Date: 4th June 2012
University of Pune’s Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences and Serum Institute of India, in a collaborative research programme, have completed animal study on herbal vaccine, adjuvants. The project was supported by Department of Science and Technology. In another study, the Pune University along with US-based BioVed Pharmaceuticals Inc. went on to research on blood disorder properties in cancer bearing animals which is ready for commercialization.
Many new sub-unit vaccines require effective adjuvants to increase immune response and vaccine efficacy. Present adjuvants have some limitations and so the industry needs newer agents. “We developed herbal vaccine adjuvants, which may be safer and economical, Professor Bhushan Patwardhan, presently vice chancellor, Symbiosis International University and former professor, University of Pune told Pharmabiz.
The objective of the research was to understand cell protection. Serum Institute will continue for possible commercialization, he added.
Under the cancer research project in collaboration with BioVed Pharmaceuticals Inc., led by Dr Deepa Chitre, the University used chemotherapy drugs meant for lymphomas, leukaemia, lung cancer and breast cancer to screen plant-derived drugs to prevent myelo-suppression which can lead reduction in blood cells, skin texture damage and hair fall.
The study was done on activity-related extractions to identify best performing candidate for cancer drugs. One US patent is filed in the area of cancer adjuvants. This product will have significant importance in cancer therapeutics, especially to counter untoward effects of chemotherapy without compromising the anticancer activity, said Prof. Patwardhan.
The University also studied the pharmacodynamics of ashwagandha, shatavari and guduchi in experimentally induced tumours and infection mouse models, where one well-recognized cellular target for immunomodulation was Th1–Th2 balance, he added.
The findings are published as a part of research account of Dr Patwardhan covering three decades research on evidence based Ayurveda in the latest issue of Current Science Volume 102 No 10, issue dated May 25, 2012.
“Ayurveda allows drug researchers to start from time-tested and safe botanical material. The normal drug discovery course of ‘laboratory to clinics’ becomes ‘clinics to laboratories’ which is a ‘reverse pharmacology’ approach where safety is an important starting point and efficacy is a matter of validation,” stated Dr Patwardhan.
The database of Ayurveda provides information on botanicals that can best be used as single drugs in natural or processed form. It gives a range of multi-ingredient combinations from simple mixtures to complex processed dosage forms. Modern medicine uses target based single drugs, which have the distinct advantage of known pharmacokinetics, dynamics and precise dose response relationships. However, recent trends indicate use of multi-target approach, particularly in the treatment of difficult- to-treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, cancer, arthritis and the like. “Our work has helped establish the pharmaco-epidemiological evidence base through systematic documentation and analysis. We have also addressed quality control and regulatory issues relevant to botanical drugs,” he said.
In the future, modern medicine could be based on such ancient time-tested remedies, developed using advanced technologies from the West. Traditional medicine-inspired drug discovery and development is therefore considered to be an efficient, faster and affordable strategy, said Dr Patwardhan.