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NRI holds out hope of multi-targeted drug

Ananda M Chakrabarty hopes the drug would help treat several diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS and malaria.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2006 20:44 IST

Ananda M Chakrabarty, an American Indian scientist, is working on a multi-targeted drug that would help treat several diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS and malaria.

"I am trying to develop a multi-targeted drug that would work against several diseases like cancer malaria and HIV/AIDS. We have just applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are studying how to move forward," Chakrabarty said on Saturday.

Laboratory tests have established that the candidate drug works effectively on breast cancer and melonoma or skin cancer in case of mice, helping in shrinkage of tumour by 65-85 per cent.

Malaria tests done in a Chicago laboratory and tests on European, Indian and African strains of HIV done in a Pitsburg laboratory have also provided the hope of a cure through the use of protein produced by pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative bacterium.

"I am putting my trust on bugs to offer a complete alternative to chemotherapy in case of cancer. I would like to set up an institute in India in partnership to undertake research and develop next generation of products that will target cancers, viruses and parasites with one drug," said Chakrabarty at a lecture organised jointly by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and a pharma industry lobby.

In India to address industry bodies during a five-city tour on his vision of India as a knowledge hub, Chakrabarty urged the industry leaders to help nurture innovation.

Expressing keenness to bring his candidate drug to the market after the mandatory clearances and clinical trials, he said it might take three years and about $10 million investment to reach the first phase of human clinical trial to test it for toxicity.

The US FDA may require his newly founded company CDG Therapeutics, which holds exclusive commercial rights to the patent held by the University of Illinois at Chicago, to undertake further tests on cats and dogs before granting permission for human clinical trials.

Chakrabarty, who holds five patents in the US, is keen that the proposed Indian research centre should study whether the candidate drug would be effective for cervical cancer, which is more prevalent in India.

"If my drug passes the first stage of toxicity trial, it will be easier to gather financial support for further development," he said.