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Business News/ Science / News/  IIT-Madras researchers patent use of Indian spices to treat cancer, medicines likely to be available by 2028
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IIT-Madras researchers patent use of Indian spices to treat cancer, medicines likely to be available by 2028

The IIT-Madras researchers are currently working on addressing the safety and cost issues which are major challenges in the existing cancer medicines.

The campus of IIT Madras. Photo: PTIPremium
The campus of IIT Madras. Photo: PTI

Researchers at IIT Madras have patented Indian spice-based nanomedicines for cancer treatment, aiming for market availability by 2028.

The formulations show anti-cancer activity against lung, breast, colon, cervical, oral, and thyroid cell lines but were safe in normal cells, according to the researchers.

Additionally, the anti-cancer nanomedicines have been found safe in normal cells, they added.

"While the medical benefits of Indian spice oils have been known through the ages, their bioavailability has limited their application and use. Formulation as a nano-emulsion effectively overcomes this limitation. Stability of the nano-emulsion was a key consideration and it was optimised in our laboratory," R Nagarajan, a professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering in IIT-Madras told PTI news agency.

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Animal studies are completed successfully, with clinical trials planned.

The IIT-Madras researchers are currently working on addressing the safety and cost issues which are major challenges in the existing cancer medicines.

"We are looking at a two to three-year window for bringing the formulations to market," R Nagarajan added.

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Animal validation to adjust the dosage (GLP phase) and efficacy studies (non-GLP phase) have been carried out through funding support from IIT Madras Distinguished Alumnus Awardee and Infosys Co-Founder Gopalakrishnan through Pratiksha Trust.

Gopalakrishnan on the X platform wrote, "IIT Madras researchers patent use of Indian spices to treat cancer".

M Joyce Nirmala, Chief Scientific Officer (Cancer Nanomedicine and Drug Design Laboratory), IIT Madras, said the patented Indian spice-based nano-formulations have proven effective in many common types of cancers through in-vitro studies.

"This cancer nanomedicine is being developed to reduce the cost and pain of cancer treatment and also to overcome the toxic side effects seen in the existing cancer treatments," Nirmala added.

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The IIT Madras officials said in the last two decades, nano-oncology has shown promise as an emerging strategy in cancer therapy, diagnosis, and prevention, demonstrating positive outcomes in research and clinical trials.

Chemotherapy has been in use as a treatment strategy since 1930 with other common treatment options being radiotherapy and surgery. However, conventional treatment options are often associated with pain, toxic side effects, lack of targeting efficiency, and high cost.

"As the complete eradication of cancer remains elusive through the existing therapies, the role of nanomedicine is assuming greater importance," Nirmala added.

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Published: 27 Feb 2024, 07:36 AM IST
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