IZMIR, Turkey

Astragalus has shown to boost the immune system of cancer patients, Turkish scientists said Tuesday. 

Long-term studies observed that some of the molecules obtained from the herb increase the number of cytokines and strongly stimulate immunity.

A patent application made by a team for the discovery titled “A method to obtain Saponin molecules and using active molecules as immunomodulators” was registered by the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office.

Experts believe the discovery, whose international patent application is expected to be approved shortly, will make a significant contribution to cancer immunotherapy. 

Molecules stimulate immunity’

Erdal Bedir, a professor of bioengineering at the Izmir Institute of Technology, told Anadolu Agency that the team started the study based on the use of a kind of astragalus by cancer patients in southeastern Turkey.

His team of researchers saw that the herb does not have a direct effect on cancer cells, but it did boost the immune system, he said.

 

“We found that some of the molecules we obtained increase the amount of some important cytokines and stimulate immunity strongly. The patent obtained by our team includes molecules and derivatives obtained from a type of Astragalus,” he said. “We have demonstrated that the molecules presented in this patent can be used as powerful adjuvant candidates in vaccine formulations and even in cancer vaccines because they trigger the immune system at the cellular level.”

He emphasized that molecules are also ideal adjuvant candidates for vaccine formulations developed for the coronavirus.  

Researchers from the Izmir Institute of Technology also included chemistry professor Ali Cagir, Ph.D. candidate Nilgun Yakubogullari and Duygu Sag from the Biomedicine and Genome Center. 

*Writing by Seda Sevencan in Ankara

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