Muscat: An Omani research team from Al Sharqiya University succeeded in preparing a nanoemulsion from frankincense oil in an easy and economically inexpensive way to treat breast and lung cancer as part of a project to extract frankincense oil and study its effect on breast and lung cancer cells in the laboratory.
The research project was carried out with the participation and supervision of Dr. Muhammad Cengiz, the former lead researcher of the project (former academic at Al Sharqiya University), and Dr. Raya bint Ahmed Al Balushi, associate professor of chemistry and head of the Department of Basic and Applied Sciences (the current lead researcher).
The project took approximately 3 years, and was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. Scientific and innovation within the competency-based institutional financing program.
Dr. Raya bint Ahmed Al Balushi said that the results of this study showed that frankincense extract contains various chemical plant substances and has high anti-cancer activity and acts as a natural anti-cancer, and its effectiveness is enhanced through its use as a nanoemulsion.
She added that there was cooperation with a group of researchers from the University of Buraimi and the University of Hail in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other international universities from the United States of America and the Republic of India to implement some biological laboratory experiments and tests. She indicated that a group of biological tests were conducted to measure its effectiveness and efficiency as an anti-cancer, such as cytotoxicity testing (MTT assay), wound healing, mitochondrial membrane analysis, and reactive oxygen species.
She explained that the ability of frankincense extract to inhibit the growth of breast cancer and lung cancer cells was tested using a toxicity test, as frankincense extract works to inhibit the growth of both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant breast cancer cells and lung cancer cells (in a dose-dependent manner).
She pointed out that evaluating the anti-cancer activity of the emulsion using a toxicity test against cancer cells for 24 hours showed that the nanoemulsion (13.2 micrograms/ml) shows higher activity compared to frankincense extract alone (22.5 micrograms/ml).
The researcher stated that one of the most prominent challenges in cancer treatment is controlling the malignant tumor, as cancer cells in solid tumors can spread to different organs. Through this study, a test was conducted to evaluate the ability of the nanoformulation of frankincense extract to control the spread of malignant tumor in the body’s cells. During testing to examine wound healing.
Dr. Raya bint Ahmed Al Balushi stated that the cells treated with frankincense extract alone showed 20 to 30 percent coverage of the wound area within 24 hours, while when treated with the nanocomposition of frankincense extract, the affected area was covered by 60 to 70 percent in the same period of time, which indicates the presence of… Significantly enhanced wound healing ability and resistance to proliferation.
She explained that new therapeutic methods for anti-cancer drugs depend on the formation of reactive oxygen species, which work to damage cancer cells, which ultimately leads to their programmed death. It was observed through this study that cells treated with nanoemulsion generate more reactive oxygen species than cells treated with frankincense extract alone. , which confirms the effective anti-cancer activity of frankincense nanoemulsion. Regarding the importance of this research study, the researcher pointed out that the concept of pharmaceutical industries in the Sultanate of Oman is still in its early stages, and this study may contribute to the development of pharmaceutical and medicinal products.
She stated that one of the most prominent outcomes of this research project is publishing the results of the study and previous studies on the subject in two research papers, in addition to a third paper that was submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed and highly influential scientific journal, which is the scientific journal known as the Journal of Chemical Physics, affiliated with the international publishing house – Elsevier, and awaiting final approval, which will contribute. Significantly in raising the scientific level of Al Sharqiya University in particular and the Sultanate of Oman in general.
The researcher confirmed that this research project will contribute to revolutionizing the world of medicine and cancer treatment by treating it without any complications for the patient with cancer compared to current treatment, and its ability to prevent the spread of cancer cells in the body.
Regarding the next step after the research project, Dr. Raya bint Ahmed Al Balushi said: There are upcoming steps, which include obtaining a patent after initially conducting experiments on mice. There may also be other treatments from the nanoemulsion of frankincense oil, which is the treatment of kidney failure diseases.
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