to be boring and medically useless is able to kill breast cancer cells while leaving normal cells untouched. 

Thale cress, also known by its scientific name Arabidopsis thaliana, is an unassuming member of the cabbage family that grows to around eight inches tall. 

Experiments in a lab found its leaves, when treated with a plant hormone found in jasmine, successfully killed the cancer. 

The exact way it does this is unknown, but the study also found that while killing the dangerous cancerous cells, healthy tissues are left untouched. 

Dr Alessandra Devoto, the biologist leading the project, is hopeful this could lead to better chemotherapy treatments with fewer side effects. 

Breast cancer directly affects one in eight women in the UK, most over the age of 50. 

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A small weed with white flowers which was thought to be boring and medically useless is able to kill breast cancer cells while leaving normal cells untouched. Thale cress, also known by its scientific name Arabidopsis thaliana, is an unassuming member of the cabbage family

A small weed with white flowers which was thought to be boring and medically useless is able to kill breast cancer cells while leaving normal cells untouched. Thale cress, also known by its scientific name Arabidopsis thaliana, is an unassuming member of the cabbage family

Arabidopsis is a very simple planet and for centuries scientists have disregarded it when looking for herbal remedies to human diseases. 

As a result, its only contribution to the scientific world so far has been as a 'model organism', used in experiments to see how plants as a whole react to certain chemicals or conditions. 

For example, an Arabidopsis plant was sent to the far side of the moon via the Chinese Chang'e-4 lander to see how microgravity affects plant growth.    

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