Arkansas's leading crop could help save lives

Arkansas's leading crop could help save lives
Rice Crop (Source: KAIT)
Rice Crop (Source: KAIT)

FAYETTEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas leads the nation in rice production, which has always been beneficial in feeding our communities.

But as of a few years ago, research might prove rice to be more than just food.

Dr. Navam Hettiarachchy is a professor at the University of Arkansas and is leading a team in the research of rice bran, a byproduct of rice that is typically used as low-cost animal feed.

"Organic substances in rice bran have potent anti-cancer capabilities and can potentially be used in food ingredients both for preventive and treatment purposes against the disease," Dr. Hettiarachchy said.

Meteorologist Rachel Coulter spoke with a local rice farmer, Josh Cureton, to hear what he had to say about the crop's potential.

"Rice farmers are already proud about feeding the world and feeding the country," Cureton said. "But, if we find out that we are also able to help in the fight against cancer, which is a disease that touches all of us, all of our communities and all of our families, that's even something else to be proud of."

The research team from the University of Arkansas is looking to begin clinical studies as more funding comes in.

They look to develop this cancer-fighting substance into a low-cost, natural drug that can be used not only here in Arkansas, but across the globe.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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