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Research leads
Significant Research Leads of the Completed Projects Supported By DBT and Technology Transferred
Various immunomodulatory compounds have been isolated from plants:
  • Piper longum
  • Azadirachta indica
  • Tinospora cordifolia
  • Berberis aristata
Significant lead compounds have been isolated and identified from Momordica charantia (anti-diabetic novel peptide) and Azadirachta indica (anti-gastric, hyper-acidity and ulcer agents).
Leads have been patented. Efforts have been initiated for cloning of gene for novel anti-diabetic peptide and also for technology transfer of anti-gastric/hyperacidity agents to the industry.
Significant anti-oxidant properties in methonalic extract of bark of arjun (Terminalia arjuna) has been established. It confers protection against oxidative stress associated with subsequent myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury.
Two lead medicinal plant extracts (PS-01 and PS-02) have inhibitory effect on HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT) under in vitro conditions. Preliminary studies suggest lymphoproliferative and immunomodulatory potency of PS-02. Initial efforts have been made towards developing an herbal product. The following five technologies have been transferred to the industry:
  • An immunomodulatory agent (berberin) from Berberis aristata to be used for septic shock in burn patients (NII, New Delhi to M/S Gufic Biosciences Ltd., Mumbai)
  • An improved agrotechnology for cultivation of Artemisia annua cv. Jeevan Raksha (CIMAP, Lucknow to M/S IPCA Laboratories Ltd., Mumbai). The industry has already started cultivation of A. annua cv. Jeevan Raksha in Uttaranchal state.
  • A nutraceutical product having immunomodulatory properties (Anna University, Chennai to M/S Parry Nutraceuticals Ltd., Chennai)
  • Improved polyherbal formulation for management of atherosclerosis (BHU, Varanasi to M/S Surya Pharmaceuticals, Varanasi)
  • Elite hybid lines of Mucuna pruriens with improved yield and high L-Dopa content (Zandu Foundation for Health Care, Vapi, Gujarat to M/S Zandu Pharmaceuticals, Mumbai). The cultivation of these improved lines have been started by farmers in Gujarat with by-back arrangement with M/S Zandu Pharmaceuticals, Mumbai.
Other signification achievements on the completed projects are:
Cell-culture production of therapeutic agents
The projects have been supported at various institutions towards protocol development of production of important therapeutic agents through cell culture methods such as podophyllotoxin from Podophyllum hexandrum and berberine from Coptis teeta, guggulsterones Z and E from Commiphora wightii and camptothecin from Ophiorrhyza spp.
Four fast growing cell-lines of P. hexandrum capable of synthesising podophyllotoxin devoid of α – peltatins have been established. The process is being scaled up in bioreactor. A bioreactor facility (20-litre capacity) has been set up for up-scaling of cell culture production of podophyllotoxin, anthraquinones and other therapeutic agents.
Cell-based screening
In vitro bioscreens have been developed for screening plant extracts having anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties. A multi-institutional project is in progress on using these bioscreens, along with modern cell signal targets to identify anti-diabetic, anti-cancer and immunomodulatory agents from plants that have been used in Indian traditional system. The screening system has been developed for screening of extracts from medicinal plants (used for amoebiosis in Indian traditional system of medicine) against Entamoeba histolytica trophozytes. Lead extracts have been identified for further standardisation and product development.
Isolation and characterisation of new bioactives / therapeutic agents
Sixty plants used in Indian traditional system of medicine have been screened. A total of 35 lead molecules have been identified (Anna University, Chennai and NII, New Delhi).
  • Anti-cancer – 15
  • Anti-diabetic – 5
  • Immunomodulatory – 15
Lead extract /fraction identified for having:
  • Osteogenic (bone farming) activity in Butea monosperma extract (CDRI, Lucknow); Patent has been filed.
  • Extract of Oxalis corniculata having anti-proliferative activity against Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites (Bose Institute, Kolkata and IICB, Kolkata); Patent has been filed.
  • Anti-tubercular activity in Piper nigrum (BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai);
  • A small peptide having anti-diabetic activity in seed extract of Momordica charantia has been cloned (JNU, New Delhi); Patent has been filed.
  • Anti-dengue viral activity from extracts of Cissampelos pareira under DBT-Ranbaxy joint project (ICGEB, New Delhi); Patent has been filed.
Two anti-cancer lead molecules (from Aegle marmelos and Phyllanthus urinaria) have been patented.
Institute-Industry Tie-ups
Following three agreements have been signed with the industries under the above project:
  • Anna University with Ranbaxy, Gurgaon to take data on anti-diabetic and immunomodulatory agents for further investigation including pharmacological testing, pre-clinical toxicity, clinical trials.
  • Anna University with Nicholas Piramal, Mumbai on anti-cancer agents for higher level of investigations;
  • National Immunological Institute with Nicholas Piramal, Mumbai for further investigations of an anti-inflammatory compound isolated from Alpinia galanga towards developing an anti-inflammatory drug.
A new bioenhancer compound (niaziridin)

has been isolated and identified from a medicinal plants which has been able to enhance in vitro activity of rifampicin by 2.5 to 3.00 folds against E.coli. Activity of niaziridin is being further investigated viz-a-viz piperine. A joint DBT-CSIR patent has been filed. An active principle (saturated fatty acid) showing significant anti-proliferative activity against Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites has been identified from Oxalis corniculata. The lead obtained is being further pursued toward development of herbal product. Efforts are in progress for isolation and characterisation of anti-cancer, anti-tubercular, anti-viral, hepatoprotective, and immunemodulatory agents from medicinal plants used in Indian traditional system of medicine.