A safer but highly effective medicine to treat almost all forms of cancer is being developed in India.
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore has joined hands with Australian Victoria’s Deakin University to to conduct research on a new generation cancer drug.
The new drug will be developed as part of the research project which focuses on a drug delivery to target cancer-initiating cells with less side-effects in patients compared to the currently available treatments.
“Our aim is to develop a safe and novel drug delivery system that hits the cancer at its core, and kills the cells responsible for the resistance to current therapies and the recurrence of the disease. The objective is to develop a ‘smart bomb’ that can penetrate the cell and release the drugs within the cells, rather than from the outside, and kills the whole tumour, root and all”, Wei Duan, Associate Professor and the project leader and researcher, Deakin’s Medical School has stated.
If successful, the new drug will help take a step forward in significantly improving the survival rate and quality of life of cancer patients.
The new precision-guided cancer therapy will have less side-effects, decreased toxicity to normal cells and increased treatment effectiveness. It also has potential for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
The new drug project is viewed as a first-of-its- kind initiative with India to explore the power of ‘aptamer’ technology for cancer treatment in the country.
The new drug will be suitable in the treatment of all cancers except leukemia, stated Duan.
A total of four researchers representing India and the State of Victoria are part of the study. Therefore two professors from IISc and two professors from Deakin University are the lead researchers in the project. There will be a total of more than 20 researchers participating in this project overall.
The researchers expect to have an effective “smart bomb” successfully tested in laboratories, by the end of three years.
Another five yeras will be required for the eventual entry of the prospective drug into oncology clinics as the standard timeframe to bring a drug from lab into market is 10 years.
Even though safer and targeted cancer killig drugs are its mainstay, the IISc- Deakin collaboration also plans to develop potential treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease and diabetes.
The 3 year research project is under the Indo-Australian Science and Technology Fund. A grant of $2.7 billion project is granted by the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF).