Fig Latex Nanofiber: A Potential Anticancer and Antioxidant Treatment

Jenn Hoskins
16th May, 2024

Fig Latex Nanofiber: A Potential Anticancer and Antioxidant Treatment

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from SRTA-City developed a new cancer treatment using fig latex encapsulated in nanofibers
  • The fig latex nanofibers effectively killed colon and liver cancer cells while being safe for normal cells
  • The treatment works by inducing cancer cell death and has antioxidant properties, enhancing its therapeutic potential
Cancer is a fatal disease affecting millions worldwide, and current anticancer drugs often harm normal cells, leading to severe side effects. Researchers from the City of Scientific Research and Technological Applications (SRTA-City) have investigated a novel approach using fig latex from Ficus carica encapsulated in cellulose acetate (CA) and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) polymers via the electrospinning method[1]. This study aims to develop a safer and more effective cancer treatment. The Fig@CA/PEO nanofiber scaffold was characterized using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). These techniques confirmed the presence of fig latex in the nanofibers and showed a decrease in average fiber diameter from 715 nm to 583 nm with increased latex concentration. The scaffold demonstrated significant anticancer activity against colon cancer (Caco) and liver cancer (HepG2) cells, with IC50 values of 23.97 μg/mL and 23.96 μg/mL, respectively. Importantly, the scaffold was found to be safe for normal cells (WI-38), making it a promising alternative to traditional chemotherapy. One of the main challenges of conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, is systemic toxicity and low selectivity, which can lead to drug resistance and long-term side effects[2]. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been explored as an alternative but suffers from limited light penetration. Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) using ultrasound and sonosensitizers offers a noninvasive approach, but the discovery of effective sonosensitizers remains ongoing[2]. In this context, the use of natural plant extracts, such as fig latex, encapsulated in nanofibers, represents a significant advancement. The study also highlighted the scaffold's ability to induce apoptosis in cancer cells by upregulating BCL2 and P21 oncogenes while downregulating p53 and TNF. This mechanistic variation is crucial for effectively targeting cancer cells while sparing normal cells. Additionally, the scaffold exhibited antioxidant activity, with DPPH scavenging rates of 33.4%, 36%, and 41% as the fig latex concentration increased. This antioxidant property further contributes to its therapeutic potential. Previous studies have shown that natural products, such as those derived from diatoms, possess potent anticancer properties and can serve as effective drug carriers due to their biocompatibility and biodegradability[3]. Similarly, Ficus carica has been traditionally used for various ailments, including cancer, due to its rich phytochemical composition[4]. The current study builds on these findings by demonstrating the potential of fig latex encapsulated in nanofibers as a targeted cancer therapy. In summary, the research conducted by SRTA-City presents a promising alternative to conventional chemotherapy by utilizing fig latex encapsulated in CA/PEO nanofibers. This approach not only targets cancer cells effectively but also minimizes harm to normal cells, addressing a significant limitation of current cancer treatments. The study's findings contribute to the ongoing exploration of plant-based anticancer agents and highlight the potential of nanotechnology in improving cancer therapy outcomes.



Main Study

1) Biological activities of fig latex -loaded cellulose acetate/poly(ethylene oxide) nanofiber for potential therapeutics: Anticancer and antioxidant material.

Published 13th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Recent progress in development of new sonosensitizers for sonodynamic cancer therapy.

3) Anticancer Compounds Derived from Marine Diatoms.

4) Traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Ficus carica: a review.

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