Professor Isa Hussain, a lecturer in Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), has called on Nigeria to increase investment in Research and Development (R& D) to encourage indigenous innovation.
He made the call on the sidelines of Research Prize Awards and Dinner organised by the International Institute for Training, Research and Economic Development (IITRED) in Abuja.
Hussaini, who won an IITRED award prize for medical research, said that “if Research and Development must grow in Nigeria, there is need for Federal Government to fund research because the process requires lots of money and universities cannot do it on their own.
“The National Institute of Health in U.S. spends about 30 billion dollars every year on medical research, but if Nigeria can spend even one billion dollars on research in universities, it will solve a whole lot of problems.”
The lecturer explained that his research focused on the use of medical plants to manage different types of cancer.
He said “our research looked at the efficacy and toxicity of Nigerian medicinal plants on various forms of cancer, including brain tumour, cervical cancer and breast cancer.
“We discovered about 10 medicinal plants that are less toxic and very effective in killing breast cancer cells and brain tumor, which are more effective than chemotherapy given in hospitals.
“We evaluated the toxicity level of the plants, tried them in humans and found to be very effective.”
One of such plants was Ximenia Americana, which he said IITRED was in the process of filing a patent for the use of the medicinal plant for the treatment of breast cancer and brain tumor, in collaboration with the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).
He, however decried difficulty in sourcing for authentic reagents in the country, saying it was a major challenge.
He, however, noted that the researchers by-passed by sourcing reagents from England and the U.S.A.
He expressed delight in the award he recieved, adding that it would give credence to R&D in the country and in the global community.
Dr Ibrahim Hussaini, Director-General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, received the IITRED Fellowship award.