Climate change and the threat to cancer research

Climate change is having negative effects upon medical breakthroughs for diseases such as cancer and dermatological disorders, says eco-business Celestial Green Ventures (CGV) in its most recent study.

Droughts and floods are just two impacts of climate change being seen in the Amazon Rainforest today; a phenomenon that is being contributed to greatly by the deforestation of the area. These impacts do not only affect the people living in this region, but also the diverse animals and plants, and even the global population. The obvious effects can be seen every day, but the impacts upon potential medical treatments that are being destroyed along with the forest make this loss a little more difficult to grasp.

CGV, an Irish conservation company, has released a study that aims to demonstrate the threat deforestation poses to the vast, largely untapped potential of the rainforest for medicinal research.

The study, entitled “Study on the Medicinal Potential of Amazonian Plants” was released as part of the Trocano Araretama Project, where activities are undertaken in 1.3 million hectares of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. This project aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, whilst incorporating forest conservation with biodiversity protection and socio-economic benefits.

Leah Gainey, Environmental Analyst with Celestial Green Ventures, explained that “1 in 5 of all plant species can be found in the Amazon Rainforest and the total number of plant species found is estimated to be more than 438,000, and therefore represents huge potential in the discovery of new plant-based medicine.”

Ciaran Kelly, CEO of Celestial Green Ventures, maintained that the intention of the research being undertaken was to highlight the important potential the rainforest holds in terms of modern medicine, and to emphasise the importance of maintaining and conserving the plant population found therein. Mr. Kelly asserted that to him “the plant population is not only vital for the purpose of storing carbon, but also intrinsic to the preservation of nature’s remedies for modern day illnesses.”

Taking the Amazonian ecosystem’s potential into consideration, a research group at the Universidade Paulista - UNIP, in São Paulo, Brazil, has founded a screening programme that creates a bank of plant extracts native to the Amazon and Atlantic Rainforests.

This research has focused on extracts that combat the most prevalent cancers such as breast, prostate, lung, colon, central nervous system, and leukaemia, whilst also examining bacteria strains that have become resistant to antibiotics. With 1,220 aqueous and organic samples obtained to date from whole plants or parts of plants, 70 have shown to have an effect against tumours. These results demonstrate the ecosystem’s immense potential if its forest is left undamaged for future research.

The research published today by Celestial Green Ventures is one of a series of reports being released over the coming months that will capture the diverse range of initiatives undertaken in their Trocano Araretama REDD+ Project.

To read the medicinal study in full, it can be downloaded here. To browse more reports published by CGV, please visit the reports page that can be found at the following link:

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