This is a success story that has excited the entire medical community. It’s a story of scientists managing to eradicate cancerous tumors in animals by using a drug derived from seeds of a berry that grows wild in the north Queensland rainforests.
The experimental drug, named EBC-46, has been extracted from the berry of blushwood tree; a scarce plant found only in specific areas of the remote Atherton Tablelands.
During the experimentation stages it was discovered that a single injection of this drug directly into the affected melanoma models at the laboratory, as also in the cancers of the neck, head and colon in various animals, destroyed the long-standing tumors in more than 70% cases, definitely a higher figure than that’s been achieved so far.
As subsequently proclaimed by per the study’s lead author, Dr Glen Boyle , from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute “In the preclinical trials this drug was injected in our models and within a short span o a few minutes, we saw purpling in the area which looked like a bruise,” which definitely is a positive sign. He further added that in about 24 hours thereafter, the tumor area becomes black, and a couple of days after, we can see a scab. In around 1.5 week time, the scabs fall off, thus leaving clear skin with no sign tumor there. This certainly was a baffling speed that had completely surprised them.
Researchers now believe the drug may have succeeded in triggering a cellular response that opens up the tumors and cuts off its blood supply thus leading to a near miraculous cure.
Boyle further explained that this was why they saw see a bruise type of situation formation in the tumor affected areas. He added that it seemed to lead to activation of our body’s immune system which takes on and thereafter cleans up the mess.
It has also been tried out by veterinarians in almost 300 cases of cancer of companion animals like dogs, horses and cats. There was however no evidence that EBC-46 may be effective in treatment of cancers that spreads to other body parts i.e. the metastatic cancers.
The drug is now being developed as human and veterinary pharmaceutical by QBiotics, a subsidiary company of EcoBiotics the one that discovered this drug. This company is also studying the possibilities of blushwood plantation.
As per Dr Boyle the ethical approval has recently been granted for phase – 1 clinical trials on human. However, even if these proved to be successful, it was unlikely the drug will be replacing the conventional chemo-therapy treatment in near future.
As per him chemotherapy will continue to be still used because it is effective for many people. But EBC-46 will most likely be used for people, for whom, due to any reason, chemotherapy doesn’t work, or maybe for elderly patients who are frail and their body cannot undergo more rounds of chemotherapy.
The preclinical trials were funded by the QIMR Berghofer as well as the National Health and Medical Research Council. The results have been published in their journal PLOS One.