India and the United States will undertake collaborative research on traditional medicines to fight cancer, which could pave way for potential breakthroughs. The decision was taken at the first meeting of the first US-India Workshop on Traditional Medicine (March 3-4) in New Delhi.
Such collaborate research and development of traditional medicines for preventive and palliative cancer care, is move aimed at bringing in more global acceptability and credibility for AYUSH medicines.
The collaboration between the two countries is also expected to open a huge market for AYUSH practitioners globally.
"Globalisation of AYUSH is one of the major policy thrusts of our government. The constructive collaboration between India and US in this field is important for incorporating more scientific inputs from both sides in traditional medicines which can help mainstreaming of AYUSH systems in patient health care across the globe," AYUSH minister Shripad Yesso Naik said.
As part of the partnership, researchers from India and the US will start discussions to review and cooperate on methods to reduce morbidity due to cancer using AYUSH interventions.
Representatives from the US department of health and human services, Office of Global Affairs, National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI) and US academic institutions will interact with their counterparts from the ministry of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH) and Indian research institutes and universities during and after the workshop.
India has already partnered the World Health Organisation (WHO) to spread use of alternative medicines, including ayurveda and homoeopathy.
"This is a great opportunity to bring to the table from the US side NCI and NIH expertise in laboratory and clinical evaluation of traditional medicine and from the Indian side an impressive commitment to building the evidence base for traditional Indian medicine," said Edward Trimble, director of the US National Cancer Institute's Center for Global Health.
''The workshop supports the important deliverable from the President Obama-Prime Minister Modi joint statement and US-India health dialogue, where both India and the US agreed to explore further potential areas of mutual collaboration on Indian traditional medicine,'' said Richard Verma, US ambassador to India.
''This meeting demonstrates the commitment of HHS to support bilateral cooperation on cancer and traditional medicine research, with science at the cornerstone,'' said Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, assistant secretary of global affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
''This is a great opportunity to bring to the table from the US side NCI and NIH expertise in laboratory and clinical evaluation of traditional medicine and from the Indian side an impressive commitment to building the evidence base for traditional Indian medicine,'' said Dr.Edward Trimble, Director of the U.S. NCI's Center for Global Health.
Secretary AYUSH, Ajit Mohan Sharan, said the international cooperation division in the ministry will work proactively to forge collaborations so that large sections of people can benefit from AYUSH systems.
The US delegation also visited several Indian institutes – Benares Hindu University, Jamia Hamdard University, All India Institute of Ayurveda and Medanta – The Medicity, to learn first-hand how traditional and modern medicine co-exist for patient-care.
Nearly 175 participants, including experts related to both traditional systems and modern medicine, biologists, and researchers from India and the US are taking part in the two-day workshop.
These discussions will be strengthened at the next US-India health dialogue this year in India.