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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

UAEU research into curative properties of Manuka honey reaches new breakthrough

A research team from UAEU discovered that Manuka honey can help combat growth of several types of cancer cells

A UAE University team has found that Manuka honey effectively inhibits the growth of a variety of cancerous cells. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
A UAE University team has found that Manuka honey effectively inhibits the growth of a variety of cancerous cells. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

The beneficial health effects of high-quality honey have long been documented by researchers.

As Philip McCabe, president of the world beekeeping federation likes to say, “Honey was a medicine before medicine was even invented.”

Scholars at the United Arab Emirates University recently reached a new breakthrough in their years-long study of Manuka honey as a cancer-fighting agent.

The research team, led by Dr Basel Al-Ramadi, professor of cancer immunology at UAEU, discovered that Manuka honey — when injected as part of a medical concoction — helped combat the growth of several types of cancer cells.

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Now further investigation by the team identified particular molecular aspect of breast cancer that Manuka honey can fight, paving the way for the development of new understanding about precisely how honey can be used to battle one of the world’s most serious diseases.

“In our latest publication, we have identified — for the first time — a potential molecular target within human breast cancer cells that is inhibited by Manuka honey,” said Dr Al-Ramadi.

The specific molecular target acts as a “master switch” and regulates multiple functions of breast cancer cells, including their growth, migration and metastatic capacity. Manuka honey appears to turn off this master switch, thereby inhibiting the ability of cancer cells to survive. These new findings were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology. “Our findings will help us to further dissect the unique properties of Manuka honey and their effect on cancer growth and metastasis,” said Dr Al-Ramadi, noting the research is ongoing.