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Prof. Jaipaul Singh

“Effect of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) extract, kuguacin-J, alpha, beta momorcharin and commercial anti-cancer drugs on several different cancer cell lines in vitro”

By Prof. Jaipaul Singh 

The incidence of cancer is increasing globally in spite of the development of new anti- cancer therapies. One approach in preventing and treating cancer is to employ naturally available products isolated from local plants. With the incidence of cancer on the incline, together with the unwanted side effects accompanying conventional commercial drug chemotherapy, there are growing interests and needs into the discovery and development of new cancer therapeutic agents from plant-derived sources. One such plant is Momordica charantia, which has antiviral, antibacterial, antidiabetic, anti- obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulant properties. This project employed an ethanol extract of M charantia and two of its isolated compounds namely: alpha, beta momorcharin (a ribosome-inactivated protein and Kuguacin J (a triterpenoid) for their anti-cancer properties against a number of cancer cell lines including MCF-7, MDAMB-231 (breast cancer cells) and U87, 1321NI, GOS-3 and Weri-Rb1 (glioma cells) compared to healthy control cells, L6 skeletal muscle cells and MCF-10A cells for comparison. Conventional commercial anti–cancer drugs such as cisplatin, vinblastine and temozolamide were also used in tandem for comparison. Both time course and dose depend –experiments were performed with either drug alone on in combination measuring cell viability, cytochrome –c, caspases and intracellular calcium concentrations using established methods. The rationale for the combined treatment is that a high dose of a natural compound combined with a low dose of a commercial drug may be safer and less expensive to treat cancers without killing healthy cells in the body. The results show that the alcohol extract of M charantia and all the drugs tested were able to kill the different cancer cells within 24-48 hours compared to healthy control cells or untreated cells. The killing effect was apparently due to an insult to the cell mitochondria resulting in the release of cytochrome–c, enhanced activity of caspase and overloading of cellular calcium. A combination of the different drugs did not show either an additive or a potentiating killing effect. Further experiments are required using different doses of the drugs during combination in order to get 100% cell death, at least for the glioma cells. In relation to MDAMB-231 breast cancer cells, either the alcohol extract or the different anti-cancer drugs either alone or in combination exerted 100% cell death.


Prof. Jaipaul Singh is well known worldwide for his original research work on diabetic mellitus, heart and exocrine glands.  

Since 2002,  He has been involved mainly with research and training of postgraduate research students in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (60 students) and the School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences (100 + students). As Research Degree Tutor (RDT), his responsibility is to recruit, admit and guide the postgraduate students throughout their research degree career with the help of their specific supervisors. He is responsible for all governance issues involve in research training, supervision, examination and successful completion. He also collaborate with several research laboratories nationally and internationally.

He has published 23 reviews, 22 book chapters, over 185 original manuscripts and 230 refereed abstracts. He has supervised 62 postgraduate research students successfully for PhD (42), MD (1), MPhil (2) and MSc by Research (17). Currently, He is supervising 3 PhD students and 1 Mc by Research. He also examined over 55 postgraduate research students for the MSc by research, MPhil, MD and PhD. He is also the field editor for 3 scientific journals and a member of several professional scientific societies.