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NO.460 01.07.2019

Pancreatic Cancer Suppressed by Poison Ivy Extracts, or Allergen-Removed Rhus Verniciflua Stokes (aRVS)

A potential new treatment has been introduced for pancreatic cancer, an intractable disease with a high mortality rate. Professor Seong Woo Yoon of the Department of Oncology at the College of Korean Medicine has demonstrated that Allergen-removed Rhus Verniciflua Stokes (aRVS) suppresses the invasion and migration of pancreatic cancer cells


This study, entitled “Allergen-removed Rhus verniciflua Stokes suppresses invasion and migration of pancreatic cancer cells through downregulation of the JAK/STAT and Src/FAK signaling pathways,” has been published in the November 2018 issue of Oncology Reports, a renowned scholarly journal on oncology.


Confirmation that allergen-removed Rhus verniciflua stokes (RVS) suppresses the growth and migration of pancreatic cancer cells
In the Korean traditional medicine, Rhus verniciflua (also known as Toxicodendron vernicifluum or “lacquer tree”) has been consistently used to treat cancer patients. The research team led by Professor Seong Woo Yoon set out to prove the clinical effect of RVS. The Korean medical name given to RVS is geon-chil, known to remove extravagated and agglutinated blood, thereby cleansing the blood stream and reducing dense lumps in the body.


Professor Yoon’s research team was able to confirm that the aRVS uses the downregulation of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway, which plays a significant role in carcinogenesis, to suppress MUC4 (mucin4) and FAK (focal adhesion kinase) expression, thereby blocking the invasion and metastasis of the pancreatic cancer cells. MUC4 is markedly overexpressed in pancreatic cancer cells, acting as a mucoprotein that accelerates cancer growth and migration. The research team was the first to discover that the aRVS effectively suppresses MUC4.


The research team regarded the quality control of aRVS as a critical factor in this study. Professor Yoon elaborated on the special care taken by the team: “The anticancer properties in aRVS vary widely depending on where it is produced, harvesting period, and extraction method. To maximize and sustain the cancer-fighting property, we took special care to carefully control the test substance.”


Greater clinical effectiveness while being safer for the patient, and patient survival period is extended
Professor Yoon touted the medicinal properties inherent in RVS, and expressed his desire to continue his search for cancer-fighting treatments. He said, “Natural anticancer treatment supplements, like the RVS used in our research, are known to be safe while increasing the cancer treatment effect, extending the life expectancy of cancer patients. In particular, there are published studies demonstrating that aRVS, used as a single treatment method, has led to tumor reduction and/or remission in renal, lung, and stomach cancers. In addition, clinical studies have reported that aRVS enhances survival rate among stomach, rectal, and lung cancer patients, and helps to improve their quality of life. Through continuous research and development, I will try to enhance the patient’s quality of life and to conquer cancer.”


The findings of this research is the first to be published since a business agreement was signed for Korean anticancer drug development between Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong (President Ki Taek Kim) and BFLUX Pharma, a venture bio firm (CEO Jae Chun Ryu). Based on the recent study findings, studies will continue by making use of the accumulated knowledge and retroactive clinical test results regarding mass separation of index component and activation of medicinal effect, to continue natural substance-based Korean medicine anticancer drug development.

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