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  • Writer's pictureLeonora Lo-oy

Abra researcher, 4 others discover Narra bark potential to treat cancer

Abra, Philippines – A fourth year medical student from Ableg, Daguioman along with four other researchers discovered that Narra can be a potential source of anti-cancer drugs.

Kathlyn Sagmayao, in an interview, said that their team wanted to uncover a scientific evidence on a traditional belief of the Banao Tribe in Abra, that Narra bark can prevent tumors and cancer.

Their research found out that Narra has an antiangiogenic activity or it can control the growth of blood vessels, thus, it can be used as potential source to treat cancer. She said that cancer needs oxygen and nutrients in order to grow and spread in the body.

She added that this oxygen and nutrients are found in the blood, and that blood is carried by blood vessels. Therefore, with antiangiogenic or control of blood vessels growth, no blood vessels will go to the tumor resulting it to starve, shrink, and die.

“We recommend na further studies must be done for the identification and isolation of the specific bioactive compound that gives this property,” she said.

The research study which was entitled Antiangiogenic-Activity of Narra (Pterocarpus Indicus) Bark Extract in Chick Chorioallantoic Membrane (CAM) in Vivo ranked third in the recently concluded National Medical Student Research Competition of the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges Student Network (APMC-SN) this March 19-21.

Members of the research team include future doctors Khristine Andrea Rabago, Jonabie Tolentino, Kedzee Sibayan, and Anderson Ventura, under the guidance of Dr. Alma Segismundo as their adviser.

Methodology and findings

Sagmayao said that they used a method called Chorioallantoic membrane assay. She explained that they used an 8-day-old fertilized chicken eggs for the method, which is a widely used technique to elicit the antiangiogenic activity of a substance or the plant extract.

Moreover, for the results, they used Angioquant Software to qualify the blood vessels in the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), a part of the fertilized chicken eggs which serve as their respiratory organ. This part she said has a lot of blood vessels and they use this to represent the blood vessels in the human body.

“The results found out that Narra bark extracts significantly inhibit the growth of blood vessels in the chick CAM more than a 50% decrease when compared to our negative control and the standard reference of the untreated eggs. Also, the results of Narra bark is comparative to Retinol, our positive control, which is a potent Antiangiogenic agent,” she said.

In conclusion, she said that Narra has a promising antiangiogenic activity and it is a possible source of chemotherapeutic agents.

“However, further scientific investigations should be done to identify and isolate the bioactive compound found in the plant that is responsible for its antiangiogenic activity,” she added.

“Being a doctor is a childhood dream for me” - Sagmayao

Sagmayao who is a medical student at the University of Northern Philippines – College of Medicine said that she always wanted to be a doctor since she was little.

“Being a doctor is a childhood dream for me because we are from an indigenous people group, where we rarely see a doctor in our community. I wanted to help my kakailyan and katribus so I pursued my dream. Financially it is tight, but I'm grateful to DOH for choosing me as one of their scholars,” she said.

Meantime, the future doctor added that she will continue conducting researches in order to contribute to existing knowledge.

“[The] Result of our research has a potential in biomedical science and given the time in the future, we are going to continue what we have started,” she said.


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