Can Nano Curcumin be used as an adjunct therapy for Malaria, Cancer and TB in humans?


Bhubaneswar: KIIT Technology Business Incubator (KIIT-TBI) an initiative of Dr. Achyuta Samanta Founder, KIIT & KISS to provide a vibrant ecosystem for promoting innovations and entrepreneurship development. It was started in 2009 and supported by National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Dept. of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India.

Recently a group of scientists develop a medicine which is very beneficial for many diseases. Turmeric (Haldi) has been traditionally used in our food for centuries not only because it spices up our curries but because Curcumin, the bioactive polyphenolic compound present in turmeric may provide some therapeutic benefits. Recent research has shown that curcumin is not only non toxic but it can give us relief from pain and help in wound healing, reduce inflammation and tissue damage. But Curcumin is very poorly soluble in water and therefore very little of whatever we eat in our food goes into blood and shows very little effect. Therefore if natural curcumin can be converted into a bio-available form it can be taken orally and will be therapeutically more effective. Working on this line a nanotised form of pure curcumin was developed by the lead researcher Professor Santosh Kumar Kar at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar. Since nano curcumin showed about five times better bioavailability than the natural curcumin its therapeutic efficacy was tested in mice for various human disease conditions like Malaria, Cancer and Tuberculosis. It was shown that bioavailable Curcumin when fed to mice infected with the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium yoelii the untreated mice died in few days while the nano curcumin fed mice controlled the infection and survived. This observation has been published in Advances in Biotechnology. Encouraged by this observation the nano curcumin was tested in a mouse model of breast cancer in collaboration with Prof. Gaurisankar Sa of Bose Instutute, Kolkata. Nano curcumin was found to modulate T regulatory cell responses and was effective in controlling tumor growth in mouse. This observation has been published in the journal Immunology.

Then we tested the efficacy of the nano curcumin in a mouse model of TB. In humans when TB develops due to infection with drug sensitive organisms the antibiotics treatment is usually given for 6 to 9 months and for drug resistant TB, treatment can go up to 24 months. When the treatment is long, patients usually stop taking the drugs after some time leading to emergence of drug resistant strains which cannot be treated with the available drugs. .Further, all the drugs used for treatment of TB are very toxic and their prolonged use damages the liver and other organs. But in an animal model of TB we have shown that use of nano curcumin along with Isoniazid not only reduces the time for cure by 50% but the liver at the end of treatment remains intact, the mycobacteria does not show much latency and the immune system of the mice remains intact..This work was done in collaboration with Prof. Gobardhan Das, of Centre of Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and has been recently published in Frontiers in Immunology. These results in mice model have very important implication for human TB and we wish to pursue it.

Realizing that curcumin can help in wound healing, Prof Biswabandita Kar of School of Technology, KIIT University and Dr. Bansidhar Mulia from KIMS formed a team and guided three students for their M. V. Sc thesis which has been completed. The research was done under their supervision at the Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, OUAT, Bhubaneswar by the team of Prof. Jayakrishna Das. It has shown remarkable effect on the healing of difficult wounds of dogs.

Mouth wash prepared from our nano curcumin was tested by the team of Dr. Hemamalini Rath at the Department of Public Health Denstry, SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack involving human volunteers. It was found to delay in most cases the onset of oral mucocytis in comparison to the gold standard Benzydamine. This will be very useful for management of oral cancer whose incidence in our country is very high and increasing every day. The research work at KIIT University was assisted by .Mr. Sitabja Mukherjee a graduate student of Prof. Santosh Kumar Kar. Expressing his satisfaction Dr. A. Samanta thanked all scientists and wish their success.