Studying the anticancer potential of sand apple

A study by researchers from the University of Namibia showed that sand apple (Diospyros chamaethamnus) has anti-proliferative activity against cancer cells. This finding, which was published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, was based on the results of in vitro experiments involving different cancer cell lines.

  • Although cancer treatments like surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy are available, there are still many cases of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Moreover, current chemotherapy practices cause side effects like vomiting and hair loss, and have even led to the development of cancer cells that are resistant to treatment.
  • Medicinal plants are promising alternative treatments for cancer since they are rich in phytoconstituents that have pharmacological properties.
  • Sand apple, which is commonly found in Namibia, is traditionally used as a remedy for malaria and psychological problems. However, it has not been used for the treatment of cancer or its associated symptoms.
  • In this study, the researchers tested for the anticancer activity of sand apple extracts against different cancer cell lines, including melanoma (UACC62), renal (TK10), and breast (MCF7). After which, they proceeded to evaluate its toxicity against normal cells using human fetal lung fibroblast cells.
  • The results showed that sand apple prevented the growth of all cancer cell lines and that its aqueous extracts had no toxic effects. However, organic root extracts of sand apple exhibited cytotoxic activity.
  • Phytochemical analysis of sand apple root extracts revealed the presence of alkaloids, anthraquinones, flavonoids, and steroids.

From these results, the researchers concluded that sand apple has potential use in the development of plant-based cancer treatments due to its anti-proliferative properties.

The full text of the study is available at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Dushimemaria F, du Preez CI, Mumbengegwi DR. RANDOMIZED ANTICANCER AND CYTOTOXICITY ACTIVITIES OF GUIBOURTIA COLEOSPERMA AND DIOSPYROS CHAMAETHAMNUS. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines. 2017;14(4). DOI: 10.21010/ajtcam.v14i4.1

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