Combating drug resistance in cancer cells: Cooperative effect of green tea and turmeric with chemotherapeutic drug

(1) The International School Bangalore (TISB), Bangalore, India, (2) International Stemcell Services Limited, Bangalore, India

The major drawback of chemotherapy regimens for treating cancer is that the cancerous cells acquire drug resistance and become impervious to further dose escalation. Keeping in mind the studied success of herbal formulations with regard to alternative treatments for cancer, we hypothesized that the use of a chemotherapeutic drug and proprietary herbal formulation, HF1 (under patent by Sri Raghavendra Biotechnologies Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, India) would combat this phenomenon. 5-Fluorouracil (5FU) is a commonly administered chemotherapeutic drug that is used to treat many cancers but also has the problem of inducing drug resistance during its regimen. We undertook the present in vitro study to test the efficacy of HF1 (which is mainly composed of green tea and turmeric) in reversing drug resistance in a 5FU-resistant cell line. To do so, we conducted a cell viability assay known as the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide, a tetrazole (MTT) assay. The MTT assay uses a reagent that produces a color proportionally to the percentage of living cells present in the culture. Firstly, a resistant cell line of HeLa cells (HeLa-R) was cultured by slowly exposing it to gradually increasing doses of 5FU. This resistant cell line was then subjected to three treatments: i) only 5FU, ii) only HF1, and iii) both 5FU and HF1. These results were then compared to determine the relative effects of each treatment on cell survival. Results demonstrated a cooperative effect between HF1 and 5FU on the drug resistant cell line, implying that administration of HF1 with 5FU results in cell death as measured by MTT assay.

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