It has been successfully tested on dogs. It’s now the turn of humans. In the next six to nine months, it will be official that extracts from tobacco leaves could work wonders and be the panacea to cervical cancer. That is if Director of Brown Cancer Centre, University of Louisvielle, Kentucky, Dr Donald Miller’s, invention on cervical cancer comes through.
Here to participate in the 'Second International Congress on Cervical Cancer', organised by the Mahavir Cancer Sansthan, the US-based researcher, sitting on the cusp of stardom, spoke to
about his therapeutic and preventive cervical cancer vaccine.
“Though there already is a vaccine (US $360) against cervical cancer in the US and other European countries, it is not affordable in developing countries. The vaccine I have been working on is derived from the extracts of tobacco leaves. It has been successfully tested in dogs and over the next 6-9 months, we will be moving towards human trial. If successful, which I am confident of, it will be 10 times cheaper than the vaccine already available in the US,” said Dr Miller.
Dwelling more on his research, Dr Miller said, “Small pieces of Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) were put into Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV). A small piece of HPV was then taken out of the infected tobacco plant after two weeks and purified. It was then vaccinated into the mouth of dogs and challenged by the dog version of HPV. The ones vaccinated, did not get wart in their mouth.”
After the vaccine goes through trials in humans, Dr Miller wants the transgenic tobacco to be developed in India. “You will probably require about 2000-odd acres of land for tobacco plantation to develop the vaccine locally. Let me tell you India is the best in the world to manufacture drugs because you guys are second to none,” he added.
Asked if he had sought permission from the government, Dr Miller said, “I have not had formal discussions with the Government of India but we have agreed to do the clinical trial with Dr Parth Basu in Kolkata. To work out a joint funding pattern for the clinical study and getting concurrence from both governments had taken two years. Let’s see, I am hopeful of working together in India.”