In a significant development amidst the high incidence of new cancer cases in the Northeast, CC Tea manufactured by Manipur-based SuiGeneris Agronomy Private Limited, has inked a three-year anti-cancer research collaboration with Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati, to assess the efficacy of CC Tea extract on molecular pathways in lymphocytes and other blood cells of cancer patients in the Northeast.
The three-phase research undertaking will begin with CC Tea (a naturally caffeine-free instant lemongrass tea with a subtle citrus flavour) extract being tested on blood cells taken from cancer patients to test the effect of the extract on the patients directly.
"During the first phase, which will take about six months to eight months, there will be laboratory tests when samples of blood would be taken from patients and infused with CC Tea extract. Once we get good results, we move on to phases two and three during which clinical trials will take place," Sam Khumanthem, head - public relations, SuiGeneris Agronomy Private Limited, informed while speaking exclusively to Fit Northeast.
According to a report released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR government report, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have the highest incidence of new cancer cases in the country among females and males respectively.
Says Ragesh Keisham, chairman and CEO of SuiGeneris Agronomy Private Limited, "Over the years, we have received encouraging feedback from our users on various health-related benefits after prolonged use of CC Tea. A recent government study found that Northeast is the cancer capital of India and this research collaboration with Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati is proof of our commitment for a relentless fight against cancer."
CC Tea is one of the fastest growing companies in Manipur and is sold in not just Northeast but across India through e-commerce and retail channels.
According to a report released by the ICMR and NCDIR, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have the highest incidence of new cancer cases in the country among females and males respectively.BBCI is a premier institution engaged in quality medical research and healthcare. The institute was formally taken over by the Department of Atomic Energy, government of India in November 2017 as a unit of Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai.
"During the lockdown last year, we had received information about several health benefits that consumers of our teas were getting in regard to some sort of relief from ailments such as cancer and hypertension. So we subsequently did a small test run with Manipur University and found out that CC Tea had anti-tumor and anti-viral properties," Khumanthem said.
The company subsequently engaged in a six-month anti-viral and immunomodulatory research with Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati and found that CC Tea showed high antiviral activity to the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) and Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV). It also suggested positive innate immune activation in gene analysis.
"Thereafter, we had to continue with our anti-viral activity but the only authorised anti-viral laboratory in the Northeast is at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital. But because it was in the midst of a pandemic, there were hindrances. However, we never gave up hope…it was then that we started talking to BBCI in terms of trying to find out the anti-tumour part of it. Based on the outcome of the immunomodulatory research carried out with IIT-Guwahati and to find out the possible reasons, we decided to carry out the three-year anti-cancer research programme with BBCI," the official said.
"There was an ICMR report where it talked about the Northeast having the highest concentration of cancer patients in the country. This presented us a good challenge in regard to what we can give back to the society," Khumanthem said.
"As a social enterprise, CC Tea has been impacting lives and people in the way we employ and sustain them. Going into cancer research, I think this is a right step in the right direction when it comes to providing supplementary benefits to cancer patients. The impact that it can have is huge…so we are investing a lot of resources and time into this…so much so that it can change the landscape of fighting cancer," he said.