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Turmeric inspires discovery of anti-cancer molecules

Bhopal: A state-run university in Bhopal discovered anti-cancer molecules after being inspired by the healing properties of turmeric, which have been tried and tested for generations. This breakthrough is a revolutionary way forward in cancer treatment.

The Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya (RGPV) has also applied for a US patent of the discovery of the anti-cancer molecules code-named CTR-17 and CTR-20, informed Vice Chancellor Piyush Trivedi and his doctoral student Dr C Karthikeyan to news agencies on Monday.

“Inspired by the healing properties of turmeric, which is available in every household and considered as an effective antiseptic and given almost to everyone for treating various ailments, we have studied it deeply for almost 10 long years and discovered a molecule based on our findings which has magical effects on treating cancer during pre-clinical trials,” said Trivedi.

He added that this molecule only targets cancerous cells without damaging the others. So, unlike chemotherapy, the process had no side effects.

“The molecules code named CTR-17 and CTR-20 elicits anticancer activity through a mechanism which involves obstruction of cancer cell division by inhibition of tubulin, a protein which is important for many important cellular functions, including chromosome segregation during cell division, intracellular transport, development and maintenance of cell shape, cell motility and distribution of molecules on cell membranes,” explained Karthikeyan, who was a part of the research since the beginning.

Trivedi added that 22 other molecules had also been discovered, which produced good results in clinical trials, and would be a blessing for cancer patients.

The research was carried out in collaboration with Canada-based Advanced Medical Research Institute’s Dr Hyoun Lee’s team. After pre-clinical trials, the clinical trials are also slated to be held there on mice.

“Studies in the lab have also showed that CTR-17 and CTR-20 increased the life span of animals affected with tumour manifold by including tumour regression in mice models without showing any long-term adverse effects, especially less toxicity,” said Trivedi.

Furthermore, if combined with another anti-cancer drug in clinical use – ‘paclitaxel’, a strong synergistic effect is seen. Alone or combined, the molecules have shown strong anti-tumour activity.

“This is a significant discovery especially in the present context when cancer has become world’s dreaded killer disease accounting for 8.2 million deaths (around 13 per cent of all deaths) in 2012 as per the World Cancer Report and scientists embattling cancer are on the lookout for newer effective and safer drugs for anticancer therapy,” Trivedi added.

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