A new effect of red ginseng: suppression of lung cancer metastasis

Development of KIST bulk ginsenoside (KMxG) using a ginseng microwave treatment method that increases trace amounts for Rk1 and Rg5. Ginsenosides Rk1 and Rg5 effectively prevent lung cancer metastasis

Red ginseng, which has long been used as an ingredient in traditional Korean medicine, has recently attracted attention as a functional substance for its health-promoting effects. The composition and activities of red ginseng vary depending on the method of treatment, and this has become an active area of ​​research. Recently, a research team in Korea came into the spotlight when they discovered that red ginseng has inhibitory effects against lung cancer metastasis.

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) reported that a joint study conducted by Dr. Jungyeob Ham of the Natural Products Research Center at KIST Gangneung Institute of Natural Products and Dr. Hyeonseok Ko of Seoul Asan Medical Center revealed that two components of red ginseng, Rk1 and Rg5, can significantly suppress metastasis. For lung cancer.

Dr. Ham of KIST developed a new microwave treatment method for red ginseng based on the same principle of microwave oven, which when compared to current treatment methods, such as repeated steaming and drying, increases the concentration of the three main active ingredients, Rg3, Rk1 and Rg5, more than 20 times. The research team previously showed that red ginseng produced by this microwave treatment method, which they called KMxG, is effective against prostate, cervical and skin cancers, and has protective effects against drug-induced kidney damage. This technology has been transferred to Ponin Bio Co., Ltd. In 2020 for a technical fee of KRW 800 million and is currently being developed for commercialization.

Unlike normal cells, which die when separated from their original tissues, cancer cells can spread to other tissues where they invade and grow, in a process called metastasis. TGF-1, a cellular protein that acts as a signaling material in the body, stimulates lung cancer metastasis and promotes the development of stem cell-like properties in cancer cells. The KIST research team treated lung cancer cells with Rk1 and Rg5, the two main components of KMxG red ginseng and showed that both components effectively impeded the various processes related to TGF-1-induced carcinogenic metastasis.

Although components of red ginseng have previously been shown to kill cancer cells, this study has proven that these components of red ginseng have other anti-cancer effects and can prevent lung cancer metastasis. This provides scientific evidence that may lead to the future development of anti-cancer drugs derived from natural products, ”noted Dr. Hamm.“ Since we can control the contents of the active ingredients of red ginseng using microwave treatment methods such as those that have produced KMxG, it may be possible to develop Functional materials intended for various diseases. “


This study was conducted as part of a major program at KIST with financial support from the Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technology (MSIT) and also with support from the Basic Technology Development for Nanoconvergence funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). The results of the study have been published in a recent issue of ‘The Journal of Ginseng ResearchInternational Journal of Ginseng Research.

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