Dr. Loonat carried out a two year supervised Master's study as a student at the Department of Complementary Medicine in collaboration with the Laser Research Centre at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg. Dr. Loonat completed her Master's study with distinction and received the Chancellor's medal for most meritorious Master's study of 2020. Dr. Loonat has presented her research findings at the first International Virtual HSA congress in May 2021. Beyond this, Dr Loonat has also been published in the international Homeopathy Journal for her co-authored hypothesis article titled, "Can Nanoparticles in Homeopathic Remedies Enhance Phototherapy of Cancer? A Hypothetical Model." (DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1735581); and in the Frontiers in Pharmacology Journal for an original research article titled, "Photodynamic effects of Thuja occidentalis homeopathic mother tincture on lung cancer cells." (https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2022.928135)
Photodynamic effects of Thuja occidentalis homeopathic mother tincture on lung cancer cells
Cancer is an umbrella term used to describe a set of diseases that result in the unregulated growth of abnormal cells. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 8.2 million people die from cancer every year. This number is projected to rise significantly over the next few years, with 17 million new cancer cases expected in 2020 alone. Lung cancer is the leading contributor to these cancer related deaths. The reasons for the substantial rise in cancer cases are complex but reflect the aging and growth of the population, as well as the changes in the prevalence and distribution of the main risk factors for cancer, many of which are associated with socioeconomic development, were smoking accounts as the primary risk factor for the majority of cases. The severe complications of the disease, poor survival rate and the continuous rise in lung cancer cases demonstrate a serious unmet need that underpins the necessity and urgency of developing effective anti-cancer therapies with curative intent.Therefore, the aim of Dr. Loonat's research was focused as a starting point towards understanding the role of the effects of Thuja occidentalis (homeopathic mother tincture) in photodynamic therapy to observe the potential synergistic benefits in enhancing cancer cell death, which will allow further research in the field.
The use of homeopathy in the supportive and palliative treatment of cancer has been recognized especially for improving patients quality of life and prolonging survival as part of an integrative approach. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive treatment modality, that uses laser light in combination with a light-absorbing agent (photosensitizer) to kill cancer cells. Thuja occidentalis belongs to the plant kingdom, and several studies have demonstrated how extracts of the plant are able to induce cancer cell death. Homeopathic mother tinctures are derived from plant, animal and mineral raw materials that are prepared in an alcohol solution according to specific guidelines. Results from the study showed how Thuja occidentalis homeopathic mother tincture when used alone and as a photosensitizer in PDT, resulted in significant cell death against lung cancer cells. This presents a promising strategy for the treatment of lung cancer in the future with the addition of further studies and continuous research efforts.
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