Nature is the biggest source of inspiration for all of humanity’s greatest achievements.
So it’s not surprising that researchers have been finding more medical applications for healing foods like fruits, spices, and herbs.
In a recent study, Australian researchers found that a drug derived from fruits of the blushwood tree (fontainea picrosperma) kills cancerous tumors long-term in 70% of animal cases. The drug is administered as a single injection directly into the site of the tumor.
Blushwood: A Cancer Cure?
The berry of the blushwood tree, which is only found in Atherton Tablelands of North Queensland, produces an enzyme called EBC-46. This enzyme works against head, neck and colon cancer, as well as melanoma.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, explains: “In preclinical trials we injected it into our models and within five minutes, you see a purpling of the area that looks like a bruise.”
“About 24 hours later, the tumour area goes black, a couple of days later you see a scab, and at around the 1.5 week mark, the scab falls off, leaving clean skin with no tumour there. The speed certainly surprised me.”
Researchers hypothesize that the drug cuts off blood supply to the tumor by triggering a cellular response and activating the immune system.
“That’s why we see a bruise-like situation forming in the tumour,” Boyle said. “This seems to lead to an activation of the body’s own immune system which then comes in and cleans up the mess.”
So far, the drug has been used in 300 cases of animal cancers in pets, including dogs, cats, and horses.
Phase 1 human clinical trials are currently underway, although there is no evidence yet that the enzyme works on metastasized cancers. So far, the 14 human patients that have been treated with the drug have experienced all its benefits with no side-effects.
Still, Q-Biotics, a subsidiary of the company that produced the drug is looking into establishing a blushwood plantation. They also believe that the drug may one day offer an alternative to chemotherapy.
“It’s a small molecule which works with the body to destroy cancer, rather than being a chemotherapy approach which can act against the body,” Dr. Victoria Gordon, CEO of Q-Biotics, told TODAY.
“We get full tumour destruction in five to seven days, great healing… and no significant side effects”.
And Dr. Gordon should know, her 18-year-old dog affected by oral melanoma responded well to the treatment. “We injected the drug (EBC-46) and it just seemed to liquefy [the tumor],” she said.