28 Feb 2024

Can cancer medication be derived from common Indian spices?

Chennai: Cancer, a globally pervasive and severe disease, witnesses new cases every year with its treatment remaining elusive, leading to unfortunate fatalities. Despite the challenges, ongoing efforts persist in the pursuit of a cure for cancer.

In a significant development, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has claimed through research that cancer medication can be derived from common Indian spices found in every kitchen. Clinical trials for this groundbreaking discovery are set to commence shortly, with the potential availability of these medicines in the market by 2028.

Insights from the Research

Chief Scientific Officer of IIT Madras, Joyce Nirmala, shares insights into the research, revealing that medicines prepared from Indian spices could substantially eliminate common cancers. The research demonstrates spices have anti-cancer properties and they can fight various types of cancers, including lung, breast, colon, cervical, oral, and thyroid cancer. Importantly, these spices exhibit safety in normal cells. The upcoming trials will determine the appropriate dosage for patients.

Affordable and Side-Effect-Free Medication

Joyce Nirmala, Chief Scientific Officer of IIT Madras, emphasizes the current side effects associated with cancer treatment and outlines the institute's goal to develop an affordable, low-side-effect cancer treatment. 

Given that India is the largest producer of spices globally, the cost-effective preparation of these medicines is a priority. The aim is to administer these medicines orally rather than through injections, making it more convenient for patients. Professor R Nagarjan mentions that positive results in animal studies have paved the way for advancing to the clinical trial phase.

Alarming Cancer-Related Deaths

In 2020, cancer ranked as the second leading cause of death globally, claiming the lives of approximately one crore people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In India, the number of cancer-related deaths increased from 7 lakh 70 thousand in 2020 to 8 lakh 8 thousand in 2022, highlighting the escalating gravity of the situation. The statistics underscore the urgency for innovative and effective treatments to curb the escalating impact of cancer on global health.

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