Ashwagandha compound can cure liver cancer
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Ashwagandha compound can cure liver cancer

April 6, 2021

Research study at JSS Medical College reveals benefits of Ayurvedic plant 

Mysore/Mysuru: A new and recent research study conducted by scientists from JSS Medical College in city shows that ‘Withaferin A’, a natural compound from Ayurvedic plant ‘Ashwagandha’ (Botanical name Withania Somnifera) has potential anti-cancer effects against aggressive Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), a type of common liver cancer. 

The study has explored the molecular mechanism behind anti-cancer effects of ‘Withaferin A’ by activating cellular nuclear receptor LXR-α and elucidated its therapeutic importance to treat HCC. This study has been recently published in the peer review journal ‘Frontiers in Oncology (Impact factor: 4848)’. 

Due to changed lifestyle, prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and associated Hepatocellular Carcinoma is rapidly increasing. According to reports from Zydus India, over 400 million Indians are suffering from fatty liver. There are one or two drugs available in the market to treat NAFLD and HCC. This study has major importance for pharma-ceutical industries and clinical research.  

Dr. Prasanna Santhekadur, Associate Professor and Ramalingaswami, Fellow at Department of Biochemistry, JSS Medical College and his Ph.D students D.S. Varsha and G.S. Nirmala, in collaboration with Dr. Divya P. Kumar, JSS Medical College and Dr. Farid Mirshahi from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA conducted this study. 

This drug acts in a similar fashion like Saroglitazar, an approved drug for NAFLD. While Saroglitazar acts on PPARα/γ, ‘Withaferin A’ acts on another nuclear receptor called LXR-α. 

‘Ashwagandha’ is one of the most important plants used in Ayurveda. ‘Ashwagandha’ is a Sanskrit term meaning smell of the horse sweat — because of unique smell of the plant and the ability of yielding juice which increases strength like horsepower. This plant has been used for over more than 3,000 years to relieve various ailments including stress, to increase energy levels and stamina and to improve concentration.

Dr. Prasanna Santhekadur has been working on this plant for over 17 years. He had explored the potential and many dimensional anti-cancer activities of this compound on different cancer cells. This study is supported by Ramalingaswami Fellowship, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. 

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These findings were also presented in Indian Association for Cancer Research conference, which was held in Thiruvananthapuram last year.

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