The Coix Seeds – an Alternative to Chemotherapy and Surgical Treatment to Fight off Stomach Cancer

Natural medicinal intervention in cancer prevention and research is emerging rapidly.  The Coix seed of the traditional herb called Coix lacryma-jobi plays an essential role in in treatment of stomach cancer via targeting multiple mechanisms, revealed the study published in Natural Product Communication, SAGE Journals.

The study elucidates the potential multiple processes where Coix seeds act to reduce the risk of stomach cancer and implicates that it can help in developing a single drug that simultaneously targets multiple sites in various mechanisms which increase the risk of stomach cancer.

The study showed the feasibility of biological software that analyzes and determines step by step pathway of mechanisms to generate results in stomach cancer progression. Moreover, the validity of these software to inspect traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) and their mechanism in alleviating cancer progression was determined. It will open new ways to improve research focusing on anti-cancer interventions and help in discovering multiple-target anti-cancer drug that will control multiple mechanisms that causes stomach cancer.

Globally, Gastric cancer (GC), or stomach cancer, is considered the 5th most common disease with high morbidity, mortality, and global incidence rates. The already available treatments are subjected to higher side effects.  Surgical treatments are only effective during early diagnosis and chemotherapy predisposes the patient to serious side effects and reduces effectiveness of other medicines.

Furthermore, the credibility of new agents that target biochemical mechanisms at cellular level remains unsatisfactory. Therefore, it is imperative to use traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) as an alternative treatment approach to treat stomach cancer patients, particularly with the advanced stage as it carries fewer or no side effects.

The holistic study of coix seeds

In the study, the researchers collected data of coix seeds from the Chinese Medicine and Chemical Composition Database and Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology (TCMSP) database particularly designed to store logs of active Chinese herbs’ components. Researchers who conducted the study were experts from Department of Gastroenterology, The Fourth Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Department of TCM Pediatric, TCM Hospital of Hebei Province, and Institute of Information on Traditional Chinese Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.

The researchers retrieved genetic information of 41 coix seed compounds and for each compound they gathered the specific gene sequences that potentially target the stomach cancer causing mechanism. They compared those sequences to the anti-cancer medicinal drug sequences recorded in DrugBank to confirm their authenticity. Then, they retrieved the gene sequences that are affected in case of stomach cancer from Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man and Human Phenotype Ontology databases. In the study, both sequence groups; the coix seed target sequences and stomach cancer causing sequences were compared through bioinformatic softwares. Then 12 shared similar sequences of genes identical in both groups were shortlisted, which were potential drug target sites in the stomach to treat cancer.

The study successfully identified 12 specific gene sequences of coix seeds in stomach at genetic and cellular level that cause stomach cancer. The study efficiently found the lucrative pathways of processes that are behind the healing effect of coix seeds in stomach cancer. This provides evidence to further elucidate the anti-cancer effects of traditional Chinese herbal medicines and their underlying mechanism. Moreover, it will help in biopharma research to develop anti-cancer multiple-target site single drug to combat cancer.

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