Image from Science Daily
Madagascar is an amazing and complex country, filled with often either rare or unique animals and plants; furthermore, a large proportion of world vanilla originates from Madagascar – one of the world’s largest islands. These are some of Madagascar’s ‘highlights’, though unfortunately it’s poverty is also a complex situation, as it can be difficult for people to find their basic needs such as food, water, shelter or health care.
Now though, another interesting detail has emerged – potentially one which could offer life – changing benefits. Madagascar has hundreds of unique plants – yet now, after several decades of research, plant scientists have uncovered a fascinating detail about a plant called Madagascar periwinkle – that it produces a cancer – fighting compound named vinblastine.
A team from the John Innes Centre in Norwich have found that the compound which is found in the leaves of the Periwinkle, can be used to create much needed drugs to fight against Testicular, Breast, Bladder and Lung Cancer.
This plant has been known since the 1950s. What is new and significant about this discovery is that scientists have only just understood how the plant produces vinblastine, and they hope to use the natural product to understand how the compound is produced and thus synthetically produce it to offer a cancer treatment quicker, more effectively and to more people.
This is an example of Madagascar continuing to surprise and produce. There is a problem, though. Madagascar is also one of the poorest countries, in which some people are forced to exploit the environment, merely to survive. It is clear that there are two key elements to work on to allow this amazing country to survive and thrive. It is important to help the people, ensure they get things such a good education, food or sanitation, which can then allow them to succeed and not need to destroy the land – if we help the people, then both they and the natural environment will both win.
If you would like to know more about how this could be done, or to make a donation – and make an immediate impact to Madagascar, please see our website at https://moneyformadagascar.org/ Thank you.
Written By Matthew Ward