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Title: Ten years of bioprospecting activities at the CSIR: BP4 as a model
Authors: Fouche, G
Moodley, N
Maharaj, V
Keywords: Bioprospecting
Traditional medicines
Herbal medicines
Traditional healers
Issue Date: Nov-2008
Citation: Fouche, G, Moodley, N, Maharaj, V. 2008. Ten years of bioprospecting activities at the CSIR: BP4 as a model. Science real and relevant: 2nd CSIR Biennial Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre Pretoria, 17 & 18 November 2008, pp 6
Abstract: The bioprospecting group of CSIR Biosciences, focuses on the transformation of African traditional medicines into minimally-processed, scientifically-validated herbal medicines and remedies; the discovery of new pharmaceutical active ingredients and providing opportunities for the establishment of community-based agroprocessing businesses for the production of medicinal crops. This value addition to biodiversity and indigenous knowledge through scientific innovation is conducted through consortium-based research within South Africa. An insightful and strategic look at our results so far reveals a very interesting and valuable data set that immediately provides scientific evidence demonstrating efficacy required for the validation of the claims of traditional healers. To date, we received and captured more than 250 claims for cures based on medicinal plants; completed desktop/literature studies on at least 50% of these for the purpose of determining what prior research is already in the public domain; established the therapeutic area and identified possible biological assays; identified at least 80 claims for cures for which the therapeutic concepts were established for different diseases, e.g. asthma, arthritis, malaria, HIV and tested samples for at least 33 claims for cures in suitable biological assays of which 16 demonstrated positive results and are in further development (referred to as bioprospecting leads). Currently, these leads are in development for treatment of cancer, asthma and allergies, arthritis, inflammation, benign prostatic hyperplasia, malaria, HIV, and erectile dysfunction, pain, tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes. One of the leads currently being developed is BP4, a novel herbal extract from Siphonochilus aethiopicus for the treatment of asthma and allergies. Literature studies on the specific plant provided anecdotal information but little scientifically evaluated biological data. Biological assaying of extracts of the plant and a purified non-steroidal metabolite demonstrated efficacy in the glucocorticoid receptor binding, inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase, and phosphodiesterase 4 enzymes. The extract demonstrated reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells in the lung tissue, as well as decreased eosinophils in the bronchiolar lavage fluid in asthmatic mice which was comparative to dexmethasone, a corticosteroid used for the treatment of asthma. The results demonstrated the anti allergic properties of the plant extract providing scientific evidence which substantiates its traditional use
Description: Science real and relevant: 2nd CSIR Biennial Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre Pretoria, 17 & 18 November 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/2578
Appears in Collections:CSIR Conference 2008

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