Indian researchers at Jadavpur University in Kolkata have discovered that the Indian medicinal plant Acanthus or Harkach Kanta can effectively combat liver cancer.
Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world and about three quarters of the cases of liver cancer are found in Southeast Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and India.
The study led by Prof. Malay Chatterjee from Jadavpur University was conducted in an in vivo tumour-transplanted murine model where they examined the primary chemopreventive mechanisms of Acanthus.
The findings revealed that aqueous leaf extract (ALE) of the plant could effectively prevent hepatic DNA alterations and chromosomal damage in the mice.
The study further established that ALE treatment was substantially effective in elongating the mean survival of animals to a large extent by restraining the liver metallothionein expression, a potential marker for cell proliferation.
They also found that the Acanthus could be used as a potential chemoprotector against abnormal proliferation of cells in the liver.
The researchers believe if these studies are found to be really functional, it can open up the possibility of cancer chemoprevention with the use of indigenous plants herbal plants.
Acanthus plant is widely found throughout the mangroves of India, including Sunderbans in West Bengal, west coasts, and the Andamans, and in other Asian countries like Singhal, Burma, China, Thailand etc.
The study appears in December 28, 2007 World Journal of Gastroenterology.