NIT-Warangal team develops cancer drug

If all goes well, there could be a cheaper drug – 50% less than the existing drugs – and with less side effects for treatment of Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) available in the next three-four years developed by the faculty and research scholars at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) here.

ALL also known as Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow and is characterised by an overproduction of immature white blood cells. Now, the team is in the process of preparing documents to file for the patent on behalf of the institute and once granted, it could go on mass production after clinical trials and further testing.

Speaking to
The Hindu
, associate professor of Biotechnology R. Satish Babu said they isolated L-Asparaginese and L-Glutaminase – two enzymes from Tulasi leaf extract. “We have isolated 40 endophytes and analysed and identified
basillus statosphericus
,” he explained. The samples were sent to the 16S rRNA analysis to identify the endophytes. Out of these microbes one was identified as
bacillus stratosphericus
. This microbe can be used for bio-electricity generation and also able to produce two commercially important enzymes – L-Asparaginase and L-Glutaminase. These enzymes are used to cure ALL. Confirmations test were done for production. Then media was designed for the production of these enzymes.

Further, these enzymes were produced, purified and tested on cancer cell lines and got the best results and work was has been published in
Enzyme and Microbial Technology
, a journal by ELSEVIER an information and analytics company and one of the world’s major providers of scientific, technical, and medical information.

Dr. Babu and his research scholar Chandra Sai Potla Durthi, and Ms. Madhuri Pola have worked for four years to isolate the enzymes for their efficacy. Dr. Babu said they found the drug with less side effects and affordable. “The less side effects are due to the high enzyme activity,” he said. Temporarily named Starto Asper and Strato Gluta, the two enzymes, once ready for commercial production, would cost between Rs. 500-600 per injection compared to Rs. 1,000-3,000 of the existing brands, said Dr. Babu.

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