All types of cancer are considered deadly diseases which are still incurable despite decades of research and billions of dollars in investments.
Now, a Nigerian scientist, Mansurah Abdulazeez, has carried out visionary research which focuses on identifying anti-cancer agents in Nigerian plants which can help in the fight against cancer.
Mansurah, who is a molecular biologist at the Center for Biotechnology Research, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria, has already been awarded Spain’s Science by Women Fellowship. In addition, her research has also won her Nigerian National Research Grant of US $86,000 from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
She has studied anti-cancer mechanisms exhibited by different plants.
We have screened and confirmed the cytotoxic activities of extracts of the drumstick (Moringa oleifera) and soursop (Annona muricata) trees as well as the native Nigerian shrub Peristrophe bicalyculata on cervical carcinoma and fetal lung carcinoma cell lines.
Mansurah believes that African plants have a huge yet ‘largely unstudied’ potential. Local herbs like Guiera Senegalensis, which is used by traditional African healers, can produce very potent anti-cancer drugs.
In my view, this demonstrates how the study of African plants can result in the development of valuable drugs.
In an interview with a journal, she advises young women to “remain focused, tenacious and hard-working” and stay up-to-date with “cutting-edge research tools, methodologies and funding opportunities”.