RGCB develops cure for skin cancer

Medicine is from leaves of local plant

August 14, 2015 12:00 am | Updated November 17, 2021 12:34 am IST - Thrissur:

Scientists of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) have claimed to have isolated a medicine for human skin cancer from the leaves of the indigenous plant Wrightia tinctoria (commonly called Dantha pala, Swetha kutaja ).

An active fraction isolated from the leaves of Dantha pala , a common plant seen in villages, is found to be very potent against malignant melanoma, which is an aggressive form of human skin cancer affecting the cells producing melanin (a pigment that gives skin its colour), said Ruby John Anto, scientist with the Cancer Research Programme at the RGCB, who led the research team. Malignant melanoma has only limited chemotherapeutic treatment options, she added.

Dantha Pala is known in Ayurveda for its ability to cure various skin-related ailments, including psoriasis and herpes. It is a major component of almost all Ayurvedic preparations against skin diseases.

But, its anti-cancer property has been reported for the first time,” Ms. Anto pointed out. A team of research fellows, including Jayesh Antony, Minakshi Saikia, and post-doctoral fellow V. Vinod of the RGCB, under the guidance Ms. Anto, has isolated a formulation, christened as DW-F5, which has the ability to induce a suicidal cell death programmme, known as apoptosis, in melanoma cells. The programme inhibits crucial melanoma-specific cell survival signals operating in it. The research group was helped by M.S.R. Murthy and his group from the IICT, Hyderabad.


“We initiated the research after the suggestion by naturopath Dr. Reni M.K. about the result of treatment using Danta Pala for various skin problems, including cancer,” said Ms. Anto. The team has filed for a patent for their finding.

Dantha Pala is known in Ayurveda for its ability to cure various skin-related ailments, including psoriasis and herpes.

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