An eight-year study by a medical research institute has found that a compound in blushwood berries that kills cancer cells in skin melanomas.
Not only is the compound highly effective with no side effects, but scientists were amazed at how fast the compounds started working. The fruit compound started working in five minutes, making the cancerous melanoma and neck tumors disappear in a matter of days.
The compound was 75% successful in fighting skin cancer on dogs cats and horses. The research led by Dr Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer medical research institute in Brisbane, is highly promising and could be a potential cure for fighting several surface cancers.
Blushwood berries come from the Blushwood tree, which has very specific growing requirements and has only been found to grow in pockets of Far North Queensland in the Australian Rainforest. It grows nowhere else.
Blushwood tree with berries
The cancer-fighting compound is extracted from the berry’s seed through a complicated purification process. Why the compound is found in the berry and how it works is still unknown.
Tests of the EBC-46 drug (derived from the berry) were run by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. All animals treated in the study were considered by veterinary practitioners to have untreatable disease using current standards of care. Many of the animals treated were within weeks of being euthanized.
“The surprising thing for us and the thing that we don’t see very often is the speed with which this occurs, Dr. Boyle explained. “Usually when you treat a tumor it takes several weeks for it to resolve, but this is very, very rapid. There’s a purpling of the area, of the tumor itself, and you see that within five minutes and you come back the next day and the tumor’s black and you come back a few days later and the tumor’s fallen off.”
Oscar the dog pre-treatment (L) and 15 days after treatment (R). Photo credit: QIMR Berghofer Medical Institute
The results are remarkable but Dr. Boyle cautions that the drug could only be used for tumors that can be accessed by direct injection and was not effective against metastatic cancers. However, it is a promising future cancer treatment to work alongside chemotherapy and surgery.
“Elderly patients for example who just can’t go through another round of chemo or can’t go through another general anaesthetic for example, this could be used to treat those sorts of tumours and hopefully improve quality of life for people,” he said.
Clinical trials on humans will hopefully begin soon. It’s amazing what cures we can find in nature! It makes you wonder what other potential cures for disease may still be in nature to discover!
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