The search for cures for various types of cancer has led pioneers
to look more closely at some common plants.
“There are other ways to cure certain cancers apart
from using conventional methods,” said Rolando de la
Cruz, a Filipino inventor and entrepreneur who won the top
award in the 2005 International Trade Fair-Ideas-Invention
New Product for developing an organic cream that treats Basal
Cell Carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer.
He explained that his invention, DeBBC Cream, was a formulation
developed from extracts of cashew nuts and other Filipino
herbs. “The viscous substance of cashew nuts and other
herbs with the same characteristic can be used as an alternative
to the regular painful treatments of skin growths and diseases,” he
said. “So I gave it a try.”
“Sometimes curiosity can lead you to things that will
even surprise you,” he added. He said that having once
worked in a barbershop to pay for his schooling has inspired
him to be an inventor, initially specializing in hair care.
De la Cruz is the entrepreneur behind RCC Amazing Touch
International Inc., a one-stop shop for skin and hair treatment,
which specializes in the natural non-surgical removal of
warts, moles and other skin growths.
“The failure of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation
therapies in cancer treatment to reverse the disease has
led to a new approach – to scrutinize the use of medicinal
plants as cancer treatment and boost the body’s immune
system,” explained Vicenta Mendoza-Escobar.
“Medicinal plants contain a large number of phytochemicals
that have healing action by enhancing the immune system response,
as well as the body’s detoxification and antioxidant
systems activity,” she added.
Mendoza-Escobar is a renowned researcher of medicinal plants
and is owner of Sol y Viento Phytotherapy Research Center,
a company specializing in herbal formulations for health
When “Noni,” a formula derived from a Tahitian
plant with medicinal properties, became popular in the late
1990s, she studied it and discovered that it was also endemic
in the country. “It was commonly known as apatot,” she
After establishing apatot’s medicinal properties,
she started producing Noni Juice Wine, fermenting the plant
without the use of preservatives. But her continuous research
eventually led her to discover that mangosteen, graviola
(guyabano) and 15 other herbs also had medicinal properties
which can be combined with noni.
“The key is continuous research and monitoring,” she
said. Her formula, Noni Synergy Herbaltonic, is now being
distributed by multi-level marketing groups.
“Studies show that some 33 factors can cause the development
of cancer,” she explained. “Exposure to one or
more of these environmental, lifestyle, physical and emotional
stress factors can lead to cancer, so it is crucial to discern
that cancer is not caused by the presence of carcinogen alone
but a combination of factors that weaken the body immune
Since cancer is caused by different factors, biotechnology
has been attacking it on different fronts.
Another approach, albeit controversial, is the use of stem
cell research or regenerative medicine, which has been sought
after as an effective response when cancer is already present.
“Our commitment is to develop custom-designed molecular
therapies by adapting advanced techniques to enhance and
boost the entire immune system using the inherent wisdom
of the body,” explained Dr. Samuel Bernal.
A doctor and biochemist by profession, Bernal underwent
a two-year medical subspecialty training in oncology (cancer
medicine) in 1979 at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at
Harvard. He soon founded Strata Lucida, a biotechnology company
based in California, and LA-Boston Bioresearch Fund, a biotechnology
research and consulting organization, to pursue his research
and development on curing cancer.
He also owns Globe TekPro Health which specializes in advanced
integrative molecular and bio therapies. “We make it
a point to use global, up-to-date, and customized therapy
for all types of cancer,” he said.
“We personally and laboriously develop the patients’ own
dendritic cells to stimulate the immune system to recognize
and destroy tumor cells,” he added.
Regenerative medicine is a new branch of medicine in which
cell- and tissue-based therapies are applied to the treatments
of various diseases. It promises treatment of diseases such
as cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and other degenerative
“There have been rapid advances in molecular and cell
biology in recent years,” he said. “These provided
insights into the remarkable self-healing properties of human
cells, which, once harnessed, can be very beneficial to all.”
“Curiosity is a good start,” said Dela Cruz
on harnessing biotechnological discoveries. “If you
have the drive to find out if certain materials or objects
can be helpful to others, you’re have a good start.”
Tomorrow, Joey Concepcion, founding trustee of the Philippine
Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE), together with Maoi Arroyo
of Hybridigm Consulting, will lead the conferring of awards
on Dela Cruz, Mendoza-Escobar and Bernal as among Go Negosyo’s
Most Inspiring Biotechnology Entrepreneurs, at the 4th Annual
Philippine Biotechnology Venture Summit at the Ateneo School
of Medicine and Public Health Auditorium in Ortigas Avenue,
The Summit, which runs until Friday, is organized by Hybridigm
Consulting, the pioneering technology commercialization firm,
under the leadership of Maoi Arroyo. Go Negosyo has partnered
for this event, reiterating its strong commitment to recognizing
inspiring entrepreneurs throughout the country to present
them as role models, in line with PCE’s vision to create
an entrepreneurial culture in the country.
The public is invited to attend the Biotechnology Venture
Summit to discover and learn innovative business ideas and
new opportunities in the biotech field.
For more information on the Biotech Summit, call 810-8639
or log on to http://summit.philbiotech.net.