Researchers at the TATA Institute have developed a medicine that could prevent the recurrence of cancer and reduce the side effects of treatment by 50% The TATA Institute in India has developed a low-cost medicine that could prevent the recurrence of cancer   © Getty Images/lakshmiprasad S

The TATA Institute in Mumbai has developed a pill that could prevent the recurrence of cancer and reduce the side effects of treatment by 50%, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday. The development comes after a decade of research.

The new drug, ‘R+Cu’, contains pro-oxidants such as resveratrol and copper which could generate cancer-fighting ‘oxygen radicals’. They prevent dying cells from turning healthy ones cancerous, while also restraining the movement of cancer cells from one part of the body to another, known as ‘metastasis’.

The drug could be effective in treating pancreatic, lung, and oral cancers, researchers have suggested.

The medicine is expected to cost a mere 100 rupees ($1.2) at a time when the price of cancer treatment is soaring. The R+Cu is awaiting approval from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and is likely to be released to the market in June-July.

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“The side-effects were tested on both rats and humans, but the prevention test was done only on rats. It will take about five years to complete the human trials for this,” surgeon Dr Rajendra Badve from the Tata Memorial Hospital revealed in the interview with NDTV. He added “there were challenges during the research” but eventually it is “a big success.”

The Tata Memorial Center is amongst the world’s oldest and largest cancer research facilities, and is funded and controlled by India’s Department of Atomic Energy.

The development was reported weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that his country is on the cusp of developing anti-cancer vaccines. “We have reached a significant milestone in the development of cancer vaccines and next-generation immunomodulatory drugs,” the Russian leader stated.

India has added 30 new cancer hospitals in the last nine years, and work is underway on ten more, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last month. The government has also developed 150,000 wellness centers, called ‘Ayushman Arogya Mandirs’, to help the early detection of cancer among rural populations.

India, the most populous nation in the world, has some of the highest cancer rates in Asia, and the disease is seen as a major cause of worry by the government. The number of cases in the country is projected to rise from 1.46 million in 2022 to 1.57 million in 2025, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Cancer Registry Programme.

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