Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research Project

Pilot Research Project Eight

Development of Biologically-active Datura Extract as a Breast Cancer Therapy

Co-Principal Investigators:
Julian Simon, Associate Member, Clinical Research – FHCRC
Mary O’Connell, Professor, Plant and Animal Sciences – NMSU

The goal of this collaboration is to characterize novel anticancer leads isolated from plants native to semi-arid regions of the United States. Towards that goal we have identified two sources of novel anti-cancer leads in two plants native to the Chihahuan Desert in the United States, Datura innoxia and Acacia constricta. The first specific aim of this project is to determine if the highly active and specific breast cancer cell inhibition observed in vitro by novel withanolide can be attributed to the ergostane withanolide form or to its glycoside form and if this inhibition can be observed in vivo. The second specific aim is to advance the preliminary observation of a specific skin cancer cell inhibitor from Acacia to determine the chemical structure of this compound and carefully document the LD 50 for this anti-cancer compound.

Plant collection, extraction and preliminary fractionation of bioactive compounds will be carried out at NMSU. Chemical structural analyses will be performed collaboratively at NMSU, FHCRC, and the NACUR lab in Peoria, IL. The cell-based assays for anti-cancer activity and mice xenograft work will be performed at FHCRC.

For More Information

To learn more about the research talking place in Dr. Simon’s lab, visit:  Information about Dr. O’Connell's research can be found at:

Faculty and students interested in learning more about this pilot project may contact Dr. Julian Simon at or Dr. Mary O’Connell at

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