Camel urine may yield cure for cancer5th February 2013
Early stage research currently awaiting approval from the authorities in Saudi Arabia will test whether or not a substance found in camel urine could cure cancer.
Researchers from the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah are scheduled to present their initial findings at the 2nd Biotechnology World Congress in Dubai.
Their presentation has already attracted widespread media coverage throughout the Middle East.
Reports have surfaced in various media outlets making claims for the cancer-fighting potential of the substance since 2009, if not earlier.
The researchers need government approval before they can carry out further studies into the substance, which contains both macro and nano particles, as well as different metals.
The metals in the substance can apparently help target different kinds of cancer cells, but further tests are needed.
According to Gehan Ahmed, head of medical biophysics research at the university, the substance has the potential to be developed as a new smart drug based on the latest frontiers in nanotechnology.
The technology include nanoshells, a type of spherical nanoparticle, as the drug carrier, he said.
Meanwhile, lead investigator Faten Abdel-Rahman Khorshid, who heads the tissue culture unit at KAU, said the team had come up with a medicine from a natural product.
He said the safety and efficacy had been tested in test tubes and in animals. Phase I clinical trials had also been completed in healthy human volunteers.
A phase I trial on cancer patients also yielded some "promising results," according to Khorshid, but has yet to be published.
He said the team plans to publish the rest of the results in a full research paper in an international journal.
However, approval for further trials has not been forthcoming, and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority has so far declined to comment.
According to Michael Jewett, urology professor and bladder cancer specialist at the University of Toronto, the research looks impressive, but further evidence of its ability to cure cancer is needed.
He said the research now needed a high-level peer-reviewed scientific account of the evidence so far to move the field forward. However, others were more cautious.
Safia Danovi, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said it was too early to judge the significance of the work being done in Saudi.
Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, said it would be wise to wait not just for the first full results, but for the results of further studies verifying the treatment's safety and efficacy.
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Title: Camel urine may yield cure for cancer
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 23686
Date Added: 5th Feb 2013