University of Hawaii Studying Noni Plant On Cancer

Researchers Get $340,000 from U.S. government for Two-Year Study

HONOLULU, 9:00 p.m. HST July 16, 2001 -- The University of Hawaii is about to begin groundbreaking research into a potential treatment for cancer that can be found almost everywhere throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Researchers want to find out if the extract of the noni plant (pictured, left) has anti-cancer properties. The plant has been used for hundreds of years by Native Hawaiians of medicinal purposes, but it is the first time that its effects will be scientifically studied.

"It's been used a lot as a restorative, as a tonic," Dr. Brian Issell of the UH Cancer Research Center said.

The noni plant is believed to have anti-cancer properties, and can control high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

"Part of the study is to look at what chemicals that are in noni that get into the blood and may be responsible for the anti-cancer activity," Issell said.

Issell and his research team have been awarded $340,000 by the National Institutes of Health to conduct the two-year study on 30 cancer patients who have undergone standard treatments.

Noni research in the laboratory has successfully stopped cancer, according to Issell. Outside of the lab, people normally drink the fermented liquefied extract of the noni plant.