- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) - An assistant professor of biology at Western Kentucky University-Owensboro is looking at the use of plants in the battle against cancer.

Chandra Emani told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1BEIMyv) that he hopes to find a potential cure for the disease using plant-based medicines.

Currently, he and his research team are working with basil, ginger, neem and tobacco.

“All of these plants have metabolites in them, something that the plants make, but they have been shown to have some action against cancer,” Emani said.

He said individual extracts from the plants have been tested. He said those are being tested against pancreatic, colon, lung, cervical and breast cancers and “we saw they have an action across the board.”

Emani received a doctorate degree in plant molecular biology and genetics in India. He came to the United States in 1997 and worked at Texas A&M; University on plant genetic engineering.

In 2010, Emani joined the new WKU-O campus, and he also acts as a liaison between WKU and area biotech industries.

“The reason I came to Owensboro was the unique opportunity for me not just to teach in the classroom, but be a collaborator with real world biotechnology industries like Kentucky Bioprocessing or work with the hospital,” he said. “This kind of synergy is not seen. It’s very rare between universities and the real world.”

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Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com

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