RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Biotech R&D Institute conducts scientific research for the development of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, and functional foods in Jamaica. We are committed to engaging in research activities that are geared toward building the health sector, via the treatment and prevention of lifestyle diseases.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Our main areas of research and development are;
Isolation of Bioactive compounds from plants of interest. This involves bioactivity-directed fractionations and isolation of active principles from plants.
Developing protocols for standardized extracts from selected plants.
Structural elucidation, identification, and synthesis of bioactive compounds and their analogs.
Screening and assessing the quality and grade of selected natural product extracts.
Undertake research to determine the efficacy, toxicity, dosage dependency of plant extracts and isolated compounds for the developments of nutraceutical, functional foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmeceutical products.
Screening/ validation of folklore medicinal plants for bioactivity properties such as anti-cancer, anti-biotic, anti-diabetic, and anti-HIV –AIDS.
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
DEVELOPING PHYTOGENIC FEED ADDITIVES FOR BROILERS WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON ENDEMIC SPECIES WITH ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES: A NATURAL ALTERNATIVE TO THE USE OF ANTIBIOTICS AS GROWTH PROMOTERS
Alternatives to antibiotics must become a part of the integrative management of health in the poultry industry to control the spread of infectious disease and reduce the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in Jamaica and other Small Island Developing States.
Very little research and development of innovative solutions which adds value to local medicinal plants. Existing preventative and treatment technologies must be imported making them cost prohibitive to local farmers.
In response, we will engage in a multidisciplinary study to investigate the efficacy of Pimenta spp. extracts already demonstrated to have significant antimicrobial effects, as aphytogenic feed additives as an alternative to traditional antibiotics.
A DOUBLE-BLIND PLACEBO CONTROL TRIAL TO ASSESS THE EFFICACY OF ADJUVANT
TREATMENT WITH CANNABINOIDS IN MALIGNANT PAIN
Cannabinoids represent a relatively new pharmacological option for treatment of cancer pain and may form part of a multimodal treatment plan. With increasing knowledge of the endocannabinoid system and compelling preclinical work demonstrating that cannabinoid agonists are analgesic, there is increasing attention on their potential role in the management of pain. This trial seeks to build on previous work done in the area of pain management by investigating the efficacy of a combined Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol THC: CBD extracts in the adjunctive management of cancer pain, as well as to compare these effects with those of standard cancer pain medications.
The Anti-cancer Activity of Vernonia divaricata Sw against Leukaemia, Breast and Prostate Cancers in Vitro.
Henry Lowe; D Daley-Beckford; Ngeh Toyang; Charah Watson; S Hartley; Joseph Bryant
Vernonia divaricata is one of five endemic Vernonia species of Jamaica. The ethnomedicinal uses of other species have been established, however, scientific validation of this species has not yet been done and as such, this paper is aimed at identifying the anti-cancer activity of Vdivaricata against leukemia, breast, and prostate cancer cell lines.
Leaves and stems of V divaricata were dried and milled into a powder. The crude hexane and methanol extracts of the leaves and stems were obtained and bio-assayed using WST-1 cell proliferation assay against leukemia, breast, and prostate cancer cell lines.
The crude hexane and methanol extracts of V divaricata were able to significantly retard the growth of the MCF-7 (breast), HL-60 (leukemia) and the PC-3 (prostate) cancer cell lines. The crude methanol extract of the stem was the strongest, exhibiting anti-proliferation activity with IC50 values of 10.14, 12.63 and 9.894 µg/ml for the HL-60, MCF-7, and PC-3 cancer cell lines, respectively, with the most potent toward prostate cancer.
The medicinal use of V divaricata as an anti-cancer agent was corroborated as the crude hexane extract and methanol extracts demonstrated potent anti-proliferation activity and as such hold potential for further research and development into a drug to prevent or treat various cancers.
