Can a crocus cure cancer?

Can a crocus cure cancer? Maybe not today, but the boffins at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Bradford have taken what I can only describe as magic dust from the common autumn crocus and used it to attack cancer tumours. So far,the results are looking good.

News of the breakthrough was shared at the British Science Festival hosted in Bradford and the media went mad for the story. Who wouldn’t? While no-one was talking about a cure, everyone had that extra spring in their step that comes from a major dose of optimism.

It seems that for decades researchers knew the properties of the chemicals in the crocus, they just couldn’t get it to a safe enough state to zap cancer cells. Now they have, they’re set to take it to the next stage involving clinical trials. Yes, I’ve oversimplified it, but hey I don’t have a white coat and spend my time in a laboratory with test tubes, Bunsen burners and things that go poppety poppety pip.

Of course it will be years before the drug is ready for use in cancer patients. Already the ICT and colleagues at the university have been contacted by patients hoping for help now, sadly they can’t. It’s heartbreaking.

Today as we walked through the tranquil gardens at Harlow Carr those very crocii were pushing their way through the earth everywhere. I’ve seen them before and never really thought much about the odd-looking plants with no leaves but now I saw them in a new light. I could have kissed every one of them.

The wonderful Autumn Crocus - Colchicum autumnale

 

One thought on “Can a crocus cure cancer?

  1. wendy akers

    Can a crocus cure gout also? Sitting and reading Anna Pavord’s book “Bulb” at the RHS yesterday I learned that the Autumn flowering Colchicum contains a substance called ‘colchicine’ which is being looked at as a cure for gout. Daffodils are also being trialled as looking hopeful as a cure for alzheimers. Watch this space!

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