‘First-of-its-kind’: Indian start-up launches nutrition supplements for cancer patients
This includes a set of three products targeting the needs of cancer patients who are at different stages of the cancer treatment: before, during, and after. There is also another product for providing general nutrition needs.
Containing ingredients such as pre/probiotics and milk protein, the products are meant to help cancer patients maintain nutrition intake and alleviate cancer-related problems such as weight loss.
Coming in the form of powder packets, the diabetic-friendly products were developed in technical collaboration with Biovalley Incubation Council.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Raktim Chattopadhyay, founder and CEO, said the products were the first-of-its-kind and were only available upon the oncologists’ or dietitians’ prescription.
Some of its customers include major hospitals such as the Apollo Hospitals and HCG hospitals.
The company decided to focus on cancer patients as they often suffer from problems such as malnutrition, lack of energy, and muscle loss. This has not only affected their quality of life but might also cause them to discontinue treatment.
Citing statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO), Chattopadhyay said that about 25% of the cancer patients died mainly because of malnourishment as a result of the illness or the anti-cancer therapy.
“Worldwide, there is no comprehensive solutions to take care of the nutrition needs of the cancer patients who are undergoing treatment. And so, the optimum outcome of chemotherapy has not been achieved.
“The nutrition has to be taken care during the therapy so that the optimum outcome of immunotherapy can be achieved,” he said.
As such, the company takes a three-pronged approach, taking care of the nutritional needs that patients require throughout different stages of the treatment.
These products were already tested via a multi-centred, double-blinded clinical trial test and are pending patent in India.
Findings of the trial are not yet published, but Chattopadhyay revealed that weight increase was one of the outcomes.
The company is conducting another three-month trial and plans to export its products to the overseas markets. It is already in talks with partners from the UK, EU, the US, and the South East Asian countries.
More to come
Although it has only recently debut, the company already has another 23 more nutritional products in the pipeline for launch in the next 1.5 years.
They include products for patients suffering from specific types of cancers, such as the gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.
“We are focusing on the GI cancers because the gut is responsible for absorbing nutrients.
“And if the tumour is sitting on the GI gut, the absorption of nutrients decreases further and the weight loss is more drastic than the other types of cancers,” Chattopadhyay said.
As such, these products will use different technology to increase the bioavailability of nutrients and help GI cancer patients to absorb more nutrients.
The company is also working on supplements for preventive oncology purpose, including breast cancer.
While nutrient intake is important, he emphasised that cancer patients needed to be cautious about the types of supplements that they consume during their cancer therapy as there might be drug-nutrient interactions.
This also explains why the company’s products are not available over the counter.