Kuala Lumpur: Scientists in Malaysia
have claimed to have isolated a natural compound from a local
plant which could prevent and treat the dreaded cervical
cancer in women.
A team of researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia
has discovered a natural compound, isolated from a local
herbal plant named "lempoyang" which it claims can prevent and
treat cervical cancer.
Lempoyang is a flowering plant from the ginger family
which is commonly found in Peninsular Malaysia.
The compound is the first reported and documented
finding that substantiated the ability of a natural compound
of local plant origin to eliminate cancer cells of the cervix.
It has safer anti-cancer properties as it specifically
targets cancer cells and does not cause damage to normal cell
tissues even at high dosages, unlike most synthetic
anti-cancer drugs which are highly toxic, local media reports
BioMedical Sciences Department lecturer and research
associate Dr Ahmad Bustamam Abdul, who led the team, said,
"Our preliminary pre-clinical studies have shown that this
natural compound is able to inhibit the progression of
cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) stage III in animal
disease model studies."
The compound had similar efficacy to commercial
anti-cancer drugs used frequently to treat cervical cancer but
delivering lesser toxicity in normal human cells, he said.
"Our data also showed that laboratory rats could
withstand high dosages of the compound without any damage to
normal tissues," he said.
The compound, which can be commercialised in the form
of feminine douches and suppositories, does not have any known
side effects, he said.
He said the commercialisation of the technology would
definitely reduce the cost of importing therapeutic drugs and
treating cervical cancer patients as the compound could be
used as an adjuvant to current chemotherapy.
A patent has been filed in respect of the technology
in the use of plant metabolite as an anti-cancer alternative.
Cervical cancer is abnormal cell growth in the cervix
which is primarily caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).