One can only imagine how many medicinal uses there lie in the rainforests. Moreover, many of the medicines that originate from the tropical rainforests possess anti-cancer medicinal properties. To date, the U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. Seventy percent (70 %) of these plants are found in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest.
Vincristine, extracted from the rainforest plant, periwinkle, is one of the world's most powerful anticancer drugs. It has dramatically increased the survival rate for acute childhood leukemia since its discovery. In addition, vinblastine is also derived from periwinkle. These two drugs have achieved 99% remission for leukemia and 80% for Hodgkin's Disease. Some cases have found complete cures for the latter disease. This compares to 19% remission rates for the deadly disease before the usage of vincristine.