Background: Approximately 250,000 deaths were caused by leukemia globally in 2012 and about 40%-50% of all leukemia diagnoses end-up in death. Medicinal plants are a rich source for the discovery of new drugs against leukemia and other types of cancers. To this end, we subjected the Jamaican ball moss (Tillandsia recurvata) and its cycloartanes, as well as some analogs, to in vitro screening against a number of leukemia cell lines.
The WST-1 anti-proliferation assay was used to determine the anticancer activity of ball moss and two cycloartanes isolated from ball moss and four of their analogs against four leukemia cell lines (HL-60, K562, MOLM-14, monoMac6). Ball moss crude methanolic extract showed activity with a 50% inhibition concentration (IC50) value of 3.028 μg/ml against the Molm-14 cell line but was ineffective against HL-60 cells.
The six cycloartanes tested demonstrated varying activity against the four leukemia cancer cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 1.83 μM to 18.3 μM. Five out of the six cycloartanes demonstrated activity, while one was inactive against all four cell lines. The preliminary activity demonstrated by the Jamaican ball moss and its cycloartanes against selected leukemia cell lines continues to throw light on the broad anticancer activity of ball moss.
Further studies to evaluate the efficacy of these molecules in other leukemia cell lines are required in order to validate the activity of these molecules, as well as to determine their mechanisms of action and ascertain the activity in vivo in order to establish efficacy and safety profiles.
Promising Efficacy of the Cola acuminata Plant: A Mini Review
Henry I. C. Lowe, Charah T. Watson, Simone Badal, Patrice Peart, Ngeh J. Toyang, Joseph Bryant
Cola acuminata also known as the bissy nut extract was originally endemic to Africa but is now present in a number of tropical countries including Jamaica. Despite its rich history of ethnomedicinal use and promising bioactivity, there still exists limited research on this plant.
Exploring and compiling the ethnomedicinal usage, identified bioactivities and isolates of C.acuminata will prove useful in steering future directional research with the hope of reaping the plant’s full beneficial properties. The plant’s traditional use encompass; cancer treatment, an antidote for poisoning, suppressing one’s appetite, increasing alertness, treating migraine and motion sickness, obtaining a state of euphoria in addition to being used in certain traditional practices.
Because of the plant’s copious ethnomedicinal use, researchers were led to believe that the low incidence of prostate cancer evidenced amongst Asians could be as a result of phytochemicals present in the bissy nut. Research conducted in our lab confirmed the anti-cancer potential of the plant and recent research has identified a number of secondary metabolites present in C. acuminata which could be responsible for the observed bioactivities.
The plant has also shown promise as an anti-microbial agent. This paper confirms the efficacy of the bissy nut plant both as an ethnomedicine as well as warranting further research that may prove useful both in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.
Specific RSK Kinase Inhibition by Dibenzyl Trisulfide and Implication for Therapeutic Treatment of Cancer.
Henry Lowe; Caroline O B Facey; Ngeh Toyang; Joseph Bryant
Anticancer research (Impact Factor: 1.87). 04/2014; 34(4):1637-41.
The Jamaican "Guinea Hen Weed" (HIV L.) plant has been traditionally used in folklore medicine to treat a variety of diseases including cancer. In the present study, we investigated on the therapeutic feasibility of dibenzyl trisulfide (DTS) (isolated from the Jamaican Guinea Hen (Weed) as a potent small-molecule kinase inhibitor to treat cancer.
We investigated the inhibitory effects of DTS against a large panel of kinases using a well- established competitive binding assay. Cell proliferation data were obtained using the WST-1 colorimetric assay.
DTS inhibited the activity of the C-terminal kinase domain of RSK1 (80% compared to control) with a Kd of 1.3 μM. Anti-proliferative effects of DTS were observed in small lung, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer cells with IC50 values ranging from 0.34-0.84 μM.
We have identified DTS as a highly selective and isoform-specific RSK1 kinase inhibitor with broad cancer therapeutic potential.