A mouthwash that may help prevent mouth cancer has been developed by researchers at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). The plant based product could provide a non-alcoholic alternative to conventional products for the Islamic market.
In laboratory tests on human cell cultures ‘SA-Cleanse’ was found not only to have anti-bacterial properties, killing common oral microbes, but also to suppress the growth of cancer cells. For both bone and tongue cancer cells it was found that apoptosis, the process by which a cell uses its own machinery to kill itself, could be induced. This occurred due to the activation of caspase proteins which play a key role in apoptosis signalling. On the other hand the product was found to have no effect on normal skin cells, and is non-toxic for the liver and kidneys, providing hope that there will be no risks in using it on a daily basis.
As well as having cancer preventative potential, the mouthwash also would provide an alternative to alcohol based products. While many in the Islamic community use conventional mouthwash, the desirability of a Halal alternative provides an excellent business opportunity. The mouthwash is made by boiling the roots of a plant found throughout Asia, so the viability of SA-Cleanse would also provide a new crop for the agro-medical industry in Malaysia and beyond.
In vivo testing is to be carried out by the researchers to further develop the product, and it is hoped there will be applications in potential treatments for common cancers such as cervical and prostate cancer.
Provided by Universiti Sains Malaysia