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Bhopal Varsity Claims Breakthrough in Cancer Drug, Patent Pending

Bhopal-based Rajiv Gandhi Proudhyogiki Vishwavidyalaya (RGPV) vice-chancellor Piyush Trivedi and his Ph.D. student, C Karthikeyan, have claimed to have achieved breakthrough in cancer drug development killing cancer cells without damaging normal cells and that they have applied for a patent in the United States.

They claimed to have conducted pre-clinical trials and found the drug effective in killing several cancers in human body. In his media interaction on Monday, Prof Trivedi explained that they have collaborated with Dr Hoyun Lee at Advanced Medical Research Institute, Canada for over 10 years.

The anti-cancer molecules named CTR-17 and CTR-20 elicits anti-cancer activity involving obstruction of cancer cell division by inhibition of tubulin, a key protein in cellular functions. Unlike other inhibitors, “the molecules CTR-17 and CTR-20 selectively kill cancer cells and is also effective against multidrug-resistant cancer cells,” he said.

The CTR-17 and CTR-20 increase the life span of animals affected with tumor manifold by inducing tumor regression in mice models without showing any long-term adverse effects and molecules showed strong synergistic effects in combination with paclitaxel ( anticancer drug) on multidrug-resistant cells, he noted.

“The overall data generated shows that the CTR compounds tested, alone or in combination with paclitaxel, possess strong antitumor activity without notable ill-effects to animals observed warranting clinical trials to establish its safety and efficacy in humans,” said Prof. Trivedi.

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Dr Hoyun Lee

In Canada, Prof. Lee from the Regional Cancer Program, Sudbury Regional Hospital, Northern Ontario in Canada has collaborated with 10 other scientists including Karthikeyan to facilitate research and development of anticancer therapeutics since 2008.

Effectively and selectively eliminating tumour cells without causing undesirable side-effects to normal cells is one of the most difficult challenges of cancer therapy. Since certain cellular signals are highly elevated in tumour cells (but not in normal cells), blocking these “cancer-specific” signals can be an effective way of controlling cancer.

However, this approach is often not very efficient because selectively blocking a signal can usually be achieved only at low concentrations of the blockers, at which doses the efficacy of cancer-cell killing is low. Using chloroquine, an inexpensive anti-malarial and -rheumatoid drug, they realized to effectively sensitize cancer-cell killing by other agents. Importantly, chloroquine does not, in most cases, sensitize normal-cell killing by cancer drugs. “We also take repurposing and repositioning approaches to increase drug efficacy and specificity,” said Lee on his faculty website.

The combined study is under publication with the team of authors including Kuldeep Patel, Chandrabose Karthikeyan, Viswas Raja Solomon, N.S. Hari Narayana Moorthy, Hoyun Lee, Kapendra Sahu, Girdhar Singh Deora and Piyush Trivedi, titled “Synthesis of some coumarinyl chalcones and their antiproliferative activity against breast cancer cell lines”, in Letters in Drug Design & Discovery.

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