Published: Sep 15, 2016
The mechanism by which red propolis acts as an anticancer agent can be clarified by the identification of proteins that are differentially expressed in a cancer cell line, say Brazilian researchers.
Propolis has a range of renowned medicinal properties and has been used to treat bacteria, viruses, fungal infections and gastrointestinal problems. One more string to the bow of this resin, produced by bees as a glue to block up unwanted gaps in the hive and protect the entrance, is its anticancer activity which has been demonstrated on a number of different cancers including leukaemia and bladder, breast and pancreatic cancer.
In South America, one type of propolis is produced exclusively when bees collect resin from the coinvine (Dalbergia ecastophyllum). Known as red propolis, it is found in the northeastern region of Brazil and it, too, has been credited with the ability to kill cancer cells. The mechanism by which red propolis acts is unclear, but it is rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids, as a team of researchers in Brazil established by high resolution mass spectrometry.
Many of these compounds have been attributed with health-promoting properties but they still cannot explain how the anticancer mechanism operates. So, the same team has undertaken a proteomics investigation to see which proteins are affected by red propolis and whether they can throw any light on its mode of action...