Nigerian Gets Bitter Leaf-Based Drug Patents
A Nigerian born Professor of Biology, Ernest Izevbigie, has been given two patents for bitter leaf-based anti-diabetic and cancer medication in the United States, THISDAY can report.His product may also benefit HIV/AIDS patients, it was learnt.
Izvebigie, a Professor in the area of vernonia amygdalina (bitter leaf) research at Jackson State University, Mississippi, received the first patent Phytochemotherapy for Cancer U.S. Patent 6,713,098 in 2004 and the second 6,848,604 in 2005.
He founded Edobotanics, a company that uses technology at the university to process, extract and standardize compounds from bitter leaf.
Edobotanics now produces nutritional supplements called edoTIDEplus that promotes gastrointestinal, breast and prostate health, THISDAY gathered.
“We found that in using the plant material, some compounds from the extracts were able to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells,” said the professor.
“Later through collaborative research, we found they were also effective in other tumor cells,” he added.
Although, the formulations are not optimized for diabetes, they provide some health benefits to diabetes patients, he explained.
His research focus is cancer biology and pharmacognosy.
As for HIV/AIDS patients, Izevbigie explained that evidence from cell culture and animal studies research and reports from individuals reveal that bitter leaf formulary supplementation may abate or improve their health conditions or symptoms which include abrosia (wasting away), , compromised immune systems etc.
“Since immune suppression and abrosia represent some of the key features of HIV/AIDS pathogenesis, bitter leaf supplement-induced stimulation of the immune system could benefit HIV/AIDS patients,” he stated.
The professor further explained that available data shows that bitter leaf extracts may be effective against Kaposi sarcomas (KS), a tumour caused by Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8).
He said that although KS infection occurs in the general population, the frequency of occurrence among HIV/AIDS patients is higher.
An estimated, 40 per cent of HIV/AIDS sufferers are said to develop KS, which is noted to be more progressive and less responsive to therapy in HIV-positive individuals compared to HIV-negative patients.
Recently, Edobotanics won second place in the University division of the Mississippi ’s Mississippi Business Plan competition.
The competition included 27 companies who presented their plan to some entrepreneurs and investors in the state.
Edobotanics presented a plan for producing and marketing dietary supplements that promote health and wellness.
According to the CEO of the company, Mr. Bruce Deer, “this product supports general health and well being. It is a combination of science and nature for optimum health.”
Izevbigie came to the US from Nigeria in 1982.
His interest in bitter leaf dates back to his childhood days in Nigeria.
He said he watched his grandmother who practised herbal/alternative medicine use bitter leaf to cure patients.
Narrating his research work, he said upon receiving his Ph.D degree in Michigan State University, he pursued a post-doctoral training at the in Bethesda, Maryland.
There, he developed a passion to apply modern scientific techniques to investigate the health benefits of some Nigerian botanical or .
Izevbigie says other researchers have joined his research team since receiving two patents from his exclusive and original work.
Asked about the availability of bitter leaf in the US for his product, he says there is a possibility the plant will be grown outside Nigeria.
The company can also rely on Nigerian contractors, he said.
Jackson State University is a historically black school founded in 1877.
It is located in Jackson, the capital city of the State of Mississippi.