A group of Indian scientists from Kuvempu University, Shimoga, have found the cancer preventive effect of the bottle gourd plants latex sap which was published in the scientific journal International Immunopharmacology, recently.
The study reported that the latex has enormous lectins that belong to the diverse class of proteins, which is thought to be responsible for its anti-proliferative nature. The study described that 30-35% of cancer deaths are directly linked to wrong diet and food habits and hence identifying potential molecules from dietary sources would open a new arena for the drug development from plant sources which are very safe without any adverse secondary complications.
Though this report on bottle gourd latex sap and its therapeutic potential is only fundamental, considering the necessary in depth studies and various trials, taking the latex sap or its protein to the bedside would take years, but undoubtedly this could be a cornerstone for a new beginning.
Bottle gourd is one of the oldest cultivated vegetable by humans and many genetic and archeological findings have confirmed that this vegetable has a cultivation history dating back to 10, 000 years with global distribution. Despite its use in the various culinary cuisines, this old world plant was mostly used for making musical instruments and storage containers.
In India, some traditional folklore medicines describe bottle gourd for a large variety of ailments like ulcers, pain, hyperlipidemia etc. But definitely, neither the medical practitioner nor the common people would have imagined that liquid latex that oozes upon pricking or wounding the vegetable would harbor the great potential which could benefit the mankind from the deadly disease.
The research team was led by Dr B T Prabhakar, Dr S N Pramod and Dr V Krishna of Kuvempu University, Shivamoga. Research investigations were carried out by V Vigneshwaran [First author], Prabhu Thirusangu and Madhusuda Somegowda, who are the doctoral students at Kuvempu University. The former two principal investigators [Dr B T Prabhakar, Dr S N Pramod] belong to Mysore and all of the doctoral students including the principal investigators are the alumni of University of Mysore.