Earlier in the year there was a flurry of headlines about the ‘cancer-curing’ berries of the blushwood tree; Scientists at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Queensland used extracts from the seeds to make an experimental drug that eliminated cancerous tumours in animal testing.
There are many ways to remove a tumour but none that target cancerous tissue and leave the rest of the body unharmed or stop metastatic cases. News outlets would rather leap on a headline about a miracle cancer-curing drug than promote education and information about the complications in stopping cancer and importance of diagnosing it early, and researchers will encourage any exaggeration that increases their funding.
Cancers have many different causes and require different treatments accordingly. When we do eventually ‘cure’ cancer it will be through a slow and gradual process of countering each individual cause and type of tumour.
What is exciting about this news is the promise of what nature can offer modern medicine as we continue to invest in biomedicine. In a time where we look to nanotechnology and genetic manipulation to cure diseases and fight ageing it’s amazing to see a plant provide solutions, and sobering to think how much potentially beneficial flora has been lost to us.
With corporations making billions from the destruction of the rainforest this latest discovery begs the question: what could be gained by the cultivation, instead of the exploitation, of our rainforests? How could humankind benefit from the restoration of providential habitats, rather than their destruction? Nature will continue to provide solutions to human problems and hopefully profit will succeed, where ethics have failed, to teach the rich and powerful respect for natural resources and our environment.
For information on cancer and self-diagnosis visit http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-symptoms
Angus is a writer and a chef from North London, you can follow what he is doing here on Facebook
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