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In the News: GCA Medalist Paul Alan Cox, PhD


May 10, 2022

Violets - a New Approach in Treating Glioblastoma

Under the leadership of Paul Alan Cox, PhD, scientists at The Brain Chemistry Labs in Jackson Hole are researching the use of plants as possible cures and treatments for neurodegenerative illnesses and diseases of the human brain. The Labs recently announced findings that show extracts from common violets, Viola odorata, may influence new approaches for treating glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer in the human brain. Currently, after a glioblastoma diagnosis, the median survival time is nine to sixteen months.

“We think we are on a path that could lead to better treatment of glioblastoma in the future,” reports Dr. Samantha Gerlach, a professor at Dillard University in New Orleans and a member of The Brain Chemistry Labs team. The findings were recently published in a paper that appears in The Journal of Natural Products published by the American Chemical Society. The report states that half of glioblastoma tumors are resistant to the only FDA-approved cancer treatment commonly known as Temozolomide (TMZ) and the other fifty percent evolve with a resistance to this chemotherapy. The study, conducted in Jackson Hole, found that small circular proteins, cyclotides, taken from violets, combined with TMZ gives the TMZ a boost, making it a more effective chemotherapy treatment. The violet cyclotides increase the ability to kill glioblastoma cells up to eight-fold as reported in the study. Dr. Cox cautions, “Our cell culture studies, though encouraging, are far from being useful in a clinical setting, but this is a step forward for anyone with this diagnosis. ”

In 2019, Dr. Cox was the recipient of the GCA’s Eloise Payne Luquer Medal for his research and discoveries in medicinal ethnobotany. He was recently inducted as an Honorary Member of The Garden Club of America at the GCA Annual Meeting in Parsippany, NJ. Dr. Cox was a keynote speaker at the GCA’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Baltimore.



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