Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2019 2020
Previous Archive
14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

UFS researcher explores the future cost of cancer
2017-01-10

 Description: 001 Dr Alicia Sherriff Tags: 001 Dr Alicia Sherriff

Dr Alicia Sherriff, Head the Department of Oncology
at the UFS Faculty of Health Sciences, co-authored
an article in the South African Medical Journal.

Photo: Charl Devenish

Cancer is on an exponential rise globally, and the cost of treatment is a growing international problem. South Africa alone is expected to see a 78% increase in cancer cases. Dr Alicia Sheriff, Head of the Department of Oncology, collaborated on and co-authored a research paper for the South African Medical Journal on the future of oncology treatment in the country, along with doctors from various universities across South Africa. The article, titled "The future cost of cancer: interdisciplinary cost management strategy", looks at the prognosis of cancer management in the country.

Cancer is on the rise

There is a visible growth of the cancer disease in the developing world. Rapidly changing lifestyles, uncontrolled urbanisation, pollution, and population ageing are some dynamics that provide a lethal cocktail of infectious and lifestyle risk factors that leave people at a higher risk of developing cancer.

The simultaneous increase in cancer incidence has increased the cost of treatment exponentially. The cost of cancer treatment is multitiered, making the provision of care for cancer patients a high-risk business. A combination of treatment delays, limited resources, differently skilled personnel, high patient volumes and advanced disease stage on presentation all place a bigger burden on the delivery of optimal cancer care outcomes.

Adoption of new strategies

According to the doctors, innovative thinking to embrace technology, combined with a preventive approach, as well as lowering the cost of treatment drugs should be prioritised. So should the commercialisation of new technologies that will diagnose and treat cancer in its early stages. They also encourage interdisciplinary research funding in South Africa as a way to better understand the demographic and molecular dynamics of cancer in the country, along with retaining more oncologists in the public health sector.

Efficient solutions to curb cancer mortality

The doctors assert there is a need to continue to look for more efficient measures to best treat the disease, and hopefully bring about a change in mortality levels in South Africa.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept