Australian rainforests may provide potential cancer cure
Published on June 14, 2010 at 3:58 AM
Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Queensland scientists have discovered a drug to cure cancer that has effectively worked in animals and is to be tried on humans in the next phase of trials. This drug is plant-derived and is called EBC-46 for trial purposes. The plant from which it is obtained is found in the Australian tropical rainforest. The drug has shown to reduce inoperable tumors in 150 dogs, cats and horses and a ferret to a significant extent. The drug was developed over the past six years from the seed of a rainforest plant found in the Atherton Tablelands. Scientists had cultivated their own plantation of the plant since forming the company QBiotics Limited in 2004.
The research into the drug has received almost $565,000 from the State Government innovation funding and federal funding. QBiotics chief executive Dr Victoria Gordon is out looking for investors to sponsor fast-track human clinical trials of the drug. She said that the drug has the potential to be effective in treating skin, head, neck, breast and prostate cancer in humans. Dr Gordon said $10 million was needed to fund human trials, which would be run in Australia. She revealed that the drug is already raising hopes of many and many residents of the Gold Coast are purchasing shares of the company and have already helped raise $5 million in just two weeks. She also said that many of these investors have a “personal” reason to support this drug. Many of them are “mainly mums or dads, or angel investors” she said.
She pointed out that EBC-46 would be the first drug discovered from Australia's unique rainforests to enter human clinical trials. She said in a statement, “Many pet owners involved in veterinary trials of EBC-46 have ... literally watched the deadly tumors on their pets disintegrate within five to seven days of being treated…It is absolutely amazing to see this drug in action. The tumors almost shrink before your eyes…We have had outstanding results in the veterinary stage and it looks promising for humans.” She explained that the drug could be used as an injection into a solid tumor or applied as a gel over skin cancer. “It is a one-off treatment to rapidly knock down the tumor…Unlike other treatments like chemotherapy; the drug ... stimulates the body to destroy the tumor, so we don't see the negative side effects.”
Dr. Gordon hoped that EBC-46 would be available for veterinary markets in Australia and New Zealand next year. Thereafter initial trials on very small number of healthy adult humans would commence. Trials on actual cancer patients would start a year after that. It would take approximately six years for the drug to be available for treatment of cancer patients.
QBiotics Ltd. Plans to seek the approval from US Food and Drug Administration before they can collaborate with a pharmaceutical company to sponsor the $500 million venture for the human trials.