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TIFAC Centre of Relevance and Excellence (CORE) in Herbal Drugs
Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Government of India has been carrying out Missions and Programmes under the Technology Vision 2020 projects. One of these missions code named REACH (Relevance and Excellence in Achieving new heights in educational institutions) aims at upgrading select science and engineering colleges in the country as ‘Centres of Relevance and Excellence’ to broaden the level off education and also to meet the scientific and technological manpower requirements of India in advanced areas promising to show up on the horizon in the years to come.
The Apex Committee appointed by TIFAC selected J.S.S. College of Pharmacy, Ootacamund, to locate a Centre of Relevance and Excellence (CORE) in Hebbal Drugs, under TIFAC’s MISSION REACH projects. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the President of India and former Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt. of India formally launched the CORE projects on October 4, 2000. The TIFAC CORE HD has been functioning since January 2001, with Dr. M.J. Nanjan as its Cordinator / Director.
Objectives of the TIFAC CORE
- To conduct a specialized M.Pharm. course in Phytopharmacy and Phytomedicine so as to meet the manpower requirements of herbal industries.
- To conduct P.G. Diploma programme in Production and Quality Control of Medicinal Plants, in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.
- To conduct Continuing Education Programmes for the industries engaged in the manufacture of herbal products.
- To undertake specific research programmes for industries involved in manufacture of herbal products.
- To interact with pharmaceutical industries for solving their specific problems and also for placement of students coming out of the centre.
- To document the herbal medicinal practices and medicinal plants of Nilgiriis biosphere.
Research (Need based for Industries)
- To carry out preclinical toxicity studies as per OECD and other guidelines in different animal species to ascertain the safety of the test materials, such as, acute, sub acute and chronic toxicity studies.
- To carry out preclinical pharmacology studies to ascertain the efficacy, such as, anticancer, antiulcer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, antiosteoporetic, hepatoprotective, antianxiety, antidepressant, skin tanning, antiwrinkle activities, etc.
- To carry out standardization of raw materials as per WHO guidelines (Botanical, Physiochemical, Phytochemical, Toxicological and Pharmacological).
- To carry out standardization of finished products using HPTLC techniques.
- To carry out efficacy studies by comparing with scientifically proven standardized herbal extracts in the areas of CNS, endocrine, noociiceptive, inflammation, cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, dermal, immunopharmacology and other miscellaneous areas.
- To carry out stability studies as per ICH guidelines.
- To carry out pilot clinical trials on herbal formulations to study their efficacy.
- To develop standardized formulations for neutraceuticals and cosmaceuticals required by the industries. A 5 day Indo-Australian Workshop funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, New Delhi, on "Plant Nutraceuticals and Bioactive Molecules: A growth opportunity for the Pharmaceutical Industry in Australia and India", held during June 2-6, 2009 at J.S.S. College of Pharmacy, Ooty/visit to Industries at Bangalore.
The purpose of the workshop is to establish an international cooperation programme between India and Australia for discovering, developing and understanding plant derived products and their bioactive molecules that have clear and viable potential for developing new, effective and low cost nutraceutical products for the pharmaceutical industries in India and Australia. Nine (9) Delegates from Australia and thirteen (13) from India, participated in the workshop. Several presentations were made after which, detailed discussions were held. In particular, the following points were discussed thoroughly;
- What are nutraceuticals/dietary supplements/ nutritional supplements and how herbal products play an important role in the development of the same?
- Identification existing databanks of the above.
- Determine the most important nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications in India and Australia, with particular reference in the first instance to antiparasitic agents, cancer chemotherapy and metabolic disorders (including diabetes, obesity and hyperlipidemia) and alleviation of their complications of, hypertension, neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy and transmission of parasitic diseases.
- Strategies for plant collection, identification, characterization and processing of potential herbs, including an inventory of isolated molecules.
- Mechanisms of acquiring biological data from new geographical areas.
- Focusing on potential lead compounds of biological interest with known structures.
- Characterisation of biological mechanisms of action at the cell, protein and gene level and applications of bioinformatics and whole animal studies where appropriate.
- Simple, efficient modification of natural products for activity and drug property improvement using environmentally benign chemistry.
- Consider pharmaceutical industries' processing requirements and regulatory requirements for marketing nutraceuticals in Australia,India, USA, European Union and Russia
- Clarification of research programs, for potential AISRF funding by a follow up application and additional funding from Australian and Indian industry, government .and NGO's.
- Planning for proposal writing.
The workshop participants finally agreed to focus on two areas for developing nutrceuticals and bioactive compounds, namely, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. A draft application is being prepared. It is proposed to send milestones to the participants on both sides that they would be responsible for. This exercise would identify partners who would be finally invited to participate in the project. The undersigned will be coordinating for the Indian side and Dr. Basil Roufogalis would be coordinating for the Australian side.
Dr. M.J. Nanjan, TIFAC CORE, JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty, is collaborating with Dr. K. Indira Priyadarsini, Radiation and Photochemistry Division, BARC, Trombay, Mumbai, in the area of radioprotecting ability of plant extracts. A joint research paper entitled "Differential Free Radical Scavenging Activity and Radioprotection of Caesalpina Digyna Extracts and its Active Constituents" has been published in the Journal of Radiation Research.