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Neuroscience Research Blogs


Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Yes! The herb that to some, tastes like nothing. To others like myself, it tastes like soap. But in 2019, cilantro was found to have the potential to treat "soap" many individuals with epilepsy.

According to a study in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, cilantro has an organic compound called (E)-2-dodecenal that very effectively binds to voltage-gated potassium channels, specifically KCNQ channels, and opens the channels up to reduce cellular excitability. This can prevent seizures. For context, when KCNQ ion channels are aroused excessively and become dysfunctional, this can generate a seizure where too many synapses fire too frequently and/or at the same time.

Interestingly enough, there is archaeological evidence to suggest that cilantro was possibly accepted as a medicinal herb 800,000 years ago during the Homo erectus era of human evolution when humans first consumed modern herbs for non-food related purposes. Nowadays, cilantro is recognized for treating (to an extent) inflammation, fungal infections, bacterial infections, seizures, and promoting cardiac and gastric health.

This newly researched dodecenal compound is very promising to be harnessed in such a fashion that it is used to create a more effective anticonvulsant medication. The aforementioned study even suggests simply eating cilantro can boost KCNQ activity levels enough to explain how dodecenal works for a broad spectrum of illnesses and organ systems. Either way, more research is needed to figure out where to go from here! It's great to hear of a potential new source for treatment of a disorder that affects around 50 million people worldwide.


Manville, R.W. & Abbott, G. W. (2019). Cilantro leaf harbors a potent potassium channel-activating anticonvulsant. The FASEB Journal. Retrieved on March 31, 2023, from

Warde, A. (2019, July 29). Scientists Now Know How Cilantro Works Against Seizures. Futurity. Retrieved on March 31, 2023, from

  • Writer's pictureJordyl Gara

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

A promising treatment that has already surpassed expectations by making it to Phase II in human trials! If it continues to advance, it can save roughly 10,000 lives in the United States annually according to the National Brain Tumor Society.

For those of you that don't know, glioblastomas (the most common form of brain tumor) are a very aggressive type of malignant brain or spinal cord tumor that grow rapidly. They invade and destroy areas around the tumor as they push against structures. This is achieved because glioblastomas incredibly effectively inhibit T-cells in the immune system and cause a drop in the number of T-cells available to fight the glioblastoma. This makes the glioblastoma practically invisible to the human body's immune system which encourages the glioblastoma to continue growing. There is no known cure and the prognosis of someone receiving a glioblastoma diagnosis is 14 to 16 months. This all contributes to the glioblastoma's reputation for being one of the most deadly types of cancer. Fortunately, research centers have found a potentially lifesaving new treatment that could very well give years of life back to glioblastoma patients that they otherwise wouldn't receive without the treatment- and it involves polio of all things.

Duke University's Cancer Institute partnered with the National Cancer Institute began this study by genetically modifying a strand of poliovirus to only replicate in glioblastoma cells, and infusing the virus into a patient's glioblastoma using an implanted catheter in the brain. The immune system unlike for the glioblastoma, recognizes the presence of the weakened poliovirus, and produces antibodies to fight it off. This allows the poliovirus to essentially reveal the presence of the glioblastoma because the immune system thinks it is only fighting polio, but quickly notices the new glioblastoma threat. The immune system then generates more antibodies with the goal of attacking the glioblastoma and shrinking the tumor mass entirely.

After receiving clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Duke University began Phase I of the clinical trial for the poliovirus treatment. In a study of 61 patients with glioblastomas, they were given varying dosages of what amounted to a poliovirus "vaccine" being infused into their tumors. Results indicated the median survival rate for patients was 12.5 months while the control group in the study had a median survival rate of 11.3 months. Two years after treatment, the survival rate was 21% for patients with poliovirus treatment and 14% for patients in the control group without the treatment. Three years after treatment, the survival rate remained 21% for patients with the poliovirus treatment and this time 4% for the group without treatment. These results implied those that responded to the poliovirus treatment became long-term survivors. Annick Desjardins, a co-lead in the Duke study, speculated "The big question is, how can we make sure that everybody responds?" This prompted a modified study combining FDA approved cancer therapies with the poliovirus treatment.

This is where Phase II of the poliovirus treatment study came into play to strengthen the treatment's effectiveness. Duke University selected University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center as one of four testing centers to lead Phase II of the study. This time, Phase II would combine the poliovirus with the chemotherapy drug lomustine, a common treatment for brain tumors. It was found 69% of the patients reported their most severe side effects of the treatment to be mild to moderate symptoms associated with the poliovirus infusion. Now we need to wait to hear the results after 2 years of the newly modified treatment being utilized. While this occurs, new studies are applying the same poliovirus treatment idea to other cancers like breast cancer and skin melanomas. This more widespread experimentation of the poliovirus and possibly utilizing other viruses could imply better treatment for various cancer in the future.


DukeHealth. (June 27, 2018). Poliovirus Therapy for Recurrent Glioblastoma Has 3-Year Survival Rate of 21%. Retrieved on April 1, 2023, from

Mayo Clinic Staff. (January 10, 2023). Glioma. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on April 1, 2023, from

National Brain Tumor Society. (2023). About Glioblastoma. Retrieved on April 1, 2023, from

Pearson, J.R.D., Cuzzubbo, S., McArthur, S., Durrant, L.G., Adhikaree, J., Tinsley, C.J., Pockley, A.G., & McArdle, S.E.B. (October 15, 2020). Immune Escape in Glioblastoma Multiforme and the Adaptation of Immunotherapies for Treatment. Front Immunol. Retrieved on April 1, 2023, from

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