A South African pharmacist has found a new group of compounds in seaweed that may be a good lead in the treatment of breast cancer.
"We've done some really exciting work...it is early stage research and with new compounds you test them a lot before it develops into something," East London pharmacy owner Michael Knott said.
"If things go well we may take it to the next stage. The biochemistry department may grow the cell lines. We'd then need to find funding...and it has yet to be tested in humans," he said.
The Dispatch Online reported that Knott's research into seaweed has shown anti-cancer activity on breast cancer cells.
He has been invited to present his research and findings to the Seventh European Conference on Marine Natural Products in Sweden in August 2011.
Local research on breast cancer
"I'm excited about the conference and see it as an opportunity to generate interest in local research."
Knott is studying for his doctorate in marine natural product chemistry at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. He said his research was a collaboration between him, his supervisor Denzel Beukes and the university's faculty of pharmacy.
According to the National Cancer Registry, one in 29 women in South Africa are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 3000 women die from breast cancer in South Africa each year.
(Sapa, June 2011)