The Department of Science and Technology announced on Friday, July 2, that 32 plants from Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos) Region are being studied for their potential anti-cancer active ingredients.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the project is funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and is implemented by the Tuklas Lunas Development Center of the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Cotabato.
“The ongoing project under the Department’s Tuklas Lunas Program, is screening identified plant species for their potential anti-cancer properties,” he said during his weekly report on Friday, July 2.
“The study will generate priority non-toxic bioactive potential anti-cancer plant extracts that passed the orthogonal/secondary screening and will serve as the basis for the isolation, purification, and structure elucidation of the potential lead for the anti-cancer compound in the next phase of the study,” he said.
The DOST chief said the DOST-PCHRD project has secured gratuitous permits and collected a total of 32 plant samples from different study sites. The sites include Barangay Kimarayag, Bangilan, Malasila, Aroman, and Mt. Apo.
He said the collected plant samples were pressed and sent to University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Museum of Natural History for identification and authentication.
“Extraction of the plant samples have already started and, currently, they are conducting the Scratch Wound Healing Assay to test for the extracts’ ability to inhibit cell migration which is one of the many hallmarks of cancer,” he said.
“The team will also perform MTT Cell Proliferation Assay once the materials they have procured have arrived,” he added.
De la Peña noted that the DOST, through the PCHRD, has partnered with the academe and the industry to screen marine, microbial, and plant species for pharmacologic activities through the agency’s Tuklas Lunas Program.
“In our effort to expand the coverage of Tuklas Lunas researches across the country considering the Philippines’ rich biodiversity, the PCHRD established Tuklas Lunas Development Center(s) (TLDCs) in different regions,” he said.