Home / IIT Madras and IIT Mandi Researchers Utilize Plant Cells to Develop Anti-Cancer Drug

IIT Madras and IIT Mandi Researchers Utilize Plant Cells to Develop Anti-Cancer Drug
This cutting-edge approach holds immense potential in substantially enhancing the yield of Camptothecin, a critical alkaloid instrumental in combating cancer. It's noteworthy that Camptothecin finds its primary source in Nothapodytes nimmoniana, an endangered plant species indigenous to India.

by Pragti Sharma / 28 Dec 2023 22:35 PM IST / 0 Comment(s) / 91

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) and IIT Mandi have made significant breakthroughs in elevating the production of Camptothecin, a vital anti-cancer drug, by employing innovative metabolic engineering techniques within plant cells of Nothapodytes nimmoniana.



The collaborative endeavor between the Plant Cell Technology Lab at IIT Madras and researchers from IIT Mandi involved the development of a comprehensive genome-scale metabolic model exclusively designed for the cells of N. nimmoniana. This cutting-edge approach holds immense potential in substantially enhancing the yield of Camptothecin, a critical alkaloid instrumental in combating cancer. It's noteworthy that Camptothecin finds its primary source in Nothapodytes nimmoniana, an endangered plant species indigenous to India.



Camptothecin plays a pivotal role as a core component in various anti-cancer medications, serving as the foundation for high-value drugs like Topotecan and Irinotecan. However, the precarious status of plant species such as Camptotheca acuminata and Nothapodytes nimmoniana, originating from Eastern Asia and India respectively has been exacerbated by climate change and extensive deforestation due to Camptothecin extraction.



Professor Smita Srivastava, affiliated with the Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences at IIT Madras, underscores the significance of integrating metabolic engineering with bioprocess engineering principles. This fusion holds immense promise in ensuring sustainable and amplified production of Camptothecin. This approach not only meets the surging market demand for anti-cancer drugs but also plays a pivotal role in resource conservation, underscoring its cost-effectiveness and efficiency.



The strategic integration of innovative technologies and methodologies, as demonstrated in this collaborative research, sets a precedent for the future of pharmaceutical innovation. This breakthrough not only furthers cancer research but also stands as a testament to the possibilities of sustainable drug production through the synergy of science and engineering.


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