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Natural therapies for cancer validated

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Cancer is becoming more common these days. Unfortunately, scientists are yet to come up with a cure. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) insists that early detection and prevention is key.

A report published in the journal Breast Cancer Research has found that with a few lifestyle adjustments, men and women could reduce their cancer risk by about 30 per cent.

Researchers have identified four critical risk-and-prevention research gaps that must be addressed if the predicted rise in cancer cases over the next decade is to be reversed. These include: weight control, physical activity, and alcohol consumption.

Foods and herbs for cancer
Also, a study on anti-cancer and free radical scavenging activity of some Nigerian food plants shows that regular intake of local spices and vegetables such as bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), Gongronema latifolium (utazi in Ibo, arokeke in Yoruba), West African Black Pepper or Ashanti pepper (Piper guineense, uziza in Igbo and ata iyere in Yoruba), sesame (Sesamum indicum), and Cowhage also called Velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens, agbala or agbaloko in Ibo and werepe in Yoruba) could provide the elusive cure for cancers.

The study was published in February 25, 2015 edition of the International Journal of Cancer Research.

Nigerian researchers have also identified foodstuffs with prostate cancer chemo-preventive polyphenols. The study was published in Infectious Agent Cancer.

The study noted: “Dietary polyphenols are antioxidants that can scavenge biological free radicals, and chemo-prevent diseases with biological oxidation as their main etiological factor. In this paper, we review our laboratory data vis-a-vis available literature on prostate cancer chemo-preventive substances in Nigerian foodstuffs. Dacryodes edulis fruit (local pear), Moringa oleifera and Syzygium aromaticum (cloves) contained prostate active polyphenols like ellagic acid, gallate, methylgallate, catechol, kaempferol quercetin and their derivatives.

“…In addition, tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) which contains the powerful antioxidant and anti-prostate cancer agent, lycopene; cabbage (Brassica oleracea) containing indole-3-carbinol; citrus fruits containing pectin; Soursop (Annona muricata) containing annonaceous acetogenins; soya beans (Glycine max) containing isoflavones; chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum) containing capsaicin, and green tea (Camellia sinensis) containing (-) epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), (-) epicatechin, (-) epicatechin-3-gallate and (-) epigallocatechin -3-gallate which are widely reported to posses prostate cancer chemo-preventive compounds are also grown in Nigeria and other African countries.”

Also, bioactive flavonoids isolated successfully from Touch Me Not (Mimosa pudica), Aloe vera and stonebreaker (Phyllanthus niruri) may provide the much sought after cure for breast cancer.

India researchers from Kannur University, Kerala, India, in a study published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences found that flavonoids isolated from Aloe vera, Mimosa pudica and Phyllanthus niruri showed cytotoxicity activity against human breast carcinoma cell line (MCF-7) and the inhibitory concentration at 50 per cent growth (IC50) was found to be, Mimosa pudica, Aloe vera and Phyllanthus niruri.

Also, a composition of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), containing extracts of fruits, leaves, or stems, or fractions thereof as active ingredients has received patent for preventing or treating cancer.

Researchers have also shown the efficacy scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) in stopping prostate cancer. The study, titled “Fractionated Ocimum gratissimum Leaf Extract Inhibit Prostate Cancer (PC3·AR) Cells Growth by Reducing Androgen Receptor and Survivin Levels,” was published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

Meanwhile, a review of dietary patterns and breast cancer performed by Albuquerque and colleagues, concluded that a Mediterranean dietary pattern – and diets composed largely of vegetables, fruit, fish, and soy – are associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.

Commonly called stonebreaker, Phyllanthus niruri also known as Chanca piedra belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. Phyllanthus niruri is similar to Phyllanthus amarus, which also belongs to the same family. It is a widespread tropical plant commonly found in coastal areas that grows 40 to 70 centimetres tall.

In Nigeria, it is called enyikwonwa and ngwu in the Ibo, oyomokeso amanke edem in Efik, geeron-tsuntsaayee (bird’s millet) in Hausa, ehin olobe and yin-olobe in Yoruba.

Botanically called Artocarpus altilis, breadfruit is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family Moraceae.

The African breadfruit is botanically called Treculia africana. It is a tropical tree crop also belonging to the taxonomic family Moraceae. It is also called wild jackfruit or African-boxwood. In Nigeria, it is called ukwa in Ibo. It is afon in Yoruba; ize in Benin, Jekri and Sobo; izea in Ijaw; and ediang in Efik. The abstract of the Patent EP 2889038 A1 noted: “The present invention relates to a pharmaceutical composition for preventing and treating cancer which comprises the extracts of Artocarpus altilis fruits, leaves, or stems, or the fractions thereof as active ingredients. The extracts of Artocarpus altilis fruits, leaves, or stems, or the fractions thereof, according to the present invention, suppress the activity of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT3) which plays an important role in the growth of a cancer cell line and in the immune function of the human body, and can thus be effectively used in the prevention and treatment of cancers such as colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, renal cancer, liver cancer, brain tumor, lung cancer, uterine cancer, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, or pancreatic cancer.”

The patent filled on July 26, 2013, was published on July 1, 2015.
The inventors are Byoung-Mog Kwon, Dong Cho Han, Joongku Lee, Yoon-jeong JEON, and Sang Ho Choi while the applicant is the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology. The patent is the brain child of a novel research by a team of researchers from National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Abuja; Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Daejeon, South Korea; Centre for Biocomputing and Drug Development, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko; and the Institute for Advanced Medical Research and Training, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo State.

Weight control
A review of more than a thousand studies has found solid evidence that being overweight or obese increases the risk for at least 13 types of cancer. The study was conducted by a working group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Strong evidence was already available to link five cancers to being overweight or obese: adenocarcinoma of the esophagus; colorectal cancer; breast cancer in postmenopausal women; and uterine and kidney cancers.

This new review, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, links an additional eight cancers to excess fat: gastric cardia, a cancer of the part of the stomach closest to the esophagus; liver cancer; gallbladder cancer; pancreatic cancer; thyroid cancer; ovarian cancer; meningioma, a usually benign type of brain tumor; and multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

According to the chairman of the working group, Dr. Graham Colditz, a professor of medicine and surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, these 13 cancers together account for 42 percent of all new cancer diagnoses.

Obesity is associated with significant metabolic and hormone abnormalities, and with chronic inflammation, factors that may help explain its link to cancer.


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