January 2015 – London
Amma's London children (and one from Oxford!) gathered on a Wednesday evening in January with Professor Bipin Nair, Dean of The School of Biotechnology at Amrita University. He had come for an interaction with scientists at Oxford and Cambridge University
He had agreed to a meeting with Amma's Children during his busy schedule and we didn't disappoint with around 25 of us turning up at very short notice for the talk. He told us the amazing story of the Amma-inspired, ground-breaking research into the healing properties of the cashew!
He told how Amma had 'casually' remarked about the healing properties of the shell of the cashew nut as used in Ayurvedic remedies in the area for centuries. Amma had suggested that his team might like to look into this.
The known healing properties include: anaesthetic for leprosy and psoriasis; promotion of wound healing; treatment of ulcers and tooth abscesses.
Inspired by this, Bipin set up a research team at the Biotech College, to isolate the active compound with his first PhD student. The results of that ground-breaking project are included here -
Through a series of elegant experiments and computational modeling his team was able to show how this compound blocked certain enzymes that were important in allowing cancer cells to migrate through connective tissue, thereby producing distant spread and metastases. The molecular structure of the active compound (anacardic acid) has the potential to be developed further as a major factor in the fight against cancer, arthritis and infections.
Armed with the results of his team's research, Bipin was able to approach four major, world-leading institutes - the University of Berkeley and the Scripps Institute in California and Oxford and Cambridge universities in the UK - and sign 'co-research' agreements with them on behalf of Amrita University.
They had also provided scientific validity for the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine.
Bipin also told us about the patented Insulin pump and the glucose monitoring strips that they are developing which Amma insisted must be low-cost to help the poor and suffering.
As well as enthralling us with his Amma-Amrita-Biotech story, Bipin led the chanting of the 108 names: we sang, we listened, we laughed and we ate!
Om Amriteshwaryai Namaha!