Scientists in Queensland, Australia have created a new cancer drug from the fruit of the blushwood tree, an indigenous shrub that grows only in Queensland’s fertile rain forest area. The drug is being called EBC-46, and according to a study published in the journal PLOS One, it has been used successfully to destroy cancer tumors in the laboratory, as well as on animals.
Dr. Glen Boyle, the study’s lead author, describes the drug’s action, saying, “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 cancer tumor 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 cancer tumor there. The speed certainly surprised me.” The researchers think that the drug cuts off the cancer tumors’ blood supply and activates the immune system.
The drug is evoking excitement in cancer research circles, though it will likely be used to treat veterinary cancers in companion animals more than anything else. It has already been utilized to treat approximately 300 dogs, cats and horses. It is not effective for the treatment of cancers that have metastasized, though it might eventually be used for local tumors in humans who cannot tolerate chemotherapy treatment Approvals have been granted for phase 1 human clinical trials.
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