Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
This Ph.D. thesis offers yet more proof that good scientific research is also possible in developing countries.
The aim of the work is to show the usefulness of the traditionally used medicinal plant Laportea Ovalifolia, a member of the Urticaceae family. It shows the absence of toxic side effects on the serum-sugar-concentrate and triglyceride- (fat-) profile in diabetic rats.
A great many experiments are carried out on the rats in vivo and in the laboratory. Many fields such as botany, chemistry, biochemistry, toxicology and pharmacology are explored. The scientific value of this thesis is to be attributed not only to the results obtained but also to this multidisciplinary approach.
The prepared extracts are first studied chemically and fragmented. The absence of toxic effects is checked in vivo by administering them to laboratory animals, followed by a determination of the significant biochemical parameters and a thorough anatomical pathological study of several important organs.
The results of the measurement of the sugar concentration and the fat level in the serum of the rats treated is compared with those obtained from a group of animals to whom a hypoglycemia-inducing control substance is administered and this relative to a placebo. Once these results have been critically processed the author clearly summarises which experiments still need to be carried out to make them clinically useful, such as a more in-depth phytochemical study of the extracts used.
The work, which is systematically and carefully built up, has the characteristics of relevance to development, primarily in the nature of the pathology. After all, diabetes is a highly prevalent, chronic and life-threatening, non-transmittable disorder. Moreover, the potential medication can be cultivated, commercialised and controlled locally. In addition to this, its low price makes it accessible to the population.
This thesis fits in with the concept of the fight against poverty.
report: Prof. J. Totté, Department of Pharmaceutical Studies, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium