Scientists: Liquid in earthworms can destroy lung cancer cells

Liquid from earthworms destroys lung cancer cells

Around one in four people in the European Union dies of cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Europe. In addition to the surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy and / or radiation can also be used to treat the patients. A fluid derived from earthworms may also help against lung cancer in the future.

A liquid extracted from earthworms

Although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Europe, according to health experts, this type of cancer is still underestimated. As the cancer information service of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) explains on its website, treatment - depending on the "type of cancer" - in addition to the surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy and / or radiation and medication are also possible. In the future, a liquid extracted from earthworms could possibly also contribute to the treatment of lung cancer.

Animals help heal people

Snake venom for high blood pressure, leech therapy for osteoarthritis, worms for inflammatory bowel diseases:

Animals and their toxins or body fluids are used time and again to heal people. The effectiveness of all methods is not scientifically proven.

Scientists are still at the very beginning of research into a liquid extracted from earthworms that is said to help against lung cancer.

Lung cancer medicines

Polish researchers from two universities in Lublin examined a fluid extracted from the body cavity of earthworms that could potentially be used in the development of a drug for lung cancer.

This substance destroyed 80 percent of the lung cancer cells in laboratory tests and was not toxic to normal cells at the same time, reports the portal "Science & Scholarship in Poland".

In initial tests, the substance was still not very convincing because it also harmed healthy tissues, explained the scientists from Maria Curie-Skłodowska University and the Medical University of Lublin. The researchers then changed the treatment of the liquid.

Research at the very beginning

According to the report, the preparation is now undergoing further tests to determine whether it can be used to develop a drug.

"We are at the end of the first phase of research into cells that grow outside the body, and the next step is to examine the effects of these preparations on the organism of laboratory animals," said Prof. Jolanta Rzymowska from the Medical University of Lublin.

The expert assumes that clinical tests can be considered after the tests.

Toxic effects had long been known

Scientists have previously described the toxic effects of the liquid obtained from earthworm coelom.

According to Dr. Marta Fiołka from Maria Curie-Skłodowska University is known from publications that this liquid is very toxic and breaks down red blood cells in a few minutes.

It is not only toxic to lung cancer cells, but also to normal bronchial cells. The researchers therefore looked for ways to “eliminate toxicity to normal cells,” says the scientist.

This was achieved by heating the liquid and the correct protein concentration in the preparation.

Earthworms are milked with light current surges

To get to the substance, the earthworms are milked with weak current surges (4.5 volts).

The coelomic fluid becomes Dr. According to Fiolek, along with blood cells, ejected through the holes on the side of the earthworm.

The liquid is then separated from the cells by centrifugation, filtered through bacteriological filters and then heated.

About 100 microliters of this liquid can be obtained from an earthworm. "These are very small quantities" - emphasized Dr. Fiołka.

According to the researchers, it is too early to determine how much of this is needed to produce a drug. It is also unclear how long the research will take.

“Our enthusiasm urges us to continue our research, although it has to be moderate, because at this point in time it is not yet possible to say whether a therapeutic product will come out. This is the preparatory phase of laboratory research, ”emphasized Prof. Rzymowska. (ad)

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