Projects

Evaluation of anticancer properties of crystal proteins of Bacillus thuringiensis isolates from the Western Ghats of Kerala
In a DBT sponsored collaborative study with Kerala Agricultural University, a crystal protein belonging to the ‘parasporins’ with cytotoxic effect specifically to cancer cells was detected from a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (bt). This parasporin is the first toxic protein detected in an Indian bt strain. The isolated 29 kD native pro-protein was inactive in nature which when activated by proteolytic cleavage released a 27 kD active protein. The active protein showed a heterogenic cytotoxic spectrum towards various tumor cell lines with no marked cytotoxicity in normal cells. The gene responsible for the protein has been sequenced, cloned and expressed using an expression vector. Thus, a recombinant technology for the massive production of a novel anticancer parasporin was developed. We hope that this specific type of parasporin may emerge as a new class of chemotherapeutics in future.

Evaluation of Saracaasoka. Kaempferia rotunda, their substitutes and medicinal preparations with respect to phytochemical and biological properties.
In Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicine, Saraca asoca is a well-known remedy for gynecological disorders and the bark of this plant is an important raw drug of ‘Ashokaristam’. Due to over exploitation, the natural population of Saraca asoca has been dwindling over the years in the country and the requirement is met through substitutes without any scientific validation. A study conducted in collaboration with KFRI, Peechi has found two plants, Kingiodendron pinnatum and Cynometra travancorica as genuine substitute to Saraca asoca in ‘Ashokaristam’ preparation. Surprisingly, the team is observed that the Arishtam prepared with Polyalthia longifolia which is generally considered as an adulterant of Saraca asoca significantly inhibited the activity of estrogen and retarded the estradiol induced keratinization process in rat uterus even though it is not produced any marked biological activities in its raw form. Thus the study gives a scientific validation for the use these substitutes for the preparation of Asokarishtam. Now we are in stage to recommend the prepared Arishtams with substitutes in clinical application. ​

Enhancement of the production of promising anticancer agent, baicalein through gamma irradiation in cultures of Scutelleriaspecies seen in Western Ghats of Kerala and its pharmaceutical validation ​
A BRNS funded proposal is currently undergoing. The studies aim to enhance the production of promising anticancer agent, baicalein through gamma irradiation in cultures of Scutellaria species seen in Western Ghats of Kerala and its pharmacological validation. Standardisation of in vitro regeneration protocol for mass multiplication of selected Scutellaria plants was achieved and from the source plants bioactive metabolites have been isolated, purified and identified. A comparative assessment of the biological efficacy of purified compounds from callus/plants as well as source plants is being completed.