From The Hindu News Update Service:
New Delhi (PTI): Tobacco will now be used for manufacturing cancer and cardiac drugs with the Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI) bagging the patent for 'solanesol' -- a medicinal substance extracted from tobacco.
Solanesol, a white crystalline powder derived from tobacco's green leaf, has curative effects against cardiac insufficiency, muscular dystrophy, anaemia, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and liver injury. "Many pharmaceutical companies have approached us for carrying out clinical trials for the usage of solanesol as anti-cancer and anti-diabetic drugs," CTRI Director V Krishna Murthy told PTI.
Solanesol is rich in Coenzyme Q10 -- a physiologically active substance with high pharmaceutical value. "Solanesol has excellent prospects in future as drug and CTRI would soon distribute the rights for production of drugs in the market," Murthy said. A letter granting the patent for solanesol was received by CTRI in October last year from Controller of Patents.
The project of deriving solanesol from tobacco was a collaborative programme between CTRI and Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow. CTRI used chewing tobacco variety Abirmani grown in Tamil Nadu and HDBRG tobacco cultivated in black soils of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh for extracting solanesol.