Herbs capable can manage cancer ― UI don

• Urges FG to invest more in scientific investigations of indigenous plants

A Professor of Genetics, Cellular and Molecular Toxicology, University of Ibadan, Professor Adekunle Bakare, has tasked the Federal Government to commit more funds to scientific investigations of herbs extracts, noting the herbs’ ability to manage cancer and other diseases that affect normal cell cycle functioning.

Contained in his inaugural lecture delivered at Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan, Bakare pointed to studies showing that herb extracts available in Nigeria had potentials to inhibit and reduce cell division in eukaryotic cells.

He noted that such investigations into the ability of indigenous plants should be directed towards patenting and use of herb extracts in drug formulations going by its ability to inhibit and reduce cell division.

Delivering the lecture titled, “Environmental Xenobiotics and Biological Spiral Staircase: For Good or For Ill?”, Bakare pointed out that findings had shown that herbs used in Nigeria possessed mitodepressive capacity and had agents with the capacity to disturb normal cell cycle activity.

“From our studies, we have constantly observed the inhibitory, turbagenic and mitodepressive effects of herb extracts available and used in Nigeria, that is, they have the potentials to inhibit and reduce cell division in eukaryotic cells.

“Could this have been part of the mechanism and mode of action of these herbs in traditional disease management in Nigeria. An agent’s ability to inhibit or reduce cell division simply means that such agent has the capacity to disturb the normal cell cycle regulation activity.

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“Considering our observations on herbs with mitodepressive capacity, I am of the opinion that government needs to invest more on scientific investigations of indigenous plants with this ability towards patenting and use in drug formulations and traditional management of cancer and any other disease that has its aetiology in cell-cycle dysregulation,” Bakare stated.

Noting that constant pollution of the Nigerian environment by contaminants and pollutants, Bakare also called for a change in Nigerian’s attitude towards waste disposal.

Constantly, he decried Nigerians’ exposure to mutagens, carcinogens from solid waste dumps on the streets, pollution of waters, red road dust, calling for a shift from indiscriminate waste disposal to sustainable waste management.
Sustainable waste management, according to Bakare, should include waste reduction, recovery recycling, reuse.

Furthermore, he urged government at all levels to encourage the construction of engineered landfills in properly designated sites.

“The Nigerian environment is compromised. The habitats are constantly under the influence of contaminants and pollutants from domestic, industrial, agricultural and commercial activities. Plants, animals and man are unlimitedly exposed to mutagens, carcinogens and teratogens at home and from solid waste dumps in and on the streets, oil pollution of our waters, combustion particulate matter from wood-burning cookstoves, auto exhaust, ubiquitous red road dust, indiscriminate use of drugs ageing buses, cars and trucks fueled by high-sulfur diesel and gasoline which clog the roadways and residents’ lungs.

“The attitude of Nigerians towards waste disposal should change. We need to shift from wastes disposal to sustainable waste management including wastes reduction, recovery, recycling, reuse and residual management. The government should encourage the construction of engineered landfills in properly designated sites in Nigeria.

“Furthermore, the government should promote public awareness discouraging the use of leachate for irrigation farming or livestock farming as our studies have shown that leachates from domestic and industrial solid wastes are hazardous. These would help to reduce human exposure to chemical contamination from waste dumps and thus reduce the chemical burden of the present and future generations.

“It is highly imperative that the federal ministry of education include in the primary and secondary school curriculum modules on environmental mutagens and carcinogens or briefly modules on issues that discuss the interaction of DNA with environmental xenobiotics.

“There is also an urgent need for environmental awareness on environmental mutagens and carcinogens in Nigeria, particularly those in our home environment,” Bakare said.

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