Cork Tree Bark to Fight Prostate Cancer


HOUSTON, Texas (Ivanhoe Newswire) — In the fight against aggressive prostate cancer, researchers are discovering that what’s old is new again. Cork tree bark, an herbal remedy that’s been around for centuries, is being studied as a way to shrink prostate tumors.

Cork tree bark has long been used in Asia to fight inflammation.

Pratap Kumar, PhD, professor of molecular medicine at the University of Texas Health in San Antonio explained to Ivanhoe, “People in China, they take this bark, they actually make a concoction out of this bark. And, that concoction they drink; it’s been going on for ages.”

(Read Full Interview)

Kumar and his colleagues decided to test cork tree bark extract, also called Nexrutine, to fight dangerous body inflammation, that often contributes to cancer development.

“When we think about inflammation, we think about systemic inflammation. In that, we see an increase in these pro-inflammatory cytokines which is known to trigger downstream effects which can be detrimental to the healthy body,” elaborated Darpan I. Patel, PhD also of the University of Texas Health in San Antonio.

(Read Full Interview)

Researchers used three animal groups and discovered that cork tree bark decreased tumors by 62 percent. While exercise worked at about 60 percent. What surprised them is that the cork extract was expected to attack inflammation in the body, but it also went after the tumor growth itself.

“Whereas, on the flip side, exercise did more of its impactful work through inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines, or tumor genic cytokines,” clarified Patel.

These two powerful cancer fighters: the cork extract and exercise, could hold the combined key to fighting aggressive tumors.

Professor Kumar illustrated, “If you combine those two, scientifically and logistically thinking, you get double the benefit.”

So, although both exercise and cork bark are equally good, researchers believe the extract alone, could be a natural replacement for those who can’t tolerate exercise.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, according to the American Cancer Society, and is a leading cause of death. Professors Kumar and Patel say human trials incorporating cork tree bark in tumor treatment should begin within the next year.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Donna Parker, Field Producer; Bruce Maniscalo, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

To receive a free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe, sign up at:






REPORT:       MB # 4751

BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate which is a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. It’s one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men in the U.S. About 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and nearly 191,000 men will be diagnosed this year. Prostate cancer grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm and may need minimal or even no treatment. Other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can spread quickly. Prostate cancer that’s detected early because it’s still confined to the prostate gland has a better chance of successful treatment. The cause of prostate cancer is not clear. Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when some cells in your prostate become abnormal. Mutations in the abnormal cells’ DNA cause the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells continue living, when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissue. Some abnormal cells can also break off and metastasize to other parts of the body.


TRADITIONAL TREATMENT: There are numerous treatment plans for prostate cancer and depending on the specific case they include surveillance or monitoring, surgery, radiation, cryotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or drugs to treat prostate cancer after it has spread to the bones. Some things to consider in making a treatment decision include the stage and grade of your cancer, your age and expected life span, any serious health conditions you have, your feelings and your doctor’s opinion about the need to treat the cancer right away, the likelihood that treatment will cure your cancer or help in some other way and your feelings about the possible side effects from each treatment.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Researchers from University of Texas Health San Antonio are the first to show that a natural supplement made from the bark of cork trees (Nexrutine) is as effective as exercise in preventing the progression of aggressive prostate cancer.  Darpan Patel, Ph.D., associate professor of research in the School of Nursing led the study where 45 mice were divided into three groups. One group received food pellets supplemented with the cork tree extract, Nexrutine. The second group received free access to a running wheel. The third was the control group, which received no treatment. The results showed that the group receiving the cork tree extract had 62% less tumor growth, while the exercise group had 60% less tumor growth, compared to the control group. “It appears that both Nexrutine and exercise work equally well but use different pathways, said Patel. He said that more research will be needed to better understand the separate mechanisms and how they work. Pratap Kumar, Ph.D., professor in the UT Health San Antonio Department of Molecular Medicine who worked on the study said,  “Perhaps a combination treatment could be developed in the future that would attack the cancer on several fronts. There are limited risks to taking this dietary supplement.”

(Sources: Pratap Kumar, PhD, Professor of Molecular Medicine, UT Health San Antonio





If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Darpan I. Patel, PhD, Associate Professor of Research in the School of Nursing - Pratap Kumar, PhD, Professor of Molecular Medicine

Read the entire Q&A