Dated Nov 7, 2022
B'luru doctor, team develop plant-based anti-cancer drug
Bengaluru: A Bengaluru-based oncologist and his team have
developed a plant-based drug for cancer treatment which has got
the ministry of Ayush's approval for administration on humans.
Dr. Vishal Rao, a surgical oncologist and Sreenivas H,
pharmacologist, department of research and development,
Venkat Pharma, have co-invented Capcan, based on the anti-cancer
properties of Simarouba plant. The technolo gy has been patented
for anticancer agents targeting glycolytic pathways.
The research-based discovery has come in for appreciation from
state biotechnology minister CN Ashwath Narayan, who is also the
district incharge minister of Ramanagara, where the Simarouba
plant is found.
"The study began in 2016, while we were working on a principle on
how cancer cells grow using a tremendous amount of sugar levels,
but by bypassing the mitochondria. The principle we developed was
approved and published in an internationally reputed journal.
The next effort was to look for a herb that displays similar
properties. There were talks of Simarouba having several
anti-cancer properties. There are 40-odd species. Pharmacologist
Sreenivasa was able to identify the right one. Ganesh S, an
organic chemistry PhD holder, suggested that the synergy of the
composition comes from complete herb extract and not solely from
its active ingredients. All these put together helped in
developing the concoction," said Dr Rao.
The team utilised the synergy of some potent herbs like aka which
prevent vomiting and improve appetite; black pepper that improves
absorption by secreting digestive Juices, tuta, the immune
modulator which decreases sugar uptake by cancer cells,
and ashwagandha which reduces tumour-associated inflammation.
The concoction has been tried on cancer cell lines outside of the
human body. The results have been very promising. What we have
achieved was a concoction having an optimal anti-cancer effect,
without disturbing the immune system, cutting the glucose
metabolism of cancer cells and reducing the chemical side effect
of chemotherapy drugs. Many European countries have expressed
interest in the product and collaborating with us. We hope to
work with patients who are terminally ill and study the effects," he said, adding that it has been
found effective for solid cancer and leukaemia.
"We achieved what we tho ught we could- killing the cancer cell,
activating the immune system and shrinking the tumour bit by bit.
It might not be as drastic as a large dose of chemotherapy. I'm
not saying it is a replacement for any of these yet. But it is
a big step in a rethinking of the approach of science, making
it more approachable and ac cessible and opening the doors for
integrated medicine where both the groups respect each other,"