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Search on for cancer cure in frog skin

Just as a regular jab of insulin helps control your blood sugar, a weekly jab of frog-skin protein could help control your cancerous tumour. Jaya Shroff Bhalla reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 15, 2011 23:20 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

Just as a regular jab of insulin helps control your blood sugar, a weekly jab of frog-skin protein could help control your cancerous tumour.

Scientists at Queen's University Belfast (QUB) have tied up with National Institute of Immunology (NII) in New Delhi to carry forward the researches to unlock the anti-cancer potential in frog skin.

So far, QUB and NII have put in Rs 7.6crore for this joint research programme.

Professor Chris Shaw at Queen's School of Pharmacy at QUB has discovered peptides- small proteins in frog skin, which holds the promise to treat cancerous tumours. Dr Shaw has identified peptides, which can be used in a controlled and targeted way to regulate 'angiogenesis'-the process by which blood vessels grow in the body. This could hold the key to treat most cancers-breast, ovary, colon, cervical, uterine, lung to name a few.

"Trials on mice and chicken embryos have shown excellent results. Regular jabs of these peptides in the animals impeded the growth of blood vessels in tumours," said Dr Shaw.

"Most cancer tumours can only grow to a certain size, usually 3 mm, before they need blood vessels to grow into the tumour to supply it with oxygen and nutrients. Stopping the blood vessels from growing stops the tumour from spreading and eventually kills it," he said.

"Unlike the traditional cancer therapies that have a lot of side effects, this therapy is targeted and made of natural protein, which is 99% non-toxic and shows high efficacy without lateral damage," he said.

"NII has entered into an agreement with QUB for the next stage of the research, where we will characterise these peptides to test their anti-cancer potential in human clinical cancer cell lines," said Professor Avadhesha Surolia, director, NII.