Hawaii researchers test noni to fight cancer

Hawaii researchers test noni to fight cancer

It's Phase II for researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. They're trying to determine if extract from the fruit noni can fight cancer in early-stage prostate patients.

"There has been such strong belief through generations of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders that the noni fruit possesses healing properties. Past laboratory research found anti-cancer properties in noni extract," said Jeffrey Huang, Pharm D., Principal Investigator and Assistant Specialist in the Clinical Sciences and Translational Research Program at the UH Cancer Center. "In our current Phase II study, we want to see if these properties will work in a specific type of cancer."

In the initial Phase 1 clinical trial, Doctor Brian Issell determined the dosage of noni to give to advanced cancer patients. He says that it did not shrink the cancer, but some patients reported reduced pain and less fatigue when taking the extract. That same dosage will be now given to Phase II patients who have been diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer.

"In our initial study of noni fruit extract for patients with advanced cancer, we found no evidence that noni caused their cancer to melt away. However, we would now like to see if there is evidence that it could slow down cancer progression" said Dr. Brian Issell, researcher and former director of the UH Cancer Center who led the very first clinical trial of noni in cancer patients. "This new study will test to see if there is evidence that noni may prevent low risk prostate cancer patients from progressing to higher risk disease."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Hawaii. About 800 men are diagnosed with the disease and more than 100 die from it each year. There are more than 220,000 estimated new cases of the disease in 2015 according to the National Cancer Institute.

If you would like to find out how to participate in this clinical trial, look for more information at www.uhcancercenter.org.

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