Festive favorite could harbor anticancer drug

Indian researchers have obtained the first crystal structure of a novel ribosome-inactivating protein (RIP) from the mistletoe Viscum album. The extract from this particular species of the parasitic plant is efficacious against several cancer cell lines. Tej Singh of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India, and the University of Delhi and his colleagues demonstrated several unique structural features in the molecule that could explain its activity against cancer and in modulating the body's immune response. Their study will hopefully allow medicinal scientists to develop further the concept of mistletoe therapy for various diseases.