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IIT KGP's Honey Therapy to Prevent Oral Cancer Relapse 

Honey and Silk based Therapeutic Patch developed by IIT KGP Researchers to prevent proliferation of cancer cell and help growth of healthy cells. 

India has an alarming figure for deaths due to oral cancer with one death every 6 hours as per Indian Dental Association. 40% of all cancer related cases can be attributed to oral cancer. Though treatments are available at early stages but recurrence is a very common concern in people who have had cancer thus leading to life threat and reverting to painful cancer treatment.

While the medical community has been working towards reducing such incidents, this critical gap in medical intervention, has been addressed by an interdisciplinary research group from IIT Kharagpur, along with Onco-surgeons/oral-pathologists. They developed 'honey' based therapeutic patch which has the potential to reduce the chances of recurrence of pre-cancer/cancer and fast healing of the post-tumor resection wound without causing any pain and infection. The material used to create this therapeutic patch is ‘Micro-patterned Honey-Silk fibroin’. The innovation aims toward cancer therapeutics mainly for inhibiting pre-cancer progression toward cancer by discriminating cell sensitivity towards tool developed.

“Honey has the typical characteristic and is well-known for its remarkable wound healing potential and anti-cancer, antibacterial activities. The technology involved in this process is modulating cellular environment by using biometrically devised honey-silk fibroin scaffolds" said researcher Monika Rajput.

"The micro-patterned honey based silk fibroin patch have been fabricated which have been found to enable growth of healthy cells while hindering growth of cancer associated cells, the ideal condition one can dream of combating cancer. The weak cancer associated cells fail to grab the patterned micropillar structure in the scaffold and thus not being able to grow. On the other hand the healthy cells grab the patterns very well and grow faster” said another researcher Nandini Bhandaru.

The research is based on soft nano technology concepts developed by Prof. Rabibrata Mukherjee and use of honey as recommended by Dr. Jyotirmoy Chaterjee

The research work has been patented and published in the international journal of the American Chemical Society, ‘ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering’. Further tests would be conducted on on animal and human samples before commercializing the tool.

Current cancer treatment of radio/chemotherapy leads to destruction of normal cells and need second surgical intervention. During post-intervention phase there are high chances in recurrence from the cancer associated cells. After oral tumor resection, the wound is stitched by joining two flaps of wound together which ultimately led to inconvenience to patients with lot of pain, bleeding and infections. There is no available therapeutic patch particularly for oral cancer wound in market which can heal the wound faster and minimize the chances of recurrence.

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Stories by Shreyoshi Ghosh