Artemisinin is one of the active molecules extracted from the sweet wormwood plant (Artemisiae annuae). Artesunate is a semi-synthetic derivative of Artemisinin. Both Artemisinin and Artesunate are used around the world as an effective treatment for malaria. There has been accumulating evidence over the past few decades that both Artemisinin and Artesunate may have anti-cancer activity and benefit patients with cancer as an adjunctive therapy.
How Artesunate works has been well established. Iron is a mineral that is required for cellular division. Cancer cells divide at a rapid pace and therefore accumulate iron. Artesunate reacts with the high level of iron in cancer cells to create a reactive molecule that causes cancer cell death. Artesunate has shown promising results in patients diagnosed with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, hematologic cancers, colon cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer and other cancers.