TEA TREE OIL COULD BECOME THE NEXT NATURAL TREATMENT FOR BREAST CANCER.
Griffith University researchers have found a purified form of tea tree oil can slow the growth of breast tumors in mice.
The melaleuca tea tree oil concentration, developed by Griffith’s Professor Max Reynolds, was injected into tumors in mice every three days for 30 days.
PhD researcher Amanda Clark said they found the tea tree oil formula not only reduced cancer growth, but also produced an anti-tumor response.
“We’ve found that tea tree oil slows the progression or growth of breast cancers in a spontaneous model of breast cancer in mice,” Ms Clark said.
“It didn’t cure the mice or get rid of the tumors, so it would need to be used in conjunction with other treatments.
“But you could treat the tumor and reduce it in size to be surgically removed. You could cause an inoperable tumor to become operable.”
Ms Clark used genetically modified mice that developed breast tumors by seven months old.
In other mice studies scientists induce the cancer in mice before targeting it with tea tree oil.
“It’s about as close as we can get in mice to replicate in a human condition,” Ms Clark said.
“They replicate what happens in humans more this way.
“The next step is to move from breast cancers to prostate and then lung cancers to find out if this tea tree oil treatment is just as effective with different types of cancers in different areas of the body.”
Melaleuca or tea tree oil has been a source of medical research since the 1920s and used mostly by Aborigines for treatment of the skin.
Ms Clark said most people did not realize 70 to 80 per cent of cancer drugs were derived from natural products such as tea tree oil.