Experts at the University of Bradford’s Institute of Cancer Therapeutics are developing what’s been dubbed a cancer “smart bomb” from the autumn crocus, a flower native to Britain.
The purple-flowered plant, which is in blossom around this time of year, contains a chemical called colchicine that has been found to be potentially anti-cancerous, the Daily Express reported.
Colchicine is a toxic substance that would poison the body if used in its current form so scientists have developed an inactive form of the chemical.
This is “switched on” only if it comes into contact with a protein that is specifically released by cancer cells.
The idea is that the flower-powered smart drug circulates harmlessly in the body until it comes into contact with malignant cells. Once it does it becomes active and then destroys them, leaving healthy cells intact.
Research is still at an early stage and it’s likely to be several years before the crocus drug is used in daily medical practice.