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Siromi Samarasinghe
Works at University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Attended University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
Lived in Sri Lanka
14,675 followers|1,043,484 views
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Herbal Cancer Cure: Weeding out the Hype

A recent G+ post (https://goo.gl/pGDJUZ) claimed that artemisinin, derived from an ancient Chinese herb Artemisia annua, kills 98% of lung cancer cells in less than 16 hours. What's wrong with this claim?

◈ The comments fell into two categories: some outright disbelief If this is factual, it'd be amazing and More pseudoscience, Geesh! More common were conspiracy theories from the predictable, The W.H.O., F.D.A., C.D.C., etc. Can't patent it, so they can't make money off of it. to the bizarre, Funny thing is that the government gets their money off of cancer so I wonder if they'll make this illegal and claim it's got a side-effect that makes people experience what they would if they used Marijuana. Idk, but the government's gonna F it up somehow. Let's examine the claims and counterclaims. 

98% of cancer cells are killed by artemisinin.....in a culture dish! It's easy to kill cells in a dish -just ask my students :) These are in vitro findings. How about in vivo? Experiments done in rodents are indeed promising and have been reviewed and reported. Unfortunately, we scientists are excellent mouse doctors, and many drugs that cure cancer in mice under controlled, ideal lab conditions fail in the clinic. Does it work on humans? There are a few case reports of using artemisinin in humans. But, these are anecdotal and of limited use, since the patients were under chemotherapy anyway. What is needed are large scale randomized clinical trials with placebo controls to check if this herb is effective against cancers. Such trials cost a billion dollars and have not yet been done. 

Artemisinin has been safely tested in over 4000 patients...this claim from a doctor in a popular video (https://youtu.be/_Or8xLOGBu8) probably refers to a Phase I trial where only safety is monitored. Notice the doctor does not say if the herb was effective against cancer in these 4000 patients. 

The FDA will never approve it....wrong, because it is already an FDA-approved antimalarial drug. In fact, artemisinin in combination with other drugs is the gold standard for treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria worldwide. The WHO has negotiated with Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis to obtain the drug at cost, with no profit. 

Bottom line: Both sets of comments are off the mark! The potential of artemisinin as a cancer chemotherapeutic should not be dismissed as pseudoscience until proven otherwise. As for the conspiracy theorists, they're just wrong.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisinin #OpenAccess REF: Anticancer Effect of AntiMalarial Artemisinin Compounds. (2015) Das, AK http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25861527

#ScienceSunday  
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Good comments on the OP.
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Thanks for inviting me to join this group! I am a food chemist and my area of interest is in the chemistry of tea and antioxidants in food.
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Unbelievable! Gratitude and devotion, lessons to humans, from the canine community. I felt so touched reading this, I wanted to share with everyone who has not already read about this amazing , unbelievable story!  Many shares and reshares on G+.
I feel I should also share this, though I had my doubts at first, about it being an April fool's joke!
A group of stray dogs in Mérida, Yucatán unexpectedly showed up at the funeral of animal lover Magarita Suarez in order to pay their respects to the kind woman who cared for them when no one else w...
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Es hermoso.-
 ·  Translate
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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A fitting tribute to historic female scientists on International Women's Day.
 
How many of them do you know?
#internationalWomensDay  and #ScienceSunday  
Before Marie Curie, these women dedicated their lives to science and made significant advances
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I haven't made any significant contribution to science, but yes, I'm the proud mom of a talented scientist! Thank you +Chad Haney
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Mary Sherman Morgan, Alice Ball and Rachel Lloyd  - three chemists who have contributed  much to chemistry, but whose amazing accomplishments remained unknown to the public. One was a US rocket scientist while another discovered a better treatment for leprosy . The third is believed to be the first American female to get a PhD.
 
Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Beautifully animated video by +Reactions showing American STEM women whose contributions are largely unknown by the public. Rocket scientist Mary Sherman Morgan "single-handedly saved the American Space Program - and nobody knows it but a handful of old men." Chemist Alice Ball is responsible for the enhanced treatment of leprosy. African-American chemist Rachel Lloyd was the first woman to publish in a chemistry journal; she was the first American woman to receive a PhD in this field and the second in the world; and she was the first woman professor in a co-ed institution. 

Hosted by analytical chemist Dr Raychelle Burks!

HT +Josh Witten 
#stemwomen   #chemistry   #astronomy   #woc  
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+Thex Dar
Most likely! 
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Glasgow Botanic Gardens
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Thank you +Rekla Wickramanayake​! 
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Cancer Immunotherapy

Since I started working at +Cancer Research UK, one of the first questions I asked the Scicomms team was "why aren't you doing Google HOAs on the amazing research that CRUK funds?". Because I've had a few years of experience hosting science HOAs and because of the thriving science communities on G+ would love this, I proposed a partnership between +Science on Google+ and +Cancer Research UK to produce and host a cancer HOA. The first topic we picked was Cancer Immunotherapy. 

