Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Cancer Research
Bruce Torres Fischer - University of Hawaii at Hilo
Co-Author(s): Ernest-Joshua Kam, 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 ʻŌlena (turmeric) as a potential anticancer agent. It was hypothesized that ʻŌlena possesses antioxidant and anticancer properties. This was tested through three successive experiments. ʻŌlena root was gathered and washed at Honomalino, Kaʻū and then taken to the lab in Hilo for extraction. The root was 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 ʻŌlena possesses some level of antioxidant properties. Next, a cell viability assay tested the two extracts against live cancer cells. It was found that the ʻŌlena extracted in water killed more cells than methanol and more than Doxorubicin (a chemo-therapy drug that served as a negative control in this experiment). 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 ʻŌlena. The hypothesis that ʻŌlena 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 ??ina Summer Transfer Bridge Program at the University of Hawai?i at Hilo and made possible by its various funders.
Faculty Advisor: Hokuokahalelani Pihana, email@example.com
Role: I was involved in the background research in choosing the plant for this research project and carrying out the bench-work (preparing reagents, operating equipment, etc.) and data collection.