The Centers first projects will examine two plants used widely in South Africa. One of those projects, led by Kathy Goggin of UMKC and Doug Wilson of UKZ-N, will investigate whether Sutherlandia, or Lessertia frutescens, is safe in HIV-infected patients and prevents wasting. A previous, small pilot study by TICIPS researchers studied the safety of Sutherlandia in healthy adults. This was the first study of its kind, according to Folk.
Other projects will focus on Artemisia afra, which is widely used to treat respiratory infections. There is suggestive evidence that A. afra might be useful in treating Tuberculosis, which will be explored by TICIPS researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston and the University of Cape Town. Another project will examine the plants potential for preventing or treating cervical cancer. TICIPS researchers from Mizzou, Georgetown University, UKZ-N and the University of the Western Cape will collaborate on the project.
A real strength of TICIPS comes from the contributions of colleagues outside of the life sciences. Communication is a strong component in order to let the public know what we find, Folk said. Working with the MU School of Journalism and colleagues at the University of the Western Cape will ensure that our findings about the safety of these plants are distributed among the public, not only in South Africa, but throughout the world. Also, we enjoy a very strong partnership with the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the worlds outstanding botanical centers. Nature has thousands of secrets that we have yet to discover. This is a big first step in uncovering some of those secrets and seeing how we can better understand these alternative medicines.
|Contact: Christian Basi|
University of Missouri-Columbia