Oct 9, 2006    #154
Contact: Noemi Rojas, public relations
(816) 235-1520

UMKC professor launches study on African plant's effect on HIV-infected adults Project is part of $4.4 million international collaboration on complementary & alternative medicines

South Africa has more than 200,000 traditional healers who care for more than 27 million people. They use several African plants in their treatments, including a plant called Lessertia frutescens (sutherlandia). Also called the cancer bush, increasingly it is being used as an immune booster in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

A clinical trial of sutherlandia’s safety and efficacy is underway and being led by Kathleen Goggin, Ph.D., psychology professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). It is the first study on HIV-infected adults and the first Western-style, placebo-controlled study for evidence of the plant’s impact.

Co-leader in this trial is Doug Wilson, MBChB, of the University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZ-N) in South Africa. South African traditional healers are also key investigators on this project.

Goggin and her team recently returned from South Africa where they were began the painstaking cultural and linguistic translation of Western-style measures into Zulu.

The clinical trial is expected to enroll patients as soon as this fall.

This project is part of an international collaboration that received a $4.4 million, 4-year grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines (NCCAM), a division of the National Institutes of Health.

The funding will support The International Center for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies (TICIPS), a collaborative research effort between the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

UMKC, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences and urban affairs.



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