Colleagues quietly scoffed when Alessandra Devoto, a plant biologist, started dedicating her time to researching the medicinal properties of a roadside weed. After years of study, however, she appears to have proved them wrong.
Scientists have found that Arabidopsis thaliana, also known as mouse-ear cress or thale cress, stops the growth of breast cancer without damaging the healthy cells. It could help the development of chemotherapy treatments without side-effects.
“The plant is very much like the Cinderella of the medicinal plant world — no one thought it was so special, but it has shown its true colours,” Professor Devoto, from Royal Holloway, University of London, said. “Everyone knows someone who has gone through chemotherapy and the severe side-effects it causes. This skinny little weed is a bit of a superhero, it stops the cancer cells but causes no other damage.”
It is about 20cm high and belongs to the cabbage family, though bears little resemblance.
Plant biologist Alessandra Devoto and a group of scientists have found that thale cress stops the growth of breast cancer without damaging the healthy cells. It could help the development of chemotherapy treatments without side-effects https://t.co/SRYt1v6uzB
— The Times (@thetimes) October 30, 2020