Mangalore University gets patent for anti-cancer compound invention

The invention is titled, A process for the extraction and purification of tetrandrine

Mangalore University has obtained its first patent for an invention by its two plant researchers K.R. Chandrashekar and Bhagya Nekrakalaya relating to anti-cancer compound.

The invention is titled A process for the extraction and purification of tetrandrine.

Tetrandrine is an anti-cancer compound.

The invention describes a process for the extraction and purification of tetrandrine from methanol extract of Cyclea peltata, which is commonly known in Kannada as Haade balli, collected from the natural forests of Dakshina Kannada and Kasaragod district of Kerala.

The Patent Office granted the patent (No 369124) to the researchers on June 11, 2021. It is valid for 20 years from May 8, 2017 since they applied for the patent when doing research at Mangalore University. At present, the two researchers are working in the Yenepoya Deemed to be University in Mangaluru.

Mr. Chandrashekar, who retired as Chairman and Professor of Botany, Department of Applied Botany, Mangalore University, told The Hindu that Cyclea peltata (Lam.) Hook. f. Thoms. (Menispermaceae) is an ethnomedicinally important plant used in the treatment of various health problems.

It is reported to have anti-toxin function besides playing a role in improving diabetic disorders of skin, like boils and carbuncle and in the treatment of small pox and stomach ache. Pharmacological studies also proved the bioactive potential of Cyclea peltata with antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic activities and protection against nephrotoxicity and oxidative damage.


He said that an alkaloid, small organic molecules containing nitrogen usually in a ring, tetrandrine was previously isolated from Stephania tetrandra, a highly cited ethnomedicinal plant in China which has been reported to show anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antioxidant, immunosuppressive, cardiovascular and calcium channel blocking effects. Several studies have showed the effective in vitro and in vivo anticancer mechanism of tetrandrine against different cancers by acting on multiple pathways.

The two researchers working on the tissue culture and bioprospection of Western Ghats plants found the presence of tetrandrine in Haade balli. They tested its anti-cancerous potential using cancer cells. Further, they developed a simple process for its extraction from the plants and purification into a single molecule from a complex mixture using simple glass column chromatography technique.

“Recrystallised fractions yielded tetrandrine with a purity of 98.63%. Further work on this molecule with respect to increasing its solubility in aqueous medium and clinical trials may lead to the development of a potent anti-cancer drug from a local plant,” the researchers said.


Ms. Nekrakalaya is a UGC Women Scientist Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yenepoya Deemed to be University, Mangaluru, and Mr. Chandrashekar is an advisor, Internal Quality Assurance Cell, and a professor of Botany at Yeneopoya Deemed to be University.

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Sagar Biswas

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