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Human trials may reveal efficacy of new Rs 100 cancer pill: Doctors

IANS Feb 29, 2024

Only human trials will help understand the efficacy of the new Rs 100 pill developed to prevent the recurrence of cancer, said doctors on Feb 28.

According to a report by NDTV, researchers at the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) in Mumbai claimed to have discovered a treatment to prevent relapse of cancer that would cost only Rs 100.

The study on the experimental model showed that the pill, named 'R+Cu', containing a pro-oxidant combination of resveratrol and copper, generated oxygen radicals in the stomach to curb cancer recurrence.

The experimental model study “is not a substitute for established treatments, which continue to result in cures in a substantial proportion of cancer patients,” Dr Shyam Aggarwal, Chairman, of the Department of Medical Oncology, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital told IANS.

In a post on X, Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, Co-Chairman National IMA Covid Task Force called it “an exaggerated claim”. While calling the research “interesting, praiseworthy”, he said it cannot be seen as a “cancer cure.”

Dr Shyam Aggarwal explained that the research shows the effect of cell-free chromatin (fragments of chromosomes released from cancer cells after chemotherapy) on normal tissues causing a cascade of inflammation leading to side effects such as mucositis, low blood counts, etc.

“Use of a combination of copper and resveratrol (a commercially-available nutraceutical) has been shown to degrade circulating cell-free chromatin, leading to reduction of toxicity in some human studies. Other human studies are underway,” he said.

The study claims that the pill can halve the side effects caused by chemotherapy, while also reducing the odds of getting cancer by 30 per cent.

The researchers “used a pro-oxidant combination of copper and resveratrol (found in peanuts, cocoa, grapes) known to damage DNA by generating oxygen radicals,” Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan wrote in his post on X.

“Whether this will translate into real-world outcomes for people with cancer (beyond the experimental model), what toxicities could occur from its pro-oxidant, DNA-damaging effect is yet to be determined,” he said.

However, Dr Rahul Bhargava, Principal Director & Chief BMT, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, called it “a great breakthrough in the field of medical research. Indian researchers are creating history. If the drug works, it will be a great benefit for cancer patients.”

“The tablet is promising and shows potential to be effective, but human trials are yet to be completed, which could take about five years,” he told IANS.

The tablet is awaiting approval from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and is expected to be available in the market by June-July.

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