Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cassava Linamarin For Cancer Treatment

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 (Bernama) -- A natural cyanide-generating system used by the cassava plant against predators could be harnessed to provide treatment for cancer, according to a finding by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
Four researchers led by Dr Norhafizah Abdullah from the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, said laboratory research had proven that the cassava plant which contained potentially toxic levels of a cyanogen called linamarin could lead to self-destruction of cancer cells.
"The in-vitro cytotoxicity assays showed linamarin extracted from the cassava plant inhibited growth and killed various cancer cells in ovarian cancer, leukaemia and breast cancer," she said.
Dr Norhafizah was speaking to reporters after a press conference to announce UPM's winning products at the Invention and New Products Exposition 2006, held recently at the Monroeville ExpoMart, Pittsburgh, United States.
She said, linamarin had yet to be tested on either animal or human being but she anticipated a bright future as an alternative treatment for cancer.
"The team is currently scrutinising the cyanogen and working on how to ensure that only the correct amount of linamarin is released in the human system to avoid any side effects," she said, adding that a high cyanide content could be regarded as toxic.
Currently, she said, the team had selected the biodegradable PLGA nanoparticles as the carrier due to their easy dissolution in the system without exerting any side effects to the body.
Nanoparticles are used to deliver drugs, formulated for targeted delivery to the lymphatic system, arterial walls or spleen for long-term systemic circulation.
"Another important aspect of the substance is that it could be used to treat various cancers compared to readily available products involving specific treatment for specific cancer.
'The Isolation and Encapsulation of Cassava Linamarin in Biodegradable Nanoparticles for Cancer Cells Targeting' is one of UPM's latest research that won the Gold Medal Award at the INPEX 2006 under the Biology-Related Products category.
Another of UPM's outstanding product was the Enhanced Micro Mobility Test-Bed in Multicast Based Mobile Ipv6 Wireless Network that bagged five prestigious awards, including Special Award for Best Invention from the Pacific Rim.
UPM vice-chancellor Prof Dr Nik Mustafa Raja Abdullah earlier told the media that the achievements were testimony that Malaysia had produced world-class researchers.

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