Technology transferred to a Hyderabad-based laboratory: scientist

A promising anti-cancer drug developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is likely to be commercially launched soon, a senior DRDO scientist said on Monday.

Interacting with reporters on the sidelines of an international conference on radiation biology hosted by Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) and the Indian Society for Radiation Biology (ISRB), B.S. Dwarakanath, scientist with DRDO said the 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose (2-DG) drug had cleared three clinical trials (Phase I, II and III) and also been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India.

“The drug is now in an advanced stage of evaluation by a panel of the Indian Council of Medical Research for investigational new drugs and is likely to be cleared for market launch soon,” Dr. Dwarakanath said.

The technology has already been transferred to a Hyderabad-based laboratory.

The 2-DG holds out immense hope as an adjuvant compound, or an agent to be applied in combination with chemotherapy and radiation in the treatment of cancers, Dr. Dwarakanath said. The drug, similar in molecular structure to glucose, acts by altering the glucose mechanism of the body and denying sustenance to cancer cells that voraciously feed on glucose than oxygen.

Earlier, inaugurating the conference, M. Natarajan, former scientific adviser to the Defence Minister and DRDO secretary, called for more research on developing early bio-markers in the evaluation and treatment of cancer. Stressing the need to develop innovative technologies for diagnosis through radio-biology research, Dr. Natarajan also highlighted the importance of evolving a base of trained researchers.

“We need to motivate young medical and other stream graduates as well as post graduates to undertake quality research,” he said.

In his key-note address, Mark Melanson, Director, armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, U.S., underlined the importance of global collaboration in maximising the beneficial uses of radiation while eliminating its harmful effects.

He pointed out that radiation was one of the most-studied and best understood of all human health hazards due to the century-old research efforts of the international scientific community.

P.K. Goyal, ISRB president, said one of the goals of the three-day conference was to appeal for a global effort from cancer centres to take the latest developments of radiation biology and oncology to the common man.

Mansoor M. Ahmed, event chairman, said cancer treatment was heading into an exciting era with discovery of important elements and with the spotlight turning to cancer-initiating cells.

S.P. Thyagarajan, SRU Pro-Chancellor (Research), said recent advances in radiation biology had led to newer cancer treatment strategies that held out possibilities for improving quality of life and minimising side-effects.

S.C. Chetal, Director, Research Engineering Group, IGCAR, Kalpakkam, said most beneficial spinoffs from radiation science had been in the field of nuclear medicine.

SRU Chancellor V.R. Venkataachalam, S. Rangaswami, Vice-Chancellor and K.V. Somasundaram, Dean of Faculties participated.