Researchers at the university's Linus Pauling Institute suggest some natural food compounds might be effective in working side-by-side with conventional drugs that are now used in chemotherapy.
The scientists said they examined the activity of chlorophyllin and found, on a dose-by-dose basis, it was 10 times more potent at causing the death of colon cancer cells than hydroxyurea, a chemotherapeutic drug commonly used in cancer treatment.
Beyond that, chlorophyllin kills cancer cells by blocking the same phase of cellular division that hydroxyurea does, but by a different mechanism. They said that finding suggests it -- and possibly other "cocktails" of natural products -- might be developed to have a synergistic effect with conventional cancer drugs, helping them to work better or require less toxic dosages.
"We conclude that chlorophyllin has the potential to be effective in the clinical setting, when used alone or in combination with currently available cancer therapeutic agents," the scientists wrote in their study.
The research, led by Professor Rod Dashwood, appears in the International Journal of Cancer.