Artist’s creative interpretation of xanthine oxidase molecule known to be the “metabolic pathway for uric acid formation” and is associated with gouty arthritis afflicting many Filipinos. INSET PHOTOS (FROM TOP): Manifestations of gout: swelling, pain, inflammation of a single joint, usually at the big toe but can also affect other extremities like the fingers. An NRCP funded research project found that cadena de amor (Antigonon leptopus), a common and abundant vine in the Philippines contain chemical agent that inhibit formation of xanthine oxidase. Ms. Mavis Colleen Fabian, a project team member, receives on behalf of her research team a plaque of appreciation from NRCP Vice President and Medical Sciences Chair Dr. Isidro C. Sia (R) and Executive Director Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay (L), during the NRCP Health Sciences Forum and Conferment of the 2015 Dr. Eusebio Y. Garcia Recognition Award 7 December 2015 at the Bayleaf Hotel Intramuros, Manila. (Photo credit:;; Flickr Ronald Cosep; and Val A. Zabala, NRCP - RIDD).

A team of NRCP researchers found a new chemical compound from Antigonon leptopus  (cadena de amor) and Mimosa pudica  (makahiya) that is effective against xanthine oxidase -- the main complex chemical produced by human cells that causes gout.   Gout is a disease triggered by an unsuccessful breakdown of uric acid.  This leads to inflammation and swelling of bone joints especially in the smaller bones of the feet, accumulation of chalkstones, with episodes of acute pain.

The NRCP research team headed by Dr. Christine C. Hernandez, named the chemical compound they successfully isolated from cadena de amor’s crude extract as the anti-gout agent AF0501.  Dr. Hernandez said that agent AF0501 has great potential to control and deter xanthine oxidase.  This positive result encouraged them to do in-vivo and toxicity studies to makahiya’s crude extract which they also found to have exhibited prevention of uric acid formation.

Dr. Vina Rose A. Dahilig, Dean of Emilio Aguinaldo College of Pharmacy lauded this research work which she said has a promising breakthrough in finding alternative sources to treat hyperuricemia and holds a “key” in addressing the challenges in the therapeutic management of gout. The standard treatment for acute flares of gout includes: the use of colchicines, the most common treatment procedure but is considered toxic; NSAIDs; and other urate-lowering therapies like probenecid.  But these may be restricted in those with limited renal reserve, she added.