INST explores natural sweetener for cancer therapy

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A non-caloric natural sweetener that can make cancer therapy using magnetic nano particles more efficient

Stevioside (STE), isolated from the leaves of honey yerba and widely used as the non-caloric natural sweeteners, can sweeten our lives in more ways than one, say scientists.

Researchers at Mohali based Institute of Nano Science & Technology an autonomous institute, Department of Science and Technology (INST), Government of India in their recent study have found that stevioside, a natural plant-based glycoside found in leaves of honey yerba  (‘Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni’) when coated on nanoparticles can increase the efficiency of Magnetic hyperthermia-mediated cancer therapy (MHCT).

MHCT method of cancer therapy is based on heating the tumor tissues using magnetic nanoparticles in comparison to the routinely used surfactant moieties (oleic acid and polysorbate-80) and is based on generation of localised heat at the tumour site on exposure to AMF (alternating magnetic field) in the presence of magnetic nanoparticles.

Ruby Gupta and Deepika Sharma in their research published in the International Journal of Hyperthermia showed that coating the nanoparticles with the stevioside, a biosurfactant not only improved the cellular uptake of the nano-magnets in glioma C6 cancer cells (one of the most common and aggressive form of glial cancer cells) but also enhanced its retention time. 

The researchers have modified the stevioside structure to make it more effective as a biosurfactant for magnetic nanoclusters synthesized in the lab.

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