Working for an organisation as large as CRUK that funds some of the best research in the world allowed me to access two of the world leading experts on the topic of cancer immunotherapy. After months of coordinating with various teams in Press, Social Media, and Scicomms, we finally did it! +Ben Willcox  and +Frances Balkwill  were fantastic guests, clearly explaining how important immunotherapy is, and how it works. It was also fun to tag team the questions with my co-host +Kat Arney. In case you missed the live broadcast, you can watch the discussion on YouTube here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5McTl469Wo

Feedback would be much appreciated, because I hope this will be the first of many HOAs on cancer research. On a final note, it's been absolutely wonderful to hear from the patients and families who are directly benefiting from these new drugs (via comments on the Event Page https://goo.gl/HdRWDr). It's inspiring to hear from them, and motivates me to keep doing outreach this way. 

#ScienceEveryday   #CRUKHOA  
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Rambutan
Rambutan on my tree,  have to share with the squirrels, bats and birds. They always get the bigger share!
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No, they missed the treat! Yes, the fruits are much tastier, it's a Malaysian variety.
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New cooking method to lower calories in rice by  increasing resistant starch

Abstract of paper presented to 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS):

Obesity is an emerging health crisis in many developing countries. To find food based solutions for obesity, rice resistant starch (RS) concentrations and novel ways to increase RS concentrations were studied. A total of 38 Sri Lankan rice varieties were tested; the RS concentrations ranged from 0.30 to 4.65%. The traditional rice varieties had significantly higher RS concentrations than old and improved varieties. Bg 305 had the least RS concentration out of all. However, applying different heating and cooling conditions with pure coconut oil showed RS concentrations increased by at least 10 times. The increase in RS content could be attributed to the increase in RS3 and RS5 types, suggesting potential to increase these types of RS in rice. This study results clearly show that rice, when cooked properly, could be a good low calorie food source for obesity reduction. In-vivo glycemic effects of RS studies are in progress.

(The above findings are in the news! I am posting it as it is linked to my country, Sri Lanka. However, I am unable to find the methods the scientists have used to arrive at this conclusion and would like to read the full text of the published work before commenting further).
Public Release: 23-Mar-2015 New low-calorie rice could help cut rising obesity rates American Chemical Society IMAGE: A new, easy method for cooking rice could reduce calories by as much as 60 perc...
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It looks exquisite, congratulations
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A visit to Lunuganga, a place of peace, tranquility, and natural beauty

Lunuganga is the creation of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

Situated on the banks of the Dedduwa Lake, in Bentota, Sri Lanka, the property had been planted originally with cinnamon and then replaced with rubber over the years, before it was transformed  to the magical gardens of Lunuganga ("Salt river") by Geoffrey Bawa.

Harmonising with nature, he changed the land to the peaceful retreat it is today, where one can sit for hours amidst the giant trees and the beautiful ponds or walk in the parkland by the paddy fields appreciating the beauty of his creation.
http://goo.gl/BAsW9c

(Geoffry was the brother of Bevis Bawa, who created 'Brief', a similar refuge of lush greenery and natural beauty not far from Lunuganga.
http://goo.gl/kWYgBc)
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+Siromi Samarasinghe  that sounds like my kind of place...  Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos.
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Encouraging Women Working in the Energy Sector

Julie Rankin-Perez is the site and installation team leader for Senvion, an international manufacturer of onshore and offshore wind turbines. She shares her experience and advice, to encourage  women in the energy sector, which is still male dominated.

"It is vital that we encourage women to stay in the sector and move up into more senior positions. After all, it’s hard for young women and girls interested in engineering to imagine their own professional future without role models who look and sound more like them".

"Highlighting case studies and “ambassadors” for the industry could also help to provide role models for women. Challenging the reinforcement of traditional gender stereotypes within science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at school and university level would also be beneficial".
+STEM Women on G+ 
Working in a male-dominated sectoris still a challenge, but industry ambassadors are steadily attracting more women
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Magic Mushrooms
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People
Have her in circles
14,675 people
Sayed Ahmed's profile photo
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Barbara Seiders's profile photo
Vivek Aanand Ganesan's profile photo
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Eric Rineer's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
University lecturer
Employment
  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura
    Associate Professor in Chemistry, present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Sri Lanka - Leeds, UK
Story
Introduction
I'm a Chemistry lecturer  with a passion for science.  I teach food chemistry and courses related to phytochemistry at a leading university in Sri Lanka.  My research interests are in tea chemistry and medicinal plants. I am also interested in photography and  archaeology.
My posts are mostly on science, I contribute to Science Sunday regularly.
I also post about Archaeological sites I have visited in Sri Lanka.
I love nature and have spent most vacations visiting the wildlife parks in Sri Lanka.
Here are some links to my posts:

Nanotechnology:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/cXBzAeEmrZ3
Mathematics:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/aXvYWc4cqT5
Archeology:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/XfyEdLaYnkA



I blog at
http://thearubigin.blogspot.com/
Bragging rights
Survived the University system for 40 years.
Education
  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
    B.Sc., 1969 - 1973
  • University of Leeds, UK
    PhD, 1978 - 1980
  • Chemistry of Tea Flavanoids
Basic Information
Gender
Female