The US department of health and human services’ premier National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) have expressed interest in documenting ayurveda’s success stories in treating cancer. According to a TOI report, Dr G Gangadharan, director, MS Ramaiah Indic Center for Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Bengaluru, who was part of an Indo-US joint delegation working on traditional medicine, said, “Some time in June, the US institutes expressed interest in documenting the success of ayurvedic treatment for cancer.” The delegation concluded in March 2016 its first meeting with the agenda ‘Collaborative Research on Traditional Medicine’. Dr Issac Mathai, who was also part of the delegation, said, “After the meeting in Delhi, the NIH and NCI teams visited the Ramaiah Centre and another facility.”
Although India has over 40,000 formulations in ayurveda, the Indian patent office has issued only 200 patents so far – of which 11% have gone to foreign entities with China leading the pack. Five patents have been granted for procedures to treat cancer and one has gone to a legal representative of a client in the US. The patent is for ‘Nutraceutical for the prevention and treatment of cancers and diseases affecting the liver’. Although no generally accepted cure for cancer using ayurveda has been recorded officially in India, a recent test of a drug by AIIMS, Delhi showed improvement in the quality of life of cancer patients’, something the US is also aiming to enhance through President Obama’s Cancer Moonshot. Mathai said there’s a lot of work in the field and once it materialises, partnership with the US will take ayurveda a long way.
The office of Dr. Edward Trimble, director, Center for Global Health, NCI, confirmed the development.