She said the drug works like a detonator inside tumours, prompting inactive beneficial white cells to begin to fight and destroy the cancer.

The company has spent six years developing the drug since the previously unknown molecule in the native Australian plant blushwood was discovered, and hopes to raise enough funds to begin human trials in 2011.

Gordon said the compound proves the value of retaining Australia's tropical rainforests.

"The world's rainforests are an amazing biological resource ...


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