Arya Vaidya Sala joins hands with Johannesburg University in cancer research

Research in photodynamic therapy using medicinal plants expected to herald a new era in cancer treatment

Published - September 29, 2022 08:34 pm IST - MALAPPURAM

Front row researchers Dr. Blassan George (left) and Dr. Sulaiman C.T. (second from right) with CMPR project director Dr. Indira Balachandran (second from left) at Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala.

Front row researchers Dr. Blassan George (left) and Dr. Sulaiman C.T. (second from right) with CMPR project director Dr. Indira Balachandran (second from left) at Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Centre for Medicinal Plants Research (CMPR) at Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala has joined hands with the Laser Research Centre (LRC) of the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, for an innovative cancer research programme.

Being the key research arm of Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, CMPR is taking the 120-year-old Ayurveda institution to higher levels of modern research. It is collaborating with the LRC in photodynamic therapy (PDT) using medicinal plants.

A joint proposal by CMPR senior scientist Sulaiman C.T. and LRC assistant professor Blassan George, the photodynamic therapy research is likely to bring in a new era in modern cancer treatment.

Medicinal plants contain photoactive molecules which can be used for the treatment of many diseases. Photodynamic therapy is a minimally invasive, alternative and promising treatment for various diseases, including cancer, actinic keratosis, Bowen’s disease, macular degeneration, and atherosclerotic plaques.

“Photoactive compounds get activated when exposed to light of suitable wavelength and transfer energy to the living tissues exerting anticancer effect by different mechanisms of action,” said Dr. Sulaiman.

LRC, University of Johannesburg, is specialising in photodynamic therapy for cancer research under its director Heidi Abrahamse. “Photodynamic therapy using medicinal plant-based compounds is a relatively new and promising technique for managing malignant tumors. It is found to be safe in comparison with synthetic compounds,” said Dr. George.

Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala will soon sign a memorandum of association with the University of Johannesburg, said Indira Balachandran, project director of CMPR.

A scientific article published jointly by Dr. Sulaiman, Dr. George, Dr. Balachandran, and Dr. Abrahamse in a recent issue of the international journal Molecules says that medicinal plants with complex phytochemical compound mixtures have the benefit over single compound or molecules in the treatment of many diseases, including cancer, with the benefit of low toxic side effects.

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