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Of ghosts and cancer tales

india Updated: Jun 03, 2010 13:28 IST
Anuraag Singh
Anuraag Singh
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

You might have heard about ghosts residing on thorny Babool tree, which grows wildly in waterless regions. How about the ghost residing tree keeping at bay the ghost of cancer?

A research at Institute of Agricultural Sciences, BHU has established that the Indian Babool can prevent cancer.

Research by Brahma N Singh under supervision of Prof HB Singh (professor at Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Mycology) at BHU, has for the first time revealed the strong anti-cancerous properties inherent in the Babool tree, in form of six Polyphenolic compounds found in Babool Tree.

The research whose findings have recently been published in a premier online US journal Herbication, establishes that Indian Babool (particularly the Green Pods which the thorny tree bears during May and June) have potent anti-cancerous properties which can be used to develop cancer prevention drugs, designer foods and nutraceutical and biopharmaceutical that can prevent cancer.

Talking to HT on Monday, the young researcher Brahma N Singh said lab trials for six weeks on mice (with induced liver cancer) has established the anti-cancerous properties of Babool, particularly Indian Babool, which has more anti-oxidant phenolic compound than Australian or American variant of the same tree.

Said Singh, "mice induced with liver cancer were administered single dose of crude extracts of Babool (green pod) daily for a period of six weeks. Results were astounding after six weeks, as the administration of Babool extracts were found to have made negligible the level of cancer causing Oxidative Stress."

"Besides the anti-oxidant/anti-cancerous properties of crude extract also reduced to a negligible level the tumour development, besides streamlining endogenous anti-oxidant system of the body, which helped further in tumour suppression/cancer preventive activity," Singh maintained.

Botanically known as Acacia nilotica, the Indian Babool's crude extract when administered to mice also decreased cholesterol level in the body, besides enhancing Red Blood and White Blood Cells in the body, which further widens it's medicative properties in cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative disorders, including Diabetes and Arthritis.

Added Prof HB Singh, the supervisor of the young researcher, "it's a path-breaking revelation in cancer studies, as our research directly for the first time has established link between Babool's phenolic compounds and cancer prevention.

The young researcher who has now been invited to work with anti-cancer scientists at Dept of Biomedical Sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine (Georgia) and Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mayo Clinic (Rochester), both in US, will now embark on research about role of Babool in cancer therapy at various stages of the fatal disease.

Said Singh, the Indian Babool has six phenolic compounds with strong anti-oxidant properties, helping in prevention and therapy of various oxidative stress (OS) related disease, like cancer.

OS is a biochemical condition that occurs when intracellular antioxidants are unable to neutralize pro-oxidants like Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which damage life important membrane, DNA, lipids, proteins and carbohydrates, eventually causing cell injury and death and accelerating development of ageing related chronic diseases, like heart ailments and cancer.

"Our study which has shown that naturally existing phenolic compounds in Babool, could play a crucial role in preventing cancer, the research findings have also created scope for Babool being used for developing possible food additive and biopharmaceutical, which can keep cancer at bay," the young researcher maintained.

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