CANCER patients are offering themselves as human guinea pigs as researchers investigate a possible cure for cancer found in north Queensland rainforests.
Scientists have identified a compound in the fruit of the native blushwood shrub that appears to "liquefy and destroy cancer with no side-effects", according to latest research.
Found deep in the remnants of a 130 million-year-old rainforest, the fruit extract may yet hold the secret antidote to Australia's No.1 killer disease.
Victoria Gordon, of EcoBiotics, an Atherton Tableland-based company, said they hoped to go to human clinical trials later this year.
Dr Gordon said a single dose injection of the extract, known as EBC-46, had been effective in 50 critically ill dogs and about a dozen cats and horses.
"This is proving to be something exceptional," she said.
"The tumour literally liquefies.
"There is a rapid knock-down of the tumour, it disintegrates within 24 hours and we have a rapid healing response.
"The biggest tumour we treated was the size of a Coke can in a dog, and that animal is fully healed and healthy."
Dr Gordon said it had worked on skin cancers, such as carcinomas and melanomas, and bone cancer, and was a possible treatment for breast, colon and prostate cancer.
But she warned wannabe human guinea pigs against seeking under-the-table treatment.
She said it was "immoral, illegal, and unscientific" to seek to be administered the drug before approval, likely to take up to seven years, by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
"We have been inundated with calls – it shows there is such a need for a breakthrough in anti-cancer treatment," she said. "Most people understand when we explain the situation."
Former breast cancer sufferer Mena Crew, 65, said many dying of cancer would "do anything for a miracle cure".
"We would all like a magic cure, that would be wonderful, and I hope in my lifetime we find it," the breast cancer support volunteer said.
She has worked with more than 200 sufferers and some victims in her role with the Cancer Council Queensland.
"I don't want to kill the enthusiasm of all the wonderful research, but until it is proven it will do the job, we recommend they go with proven and conventional treatments," she said.
"It is good, however, to think the secret antidote may be growing in the jungle above Cairns."