Giant East Texas Aquatic Plant Gives Cancer Patients Hope- The Pineywoods of East Texas may hold the secret to effectively inhibiting the growth of human cancer cells, with minimal risk of damaging healthy cells. Recent research findings conducted at Stephen F. Austin State University’s (SFA) National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops (NPCP) in Nacogdoches, suggest that one of the most noxious invasive species in the world could potentially nip several problems in the bud across the globe.
Giant Salvinia, known locally as water fern, and kariba weed has plagued East Texas waterways for years. It is an environmentally, economically and socially destructive invasive plant species. Researchers at SFA discovered giant salvinia could bring hope to cancer patients and were the first research group to isolate a class of compounds responsible for the bioactivities. This discovery will assist other researches in many ways, and give way to better understanding the molecular mechanism of invasion, according to SFA research professor and director of the National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops.
Giant salvinia has super powers. The aquatic plant can double in number and biomass in less than three day. Under optimal growing conditions the plant will sprawl across the water and cover it like a tarp. The plant is capable of regenerating even after severe damage or drying.
To curve the sprawling weed’s appetite, the tiny salvinia weevil was introduced into the region in the early 1980s. Attempts to knock back the aquatic beast using chemical and mechanical means failed and lead to environmental backlash.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department collected about 1,000 pounds of giant salvinia in East Texas for this study.
If the giant salviana found in East Texas can combat cancer there could be hope for cancer patients as well as area lakes.