Graduate Research Assistant/Translational Science Trainee, University of Texas Health Science Center


Natural Anticancer Agents in Combating Psychological Stress and Cancer

Psychological stress, mediated by the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine, has been implicated to reduce the efficacy of chemotherapy drugs. Although our understanding of the stress influence on therapeutic outcome is expanding, the mechanisms mediating these effects are still not well delineated. Therefore, the goal of this study was to investigate whether the stress hormone cortisol can negatively influence the outcome of chemotherapy drug on breast and colon cancer cell lines, and to determine if treatment with supercritical extracts of neem leaf (SCNE) and neem bark could mitigate the antagonistic action of cortisol, thereby improving the response to chemotherapy. Neem (Azadirachta Indica), a source of many active compounds, has gained worldwide attention because of its numerous medicinal uses, antitumor, and ant-inflammatory properties. We either pre-treated or co-treated cancer cells with physiologically relevant concentration of cortisol alone or in combination with chemotherapy drug Fluorouracil (5FU) and/or supercritical extracts for various time points. To assess the proliferation and viability, we performed MTT and clonogenic assays. We also measured apoptosis using flow cytometric analysis. Our results indicate that cells treated with both supercritical extracts alone or in combination with 5FU, had significant decrease in cell viability. Interestingly, when we added cortisol to our cultures, we have observed mixed results. Furthermore, pre-treatment with supercritical extracts alleviated cortisol induced resistance to 5FU in most cell lines, but not in all. Given our mixed results, it is difficult to conclude whether the primary detrimental effect of cortisol is on cell viability and apoptosis. We cannot rule out the possibility that cortisol my enhance resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs by modifying inflammation, angiogenesis or cell migration. Therefore, our ongoing studies are aimed at investigating the status of glucocorticoid receptor and identifying the possible pathways mediating cortisol induced resistance to chemotherapy.


Post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.

Abstract: Being diagnosed with and treated for cancer is highly stressful and potentially traumatic. An extensive literature has evaluated the prevalence, predictors, and correlates of cancer-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and diagnoses. In this qualitative review of cancer-related PTSD literature, we highlight conceptual, methodological, and diagnostic issues, and identify clinical implications and areas for future research. Cancer-related PTSD has been documented in a minority of patients with cancer and their family members, is positively associated with other indices of distress and reduced quality of life, and has several correlates and risk factors (eg, prior trauma history, pre-existing psychiatric conditions, poor social support). The literature on treatment of cancer-related PTSD is sparse. Existing literature on cancer-related PTSD has used DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria; the revised DSM-5 PTSD criteria have important implications for the assessment of cancer-related distress. Application of PTSD diagnosis to patients with cancer has been critiqued on conceptual and methodological grounds, and important differential diagnosis considerations should be taken into account. Psychosocial assessment of patients with cancer should include careful evaluation of pre-cancer diagnosis trauma and psychiatric history, and diagnostic interviewing should consider concurrent conditions (eg, adjustment disorder). Treatment of cancer-related PTSD should be approached with caution and be informed by existing evidence-based approaches for traumatic stress.

Pub.: 23 Jan '17, Pinned: 03 Jul '17

Synthesis and characterisation of neem leaf extract, 2, 3-dehydrosalanol and quercetin dihydrate mediated silver nano particles for therapeutic applications.

Abstract: The utility of green silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in veterinary medicine is steadily increasing as they have many therapeutic applications against pathogens and arthropods of livestock. In this study, green AgNPs using neem (N-AgNPs), 2,3-dehydrosalanol (2,3-DHS-AgNPs) and quercetin dihydrate (QDH-AgNPs) were synthesised and characterised. Synthesised compounds were characterised by UV-Vis spectroscopy and the peak absorbance was recorded at 370 nm for neem extract. For N-AgNPs, 2,3-DHS-AgNPs and QDH-AgNPs, the maximum absorbance peaks were at 430, 230 and 220 nm, respectively. The FTIR analysis confirmed the synthesis of green AgNPs. The XRD pattern of N-AgNPs showed the peaks corresponding to whole spectra of 2 θ values ranging from 10-80. The relatively higher intensity of (111, 222) planes in face centred cubic crystalline structure supports the formation of synthesised AgNPs. In DLS analysis, the hydrodynamic diameter of neem leaf extract was found to be 259.8 nm, followed by 5.3, 6.7 and 261.8 nm for 2,3-DHS-AgNPs, N-AgNPs and QDH-AgNPs, respectively. Based on the transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy image analyses, confirmed the formation of N-AgNPs, 2,3-DHS-AgNPs and QDH-AgNPs. These eco-friendly phyto-AgNPs may be of use as an effective alternative to chemical control methods against the arthropods of livestock.

Pub.: 23 May '17, Pinned: 03 Jul '17