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Featured Project

October 3, 2018

America's forgotten native 'tea' plant is tackling cancer


Last year, Professor Roslyn Crowder's lab at Stetson University ran experiments that showed treating cancer cells with yaupon holly leaf extract resulted in the death of human cancer cells.

This project expands on that preliminary study, and will examine the effect of old and new yaupon holly leaf extract on cell death mechanisms. They hypothesize that cancer cells undergo oxidative stress when treated with yaupon holly.

Ilex vomitoria, known as yaupon holly, is a plant species native to southeastern North America, and was historically used by Native Americans in brewed teas because it contains caffeine. It's recently been 'rediscovered' and is experiencing a resurgence in consumption.

The project budget of $3,250 will be used to obtain cancer and control cell cultures, as well as buy bioluminescent and flow cytometry kits to examine induction of oxidative stress in cells treated with yaupon holly extracts. Stetson University is providing plate reader equipment for the researchers to use in the study for the bioluminescent and flow cytometry steps.

Featured Results

Crowdfunded scientific discoveries

New Evidence: Albumin protein is a defense mechanism against Clostridium infections


Clostridium difficile is a bacteria that produces toxins in the human gut and has emerged as a major contributor to hospital acquired infections in Western countries. Approximately 15%-25% of antibiotic-associated diarrhea cases result from C. difficile infections, which can result in fever, weight loss, and diarrhea 10 to 15 times a day.

The results from this Experiment campaign from Italy's National Institute for Infectious Diseases are now published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, and it demonstrates that human serum albumin binds to certain protein domains on C. difficile toxins which help break down the toxin at certain concentrations in the body. 

Albumin is one of the most abundant proteins found in the blood plasma. The liver releases albumin, and human serum albumin helps transport hormones and other fatty acids. Albumin proteins are also found in mammals, and in egg whites, where researcher Stefano Di Bell found suggestions for the bactericidal properties of albumin.
 

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