You have it in your lunch every other day,
but did you ever realize how effective sojne
danta (drumsticks, as they are popularly known as) could be in curing
life-threatening diseases? If not, a team of city researchers has a surprise
for you. They have found that sojne danta
(Moringa oleifera) has the potential
to cure breast and ovarian cancer. There are certain compounds in it that can
inhibit cancer cells and cause their 'programmed death', the researchers have
Started in 2012, the research is being
jointly conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute (NCRI).
"We were experimenting with various
plants when we came across the moringa root. It had these two interesting
compounds - glucosinolate and bengyl-isothiosyonate - that can kill breast
cancer cell lines. It works under a mechanism that is called apoptosis. It
results in programmed cell death and is effective in case of ovarian cancer as
well," said clinical scientist Chinmay Bose, who is leading the research.
Both ovarian and breast cancer are caused by the hyper-functioning of estrogen
hormone. The moringa compounds have been found to inhibit estrogen
avenue of research
The next step for researchers will be to
identify the cell lines that are being blocked by the compounds. Cancer cells
will have to be cultured for that. "It has to be done in a particular
laboratory environment that we don't have yet. We will have to import certain
instruments from other cities and develop the laboratory. We are working
towards that and we expect to start rolling by the middle of this year. It
won't be easy but we are confident of success," said Bose.
Once the rest of the compounds are
identified, the scientists will prepare for phase I clinical trial.
The state has around 21,000 ovarian cancer
patients, 60% of whom turn drug resistant in two years. Of 48,000 breast cancer
patients in the state, 30% are resistant to drugs. Around 20% of breast and
ovarian cancer patients die every year.