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'Cancer drug from Jamaican plant overhyped' – urologists

Treatment developed from Ball Moss by local scientist

Jamaica Observer

Wednesday, December 08, 2010 | 1:12 PM    

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THE Jamaica Urological Society is urging caution over the prostate cancer drug currently being developed from the local Ball Moss plant by scientist Dr Henry Lowe.

Dr Lowe and his research partners say they have found powerful anti-cancer properties in the Ball Moss, also known as Old Man's Beard and which grows wild or on electricity wires.

Lowe’s research partner, Dr Joseph Bryant, today defended their work, stating that that although their findings remain unpublished in scientific literature, they have been publicly presented, internationally patented and examined by experts in the field.

With prostate cancer the common cancer and leading cause of cancer death among men in Jamaica, the JUS said that it welcomed new drugs and treatments but that it needed a chance to "examine the scientific data in support of this particular claim."

"The general public should also be aware that the product’s characterisation as a nutraceutical means that the level of scrutiny it will receive from such regulatory agencies as the Food and Drug Administration, in the United States, is much less than would be the case for a product classified as a pharmaceutical agent. The JUS would, therefore, caution members of the public and in particular men suffering from the disease to use the available scientific evidence to inform their opinions and expectations," said a statement from the JUS today.

The JUS said that it keenly awaited the publication of data on preliminary investigations such as in-vitro (laboratory) tests, animal tests and some initial assessments of its safety in human beings.

"Further, it is well established that prostate cancer can be cured in its early stages and may also be well controlled even in advanced, incurable stages. It is important, therefore, that prostate cancer sufferers not abandon established standard therapies until more information regarding emerging treatments is available," said the JUS.

The Jamaica Urological Society is the local association of Urologists who are surgical specialists concerned with the treatment of genito-urinary disorders, such as prostate cancer.

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