Dr. Kim Mulvihill reportingEach year, cancer claims the lives of over 500-thousand Americans. The search for a cure is never-ending with over 25-hundred clinical trials taking place world wide right now.
Researchers in Miami have found a link between a natural enzyme and cancer cell death, a discovery that could help treat skin cancer.
Often found in beauty products, CO Enzyme Q-10 is a natural antioxident. Now researchers are testing CO-Q 10 as a treatment for cancer.
Niven Naraim/ Um Dermatology: "It's killing the cancer cells. It's causing the cancer cells to go through cell death."
Researchers at the University of Miami found that co-q 10 restores a vital function to cancer cells. It's called apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
Indushekhar Persaud/ UM Dermatology: "Apoptosis is not happening in the cancer cells, so that is why they keep on growing and growing and multiplying and not dying. When you administer the CO-10 you allow the cells to send that signal again, and then that causes th cell to die."
A slide shows the effect of co-q 10 on skin cancer cells after just two days. Most of the cells are gone and the ones remaining can't grow anymore. They got similar results when they tested breast cancer cells.
Indushekhar Persaud: "It's restoring the ability of that cell to undergo the program cell death."
A CO-Q 10 cream was developed and rubbed onto skin cancer tumors in mice. It's easy to see the difference in size of the tumors removed from the mice.
Niven Narain: "We treated for 30 days and we saw that there was approximately a 55% reduction in tumor size."
Researchers believe this treatment has a big advantage over other cancer therapies.
Indushekhar Persaud: "In chemotherapy they have an effect on both the cancer cells and the normal cells. This treatment, CO-Enzyme Q-10, this would have an effect only on cancer cells."
Researchers expect to test the Q-10 cream on actual patients with skin cancer this summer.