Three teachers from the Faculty of Pharmacy of The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda have been granted a patent for the invention of a steroidal chemical entity, a 4-Androsten compound, which has proved effective as an anti-cancer derivative to be used in breast cancer as per preliminary experiments.
Professor MR Yadav, Dr Prafulla Sabale and Dr Prashant Murumkar applied for the patent in 2010. According to tests conducted in Germany, the new chemical entity has proved effective in inhibiting the aromatis enzyme from forming the female hormones which aid in the growth of cancerous cells, and in inhibiting their growth through an in-vitro cancerous cell line testing. These inhibitors are further categorised as steroidal and non-steroidal drugs and currently, there are more non-steroidal drugs in the market.
“One major side effect is osteoporosis which makes the bones fragile and weak, and the other is that it makes the body resistant to drugs. There is just one steroidal drug available in the market and our idea was to develop another steroidal compound, a new chemical entity as an anti-cancer derivative, minus the side effects,” said Prof Yadav.
In the next lap, a toxicity test will be conducted, followed by a test on an animal to study any kind of side effects on the body of a living organism. Finally, a clinical testing on a healthy human volunteer will be conducted to ascertain the effect of the derivative on the entire body apart from just the cancerous cells. The entity can then be introduced as a drug in the market.
Leading oncologist from Vadodara, Dr Rajesh Korant said, “Steroidal drugs in case of breast cancer also act as immunosuppressive agents and so have no visible side effects. Therefore, it is important that more of such drugs come up for treating cancer, which eliminate side effects and are effective in terms of treatment as well.”