Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Cancer Research
Melissa L. D. Costa - University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Co-Author(s): Sage Valeho, Kapiolani Community College, Honolulu, HI
Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have a disproportionately large number of health disparities such as cancer, cardiovascular issues, and type two diabetes. To begin to address this issue, this study drew from lāʻau lapaʻau (traditional hawaiian herbal medicine) knowledge to study Kī (Cordyline fruticosa), or more specifically the leaves of the kī known as lāʻī, as a potential anticancer agent. It was hypothesized that Lāʻī possesses antioxidant and anticancer properties. This was tested through three successive experiments. Lāʻī were gathered and washed at Hale Kanilehua on the campus of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and then taken to the lab for extraction. The leaves were macerated and two types of extractions performed, one with water and the other with methanol. The purpose of this was to compare the efficacy of the two solvents against each other. The first experiment was an antioxidant assay. This procedure utilized gallic acid and DPPH solutions, and confirmed that Lāʻī possesses some level of antioxidant properties. Next, a cell viability assay tested the two extracts against live cancer cells. It was found that the Lāʻī extracted in methanol killed more cells than water and more than Doxorubicin, the drug used as a control. Finally, thin layer chromatography examined both extracts for different constituents. There were different amounts of constituents between both. In the future, this could pinpoint the active anticancer agent(s) in Lāʻī. The hypothesis that Lāʻī has antioxidant and anticancer properties was confirmed by these experiments. Further research is needed to reconfirm these results and look for applications such as developing synergistic cotreatments between lāʻau lapaʻau and anticancer drugs to reduce dependence on western medicine.Not Submitted
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Acknowledgements: This research project was conducted during the 2017 Kupa ʻĀina Summer Transfer Bridge Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and made possible by its various funders.
Faculty Advisor: Hokuokahalelani Pihana, email@example.com
Role: I was involved in the selection of the plant species being studied and carried out the experimental process at the bench.