Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has recorded a breakthrough as some tested potions prove a potential cure for some type of cancer.

Officials at the Institute has since 2009 been working closely with local herbal practitioners under a special project in search of cancer drugs.

The anti-cancer drug, Taxol and Athimixillin used in the treatment of malaria, were all derived from plants.

Scientists and local herbalists are on a programmes spearheaded by Noguchi Institute on a cancer drug discovery mission.

Researchers have identified and conducted trials with a number of plants believed to contain compounds needed for cancer drugs.

Professor Regina Appiah-Opong

Head of Clinical Pathology Department at the University of Ghana and Toxicologist at the Noguchi Memorial Institute, Professor Regina Appiah-Opong revealed this to JoyNews.

“We have started off with drug discovery; we have been working over the past few years trying to find drugs or plants with the potential to treat cancer. And so we have breast cancer, not only breast cancer but other cancers including breast cancer.

Indeed, we have worked on a couple of plants that have shown interesting activities and we are still working on them and the idea is to come out with some compounds that can be developed further into drugs that would be useful on the market for treating breast cancer,” she revealed.

According to her, some trials conducted on the compounds derived from plants have proved effective.

“We have worked on it, tested it with in vitro and tested it even on human Ghanaian breast cancer tissues. It is effective,” she said.

The breakthrough comes as the institute, established in 1979 as a semi-autonomous institution of the University of Ghana is marking its 40th anniversary. It has been the leading biomedical research facility in Ghana.

Despite the progress made, officials feared funding constraints could delay the project.

Professor Appiah-Opong said this is critical, especially, as the Institute would be required to work with external collaborators in areas of capacity limitation.

“Drug discovery can take a while. It can take 10-years; it can take 20-years but it can take just about 10-years or even less depend on efforts and the funds that are available.

“Cancer is a critical condition so if you have something that is effective and you have stakeholders, people who are interested in supporting this work, then life gets much easier,” she said.

AngloGold Ashanti Support

Meanwhile, female employees of AngloGold Ashanti have reached out to the project partners with a donation of ¢27,277 to support the initiative.

It forms part of female employees’ contribution to support efforts of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research to find a permanent but efficacious local cancer drug.

Human Resource Superintendent at AngloGold Ashanti, Hilda Arhin, presented a cheque for the amount to officials of Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research at a short ceremony in Obuasi.

According to her, the gesture form part of the corporate responsibility program of the mining giant to reach out to the institute in its effort to find possible treatment locally to cancer patients, especially women suffering from breast cancer.