17 Jun 2019

Search for new anti-cancer drugs underway in Samoa

1:18 pm on 17 June 2019

Scientists in Samoa are hoping a new collaboration with New Zealand researchers will help them discover new cancer medicines from native plants and marine organisms.

cancer cells

Photo: 123RF

Two members of the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa have returned from a visit to the Maurice Wilkins Centre in New Zealand where they learnt more about the foundations of cancer research.

The Centre's Deputy Director, Professor Peter Shepherd said worldwide, a number of cancer medicines have originated from indigenous plant and marine life.

"Samoa has a lot of unique plants and marine species. And the government there is very keen to look at those to see whether there are any novel anti-cancer agents in them.

"And we are, we have a lot of expertise in that space here in New Zealand. So we were very happy to be able to help them start to develop that capability in house in Samoa."

Professor Shepherd said the visit is just the start of their collaboration and it is really encouraging that Samoa is willing to play it's part in the global battle against cancer.

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