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Two high school students prepare new derivatives to treat cancer

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Bui Do Minh Quan and Do Phuong Mai from the Tran Phu High School for the Gifted have synthesized a new derivative that has the potential to treat cancer.

Quan came up with the idea when witnessing his aunt struggle with colon and cervix cancer.

After undergoing surgery and radiotherapy, the growth of cancer cells in his aunt were curbed, but she had unavoidable side effects.

Three years later, physicians discovered blood cancer in the aunt. 

She has been admitted to treatment trial campaigns funded by the US. However, the treatment will only be free for the first several months. 

If she wants to pursue the therapy, she will have to pay $33 per tablet. 

“I want to do something to help my aunt and cancer patients at a lower cost,” Quan said.

Quan discovered that his grandfather fed his aunt an extract from gung gio (Zingiber zerumbet) and to some extent, it showed positive effects.

“My aunt drinks the extract after every course of treatment and tests show that the number of cancer cells has not increased,” he said.

Quan found that Zerumbone has strong anti-cancer effects after doing research. However, it still is not largely used in treating cancer because of some disadvantages. 

For example, it cannot penetrate the human cell membrane. Therefore, to date, it has been used as a supplement food to support cancer treatment.

Quan decided that he should create derivatives from Zerumbone which can penetrate human cell membranes and used as a medicine to treat cancer.

Quan, who is a physics major student, decided to cooperate with a chemistry major student – Do Phuong Mai – to implement his idea.

Mai said the derivatives they have produced outperform the original Zerumbone. They are still not available in the market.

The derivatives have better polarization and higher dissolution in human cell membranes, and thus improve efficiency in cancer treatment.

After experiments carried out with the support from families, teachers and friends, Quan and Mai have gained success beyond their expectations. The new derivatives synthetized are 10 times stronger than Zerumbone.

Currently, they are testing these derivatives on human cancers and agar medium - a type of environment simulated on human cells.

Asked about their further research, Quan and Mai said they have just synthetized new derivatives, while it will take more time to produce medicine to treat cancer.

 

Source:  VietNamNet

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