UAE anti-cancer find

Scientists in Al Ain have discovered a plant extract that could prevent cancer

Scientists in Al Ain are celebrating the results of a five-year study into cancer prevention.

The group have found a new mechanism to extract anti-cancer agents from the clove plant, and say the finding could lead to the development of new drugs in the fight against the deadly disease. The agent found in the clove extract is capable of killing cancer cells in the human body.

The plant extract has also shown many other therapeutic qualities during a study conducted by a five-member team of researchers at the UAE University (UAEU).

The team yesterday presented its findings at the 10th Annual Research Conference of UAEU.

"Here we report for the first time the proliferation-inhibiting and apoptosis-inducing [causing programmed cell death] effects of the effective compounds in the clove on several cancerous cell lines," they said.

The team said understanding the mechanisms through which the purified compounds in the clove extract induce apoptosis of cancer cells will be of great interest.

The clove extract was tested to varying effects on four cancer cell lines such as human cervical carcinoma, T-cell lymphoma, human leukaemia and human neuroblastoma.

Clove has proven antiseptic and antibiotic properties. It is traditionally used as a herbal remedy in many Asian and Arab countries to treat toothache and as an ingredient in toothpastes and mouthwash. It is also used as a spice.

"We have prepared extracts from the clove plant& the clove extract can have cytotoxic [killing] effects on cancer cells," said the researchers in the presentation.

A researcher said: "More recently, we have studied the cytotoxic effects of the individual compounds within the clove extract on cancer cells. Understanding the mechanisms through which these purified compounds induce apoptosis of cancer cells will be of great interest and could lead to the development of new drugs in the fight against cancer."

Cancer is among the leading causes of death in the world with about 20,000 deaths per day in 2007. After lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women, colorectal cancer is the second cause of cancer related death. It is also a leading cause of death in the UAE.

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