News on Health & Science

Mouthwash to help cancer treatment pain

A cheap and effective relief solution will soon be available in the markets for oral cancer patients suffering from radiation associated mucositis.


Scientists at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology and Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, have developed an ayurvedic mouthwash consisting of three commonly used medicinal herbs for controlling mucositis   mouth sores and gum inflammations that last six to eight weeks, and often result in a break of treatment that allows the tumour to return.

A year-long clinical study on 148 patients with oral cancer undergoing radiotherapy found the mouthwash effective in reducing pain, besides minimising oral bacterial infections and cutting down on consumption of painkillers.

The two Council of Industrial and Scientific Research institutes have now filed for a global patent for the mouthwash, which is expected to be ready by January 2007. Speaking to TOI, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology director M Radhakrishna Pillai said,”We can’t reveal names of the medicinal herbs as we are yet to receive the patent. But the plants are common and used in many of our traditional medicines.”

The commonly used drug to control mucositis is called Amifostine (Ethyol) that costs Rs 9,000 per dose. It has to be injected half-an-hour before radiation. On the other hand, the mouthwash comes in the form of a powder that will have to be kept dissolved overnight before the patient rinses his mouth with it.

The approximate production cost in an experimental set up has been estimated to be just 65 paise(1.3 pence) per dose, excluding packaging and marketing costs. Pillai said the patient will have to use the mouthwash four times a day.”Patients who are under radiation suffer from inflammation of gums and mouth tissue. It is painful and often interrupts their treatment. During this time, the tumor can recur. That’s why it is important that patients with oral cancer have a solution whereby they can have relief from pain and their treatment continues till the cancer is totally controlled,” Pillai added.

Source:The Times Of India