Investigation of anticancer activity of selected plants among uvaria scheffleri, artemisia afra and azadiracht a indica against breast and prostate cancer cells lines
Maina, Gladys Wanjiru
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Cancer is one of the major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and it is estimated to kill over 8 million people globally every year constituting close to 13% of total deaths worldwide. In Kenya, cancer ranks third as a cause of death after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. It causes 7% of total national mortality every year. Although population based data does not exist in the country, it is estimated that the annual incidence of cancer is about 28,000 cases and the annual mortality to be over 22,000 persons. To date, many anticancer drugs have been developed and applied to cancer patients. However, resistance to anticancer drugs has been reported and this treatment is neither available nor avoidable to the poor and marginalized communities. Synthesis or modification of known drugs continues as an important aspect of research, but the relatively small improvement over the prototype drugs, which have resulted from the vast amount of synthetic work, is discouraging. Therefore, research and development of new and safe drugs is necessary for the pharmaceutical industry. The long established use of vinca alkaloids (Vinblastine and vincristine), etoposides, taxanes and the isolation of the cytotoxic podophyllotoxins as highly effective anticancer agents demonstrate that plant species are an important resource for the discovery for novel natural anticancer agents. Kenya is endowed with a rich diversity of tropical rainforest plants, some of them being used traditionally as herbal remedies. In addition, there is an abundance of extremely biodiverse population of plant species that have not been subjected to anti-tumor activity assays for the advancement of cancer treatment. It is therefore necessary to evaluate the traditional anticancer plants with the aim of incorporating them into the national health care systems or discovering new potent cytotoxic molecules which may be developed into drugs or may be used as templates or leads for synthesis or development of new more potent synthetic analogues. In search for new antitumor principles, three plants namely of Uvaria schejjleri Diel, Azadirachta indica Juss and Artemisia afra Jacq-ex wild normally used to treat cancer and other ailments in Kilifi and Meru County will be investigated. The crude extracts and the bioactive active principles will be screened for in vitro anticancer activity against breast (DU-4475) and prostate (DU-145) cancer cells lines. Isolation and purification of bioactive principles present in the active extracts will be done using chromatographic techniques (CC, TLC, Prep TLC). The chemical structures will established conclusively by using UV, IR, MS and extensive IH and l3C NMR spectra analysis and comparison with data from the cited literature. 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT - microtiter plate assay) will be used to determine the cytotoxicity of agents tested against various cell lines. Therefore, the current study seek to investigate the anticancer activities of extracts of the three plants against human breast and prostate cancer cells.