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Award-winning study demonstrates malunggay’s potential anticancer property

DLSU students' study found anticancer property in malunggay.

Malunggay (Moringa oleifera) can destroy colorectal cancer cells while remaining safe and non-toxic on healthy human cells, according to a study done by researchers at the De La Salle University (DLSU).


The ability of malunggay extract to destroy colorectal cancer cells was attributed to a bioactive compound called isothiocyanates. The compound has been reported to induce cell death in some human cancer cell lines.


With regards to safety, cell viability assay, a procedure used to test whether cells can withstand doses of medicinal compounds, found that malunggay extracts are not toxic to normal human cells. Further test comparing it with colchinine, a common anticancer drug, revealed that malunggay extract is less toxic than the drug.


Since drug toxicity is a major concern in cancer treatment, researchers said that malunggay’s safety is a promising find in the search for effective and safe drug against cancer.


Researchers noted that their study could provide the foundation for further investigation of malunggay’s potential for cancer treatment. They said, “This study will provide solid scientific basis for at least one of the most important medicinal benefits that could be attributed to the plant - its anticancer property.”


The study won the recently concluded Poster Exhibit Contest during the 8th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week celebration in Cebu City on 12-14 August 2014.