Queensland scientists believe they have made a major breakthrough in the search for a cure for cancer.
And the secret might be in the seeds of a rainforest plant.
Laura Dixon reports.
These seeds may be the answer to curing some cancers.
They come from the Blushwood tree, found exclusively in Queensland rainforests.
Eight years of experimenting and pre-clinical trials with a drug produced from the seeds has revealed a seventy-five per cent success rate in curing solid cancer tumours.
The drug is called EBC-46 and it’s a purified form of a compound extracted from the seeds.
So far, it’s only been effective in surface tumours like melanoma and head and neck cancers.
But scientists say there’s no knowing where the future will lead.
Glen Boyle, QIMR: “The compound works in three ways essentially, it kills the cancer cells directly, it cuts off the blood supply and it also activates the bodies own immune system to clean up the mess that’s left behind.”
The drug is injected directly into the tumour which then turns black and falls off, leaving behind a fresh layer of new, healthy skin.
So far the drug has undergone clinical testing in over 300 animals and independent tumours.
Astonishingly just five minutes after being injected the cancer cells begin to die.
Dr Boyle says the drug is unlikely to replace other cancer treatments like chemotherapy and surgery.
It’ll be most helpful, he says, to patients like the elderly, who aren’t able to undergo those options.
The drug has been granted approval for the first stages of clinical testing on humans but a start date is yet to be set.
Laura Dixon, QUT News.